Boy have pitbulls gotten a bum rap in this country. In her marvelous book Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog, the late Vicki Hearne makes a compelling indictment of the political agenda behind demonizing lower class dogs through breed-specific legislation. Think about it–did pit bulls suddenly stop biting people? Of course not. The anti-pit hysteria of the late 80’s was a PR-powered story, one Hearne claims was enflamed by the the SPCA to reinforce their credibility. Like any good story, those effects linger…
And then they get totally subverted by the tale of Lesteye.
Late the night of July 22, four masked criminals assaulted a man on the street, forcing him into his Virginia home at gunpoint to rob him. That’s when Lesteye leapt to his aid and took a shotgun blast intended for the homeowner.
The story could have ended there, a small crime piece with an interesting twist. But it didn’t. Because the homeowner, despite owing his life to his dog, didn’t have the money for her amputation surgery. And so the animal hospital caring for Lesteye shared her story on Facebook.
The initial post earned more than 4000 shares. In less than twenty four hours, donations covered 75% of the surgery costs and Lesteye had her procedure. Four days after having her bone shattered and tissue destroyed by the blast, the hospital posted a video of her walking around the yard on her three legs.
Shareworthy Content isn’t always film, though that’s the focus for most advertisers. Fundamentally, it’s stories. We don’t share data or media; we share ideas and inspiration in the form of stories. Just as we’ve done since the dawn of language. Which is why the principles of PR are so crucial to making anything shareworthy.
Like a crime-stopping pitbull.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson