Marketing to Furry Friends

As lockdown continues for many nations across the world, one industry seeing a huge spike in attention is pet care. Not only are people spending more time with their furry friends (resulting in memes a-plenty), but animal adoptions have soared. Naturally, pet care items are in high demand. Here are six campaigns which artfully appeal to our pet-loving nature.

Pet-Commerce, Petz, Oglivy Sao Paulo


Brazil is the second largest pet market in the world and dogs are now considered a member of the family. Petz, the largest pet shop chain in the country, created a first-of-its-kind shopping platform in recognition of this superior status, where dogs could buy their own treats. The platform combined the clever application of AI and Facial Recognition technologies trained to recognise dog expressions – neatly integrated into Petz’s website.

Owners loved the novel bonding opportunity and, in the first week of launch, site traffic increased 236% and the sales in toy categories lifted 57%. The piece of work was picked up across the world with coverage in the United States, England, Russia, Australia, Germany, France, and Lithuania. Pet-Commerce earned more than R$3.1 million in spontaneous media.

Cat Chat, Animates, Young & Rubicam Auckland


New Zealand pet store Animates developed a one-off wearable tech product for cats to give new meaning to their ‘meow’, and a compelling reason for cat-lovers to visit their stores. Tech specialists worked to categorise cat meowing into eight relevant emotions. Wearing the Cat Chat collar, a sensor could then register a cat’s meows, sounding out appropriate human translations to give a voice to their previously undefined needs.

Naturally, owners rushed to better understand their feline friends through this inventive device. With little to no media budget to launch the collar, the first run of Cat Chat cat translators sold out in seven days. Animates commissioned extra cat characters and a further 50,000 units were produced.

Street-Vet, Purina, McCann France


Each year in France, more than a million dogs don’t get their annual visit to the veterinarians and symptoms for treatable conditions are missed. In fact, 59% of animals have a condition that could be improved with proper nutritional therapy. To highlight the need for vet visits and appropriate dog food choices, Purina made a simple dog health test as easy as a walk in the park.

Harnessing a dog’s natural behaviour to pee on poles, Purina Street-Vet created a digital billboard to collect and analyse dog urine, providing real-time results for their owner. The Street-Vet performed 2,500 health checks in spots across Paris. It revealed over a thousand health issues, press coverage spread across the world and importantly, 74% were convinced to visit the vet more regularly. A clever adaptation of outdoor media appropriated for a dog’s routine “business” highlighted the importance of good dog nutrition and, in turn, raised brand awareness for Purina.

Dog Channel, Mars, BBDO Sao Paulo


When Pedigree wanted to support animal adoption centres, who were getting low visitor numbers, they turned to a medium with high viewership, but banal content – the TV screens sat in electronics stores of busy malls. Each TV showed a different dog up for adoption, encouraging people to visit the centres – which they did.

After just three days, all of the dogs displayed on the TVs in the mall’s electronics stores had been adopted. The adoption centre saw 40% more dogs adopted than in the previous month. A simple but effective way to use a mundane medium for a good cause.

Naturia Dog Food, Galaxxy Pet Food, Grabarz & Partner Hamburg

To highlight its appeal to dogs as well as their owners, Naturia hijacked their radio ads to speak to dogs and humans simultaneously. Whenever the name Naturia was spoken out loud during the ad, a tone mimicking a dog whistle only audible to dogs also sounded, piquing the dogs interest making the dog appear to respond positively to the name. On days when the ad was broadcast, more than twice as many cans of Naturia Dog Food were sold.

The Animals’ Own Emergency Number, DNB Bank, Try Reklame Oslo


In its role as a pet insurer, DNB put its hard-sell strategy aside to focus on pet wellbeing and support animal-lovers’ needs. They discovered that nine of our ten pet owners would not know who to call in an emergency. They advocated for a new national emergency number for animals galvanising press, policy makers and practitioners to drive reach for the campaign.

The piece of work saw a 1,455% increase in insurance sales, 2.1 million organic impressions, and 1.4 million social interactions. 8,704 pets signed the petition and got their paw in petition protocol, which was handed over to a representative from the Justice Committee. By fighting for an important issue that appealed to the unmet needs of their target audience, DNB managed to engage a much wider audience than a traditional insurance campaign.