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A doggone cool idea

Jack Brockley | Dec 17, 2018

Cool dog Wyatt poses with his owners, Josh and Lindsey McCullough, at North High Brewing.

Wyatt is way cool. The curly-haired lovable pooch enjoys lolling about in the sun and exploring Central Ohio peony fields. He is, in fact and officially, the coolest dog in Columbus, Ohio. But he didn’t attain such fame overnight. It took US$10,733 and a lot of Kiwanis hard work to earn such honors. 

It all began when Arthur James, MD, spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Columbus and delivered some upsetting news. 

“Ohio has some of the most prestigious hospitals in the nation,” says James, associate clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Wexner Center. “Yet, literally in the shadow of some of the best hospitals in the world, babies born in Ohio are dying at Third World rates.” 

In response, the Kiwanians formed a committee and came up with the idea of conducting an online contest. Dog owners, who would pay US$10 each to enter their pets, would use social media to encourage their friends, families and co-workers to vote – $1 per vote – for their favorite cool canines. There was no maximum: If a donor wanted to cast 100 votes, they could donate $100. 

“That’s how The Coolest Dog in Columbus Contest was born,” says member David Kandel. 

Club member Dave Keller’s company, “TriAd Marketing and Media, designed the label for Wyatt Nights Ale. The club signed up with GoGo Photo, an Internet company that could manage website logistics and handle transactions. In their search for an enticing prize, they found North High Brewing Company. The brewer agreed to feature the winning dog’s image on the label of a special beer, which would be named by the pet’s owner. 

Other sponsors joined the partnership, helping the Kiwanians to expand their PR reach. Moms2B, an organization offering comprehensive prenatal and first-year-of-life programs for women at high risk for infant mortality, came on board immediately. As a media sponsor, Columbus Radio Group stations Sunny 95 and Mix 107.9 promoted the contest with on-air support. 

Taking a guess, the club set a goal to net $20,000. 

“The contest became very competitive among the top contenders and went down to the wire,” Kandel says. “We raised a total of $53,277 – 266 percent of our goal.” 

With 10,733 one-dollar votes, Wyatt, a labradoodle owned by Josh and Lindsey McCullough, won the title as Columbus’ coolest canine. He and the McCullough family visited North High’s brewery, where they selected their favorite beer and chose the name that would be on the label: “Wyatt Nights Ale.”

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