Destination Cleveland’s “Dog’s Day Off” Campaign Showcases City Through Eyes of Everyone’s Best Friend

Cleveland’s fun, creative and unpretentious nature and make-your-own-rules spirit took center stage on the day of the Big Game. “Dog’s Day Off” – a 30-second advertisement that highlights some of Cleveland’s quintessential visitor experiences – aired during the country’s popular pup matchup. The ad is the centerpiece of Destination Cleveland’s newest integrated marketing campaign.

“We see more people traveling with their dogs – and considering pets to be their ‘kids’,” said Marie Scalia, chief marketing officer at Destination Cleveland. “This campaign allows us to speak to a segment of travelers that is growing. By showcasing Cleveland’s tourism experience through the eyes of a four-legged best friend, we can tap into that audience and demonstrate why we’re a must-visit for dog lovers (and non-dog lovers of course).”

Research also supported the approach. A 2020 study in Marketing ZFP’s Journal of Research and Management found that ads with animals in them lead to more favorable brand and ad attitudes. And people are more excited about a brand when they see dogs in ads, according to a 2022 study in the Journal of Marketing.

The Storyline: A Dog’s Day Off in Cleveland

Destination Cleveland worked with its agency partner, MMGY Global, to show how rewarding and fun a day off in Cleveland can be – all from a dog’s point of view. In just 30 seconds, many quintessential Cleveland visitor experiences are highlighted. The dog kicks off its day by stealing the show at a football tailgate, chows down along the lakefront at North Coast Harbor, wags its tail alongside the queens at a drag show at Studio West 117, performs with a busker along East 4th Street, jams at a show at Grog Shop and ends the day cruising past the Capitol Theatre in the Gordon Square Arts District.

“We’re all excited for the opportunity to highlight Cleveland as a destination on the national stage through this fun and strategic storyline,” said Brandon Sanders, VP, Group Creative Director at MMGY Global. “It gave us the chance to show the audience that good times are everywhere you look in The Land – even if you’re a dog. Cleveland may often be perceived as an underdog, but we know that a never-defeated, fun-loving mentality is what really drives this city.”

At the end of the commercial, viewers are encouraged to visit, where they can enter a sweepstakes to win the ultimate day(s) off in Cleveland with their favorite furry friend. The website also shares details about a unique offer for people who decide it’s time to make the move to The Land: up to $300 to cover dog adoption costs or a one-year membership to Taps & Tails, a social club for humans and canines alike.

Campaign Details
Following a “Big Game” teaser on Destination Cleveland’s Instagram channel, which built interest and intrigue, the “Dog’s Day Off” commercial ran nationally during the pregame show for the country’s preeminent pup matchup, the main event and again during each of the 3 re-broadcasts of the event later that day. From Feb. 12 through March 23, the ad will air over three hundred times. It will also reach viewers on connected TV (like Hulu and similar streaming services) and will be promoted in key target markets on social media. A “Day in the Life (of the dog)” video series will also be shared through both organic and paid social media throughout the campaign.

Destination Cleveland is not an official sponsor of Sunday’s popular pup matchup.