IndyHumane: Creativity and action for Mutt Strut.


Throughout our long-standing relationship with IndyHumane, Matchbook has been exceptionally proud to help this impactful charitable organization achieve their goals and communicate in an effective and enticing manner. As a team filled with shelter pet owners, the cause of animal welfare and adoption is one that’s near and dear to our hearts, which is why we were thrilled to have the opportunity to provide public relations, creative, web and event support for Mutt Strut, their largest annual fundraiser. IndyHumane’s 2019 Mutt Strut was the 16th annual event benefiting the 10,000 animals they care for each year, and our task was to support the event in raising awareness in the community, increase the media profile as well as encouraging attendance and donations.


IndyHumane is Indianapolis’ largest organization fighting to promote animal adoption, health and welfare. It stands among the most prominent voices in Indiana working to provide homes for adoptable animals and to educate the community. Aside from providing robust community resources to ensure that pets and adoptable animals are well cared for, IndyHumane finds forever homes for more than 3,000 animals every year. Through Mutt Strut, IndyHumane seeks to generate the funds necessary to continue their important work and further their ability to pursue their mission to the fullest.


Prior to 2019, over the course of a six-year working relationship, Matchbook’s involvement in Mutt Strut was in providing creative services in support of the event. This was the first year that we were asked to raise our level of involvement with Mutt Strut to additionally entail strategic and public relations services. IndyHumane came to us in January looking to help shape the media profile and engagement of the event, and we began by creating a strategy specifically tailored to suit Mutt Strut’s goals. With objectives for each month across multiple platforms leading up to, and including the event, we formed a solid strategic basis that would support our services over the next four months.

In beginning a public relations campaign leading up to the event, we kept our goal simple: to be sure that as many people around Indianapolis, and a significant chunk of the Midwest, would be aware of Mutt Strut. As the Midwest’s largest dog walking event, and one of the largest in the nation, it presented a uniquely enticing profile for media outlets looking for newsworthy content. Our strategy in maximizing earned and owned media coverage revolved around leveraging the audiences of the organizations and figures who would be involved.

The event’s annual location, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is both historic and iconic, and their stature in the community engaged traditional media outlets while also boosting the profile of the event via its social media channels. In coordinating the appointment of the honorary co-chairs of the event, a pair of positions that would further raise the potential for media engagement, we were able to bring in five-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon and his wife, Emma Davies-Dixon. In fitting with the race-centric theme of the event, these relevant personalities again gave us and IndyHumane a greater ability to coordinate with media outlets.

We worked with prominent local station WISH-TV, the media sponsor of the event, to promote information including registration deadlines, location, general event details and the cause it was in support of. Matchbook coordinated a promotional commercial to run throughout April with Scott and Emma, in addition to IndyHumane-centric promo interviews throughout the month featuring adoption stories, volunteers, and members of young professional organization IPAAW. Coverage continued with multiple media pickups on the event on WIBC, FOX59 and RTV6 as well as Pet Pals TV, a nationally-syndicated television program hosted by Patty Spitler.

Leading up to the event, we created digital and banner ads, and assisted in the creation of event support collateral. Additionally, a custom-created media kit served as a convenient resource for outlets looking to report on the event. All told, a massive effort went into raising the profile of Mutt Strut as much as possible, with saturation across multiple media platforms. On the day before the event, we assisted the IndyHumane and IMS teams in performing site inspections and final preparation walkthroughs.

The day of the event, we worked with the media outlets in attendance, providing credentials and logistical support, ensuring they were aware of points or people/animals of interest, and coordinating interviews. Matchbook also handled celebrity relations, as a variety of IndyCar drivers attended the event in support of the shelter.
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Nearly every major television station in the Indianapolis market was in attendance, with stories airing on every network and multiple print outlets featuring interviews from attendees, organizers, the honorary co-chairs and IndyHumane’s CEO. Due to our efforts and cultivation of contacts, we were able to help generate more than 35 traditional media hits generating over 5,000,000 media impressions of coverage relating to the event. The conversation around the event on social media expanded the profile of Mutt Strut even further. This level of coverage created an environment within which a huge proportion of Central Indiana residents were aware of the event. On the day of, 3,800 individuals participated in Mutt Strut, including the 300 volunteers and 250 sponsors and vendors who selflessly dedicated their time, talents, funds and efforts to make Mutt Strut a success. The high level of public awareness for this year’s event not only raised attendance but allowed IndyHumane to exceed their fundraising goal and surpass last year’s total by over $50,000.

With their largest annual fundraiser a success, due in no small part to the creativity and coordination of the team at Matchbook, IndyHumane is excellently poised to continue expanding their presence and capacity within Indianapolis to the benefit of animal companions across the state.

Let’s talk, and generate results together.

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