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 2022 approximately $136.8 billion was spent on our pets, up from $90.5 billion in 2018 and a mere $35.9 billion in 2005, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). An estimated 2.2 million American households have horses, 61 million have cats, and 65.1 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 65 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.

Several 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? Drop me a line and let me know what you’ve done because I’d love to hear from you. Here’s to your sweet success.