Marketing to Pet Lover Lifestyles: Fabulous, furry 4-legged friends are great marketers

You’ve heard it. The saying goes something like this, “Dogs are a man’s best friend.” Well, as you may have discovered with each commercial you watch on TV, dogs are also a marketer’s best friend!

Marketing with petsIn 2014 approximately $58.51 billion was projected to be spent on our pets, up from $35.9 billion in 2005 and a meager $21 billion in 1996, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). An estimated 2.8 million American households have horses, 45.3 million have cats, and 56.7 million have dogs.

These fabulous 4-legged friends have become more than animals – they are treasured members of our families (I know my beautiful golden boy, Ike, certainly was). Therefore, it’s not surprising, given consumers’ affection for them, that they’re often seen splashed across the ads in magazines, newspapers, online and on TV.

Who can forget the Super Bowl Budweiser® “Puppy Love” commercial with the Clydesdale horses and the precious retriever puppy (my fave)? It melted our hearts!

The World of Dogs’ Web site explained the phenomena this way, “The growing number of ads featuring dogs are designed to use their appeal to increase the favorable attitude toward the product or service featured. Such ads use the power of association to cast the featured product in a more favorable light, much in the way an advertiser might use a celebrity endorsement to draw on the power of that celebrity.”

Turn on your TV and you’re bound to see dogs and/or cats in many commercials that have nothing to do with dog food or other pet products. They have to do with lifestyle and targeting a product/service to an appropriate audience who relates to that.

How many dog and cat photos and/or videos do you see on Facebook? And, why do you think they receive so much engagement?

Given the popularity of dogs and other pets – over 50 million households owning dogs alone – it is no wonder that the media has responded with programming about dogs. And the advertising industry has increasingly not only mounted big ad campaigns for products and services for dog owners, but has featured dogs in ads for products.

It’s a way of helping to characterize the target market and create a warm, receptive consumer audience, because of the appeal of dogs.

A few years ago, Sahalie, an outdoor, casual and travel apparel company, responded to their shoppers’ needs by featuring dogs in many product photos. “From surveys, we know that a large percentage of our customers have dogs,” said Sr. Creative Director Rich Lorimor. “We use other animals once in a while, but people don’t respond as much. Dogs hit the widest array of pet lovers.”

So, consider surveying your customers to see if they are pet lovers. Then, perhaps man’s best friend can bring you the “fetching” results you’ve been hoping to retrieve with your marketing efforts. Give it some thought when developing your marketing plan.

That’s my beautiful golden boy Ike in the photo above. In 2012, he moved on to the Rainbow Bridge, but he’s always in my heart.

Are you a pet lover? Have you used pets in your marketing? Please share what you’ve done in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Here’s to your sweet success.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. I have used my cocker spaniel stories in my marketing to make myself more relatable and as a real person to my market. I want to show people that I am more than just a business owner.

    People bond over pets and it’s a great ice breaker.

    My husband David uses our pets in teaching his K-8 students with technology at his school.

    Dr. Lisa
    Dr. Lisa Thompson recently posted…Top 10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes Part 1My Profile

  2. Ya know…this makes intuitive sense! Dogs really do represent something good and fun and somehow…right. I’m reading this and instantly flash back to an amazing day I had with the sheperd, lab mix I had growing up. I may just give this a trial run! Thanks Debra!
    Larry Hochman recently posted…Smart ExerciseMy Profile

  3. Hi Debra. I’ve included my late Bruno (along with your Ike) in one of my blog posts and Miss Coco has been the Muse for a few articles in the past where my pet’s behavior helped bring a coaching moment to life. Haven’t really used Coco for marketing although I did recently get an article published in a leading Canine magazine in India where Coco gave tips on problem solving.

  4. It’s a good thing to treat your pet as one of your family member. They say that dogs are man’s best friend, so accepting and treat them as one of the family is a great thing to do. Dogs have feelings also, they lives just like us. The only difference is that they don’t do things human does. Also, having a dog gives you advantage in ensuring your safety.
    Pallergy recently posted…Warm Winter Tips for Pet OwnersMy Profile

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