How To Use Dogs (or Other Pets) in Your Business Marketing
As designers, we keep our eyes out on what other small businesses are doing to keep up with marketing trends as a way to evolve their brands and align with the ever-changing interests of people everywhere. Dogs are universally known to be man’s best friends, and businesses know that! Endearing and eye-catching, dogs can engage an audience. Take a look at examples of how to use dogs in your business marketing:
This is a great example of taking a different tactic in advertising your product. Subaru has shifted its focus away from just cars to include a whole ad campaign around dogs. And not only are they simply featuring dogs in their advertisements, but they’re actually getting involved, making people know that their interest in animals isn’t just an empty gesture. Take a look at Make a Dog’s Day, where Subaru has partnered with animal welfare groups to help animals in need across the country and raise awareness on shelter pets.
You may have seen it yourself during the 2016 NFL Super Bowl. It seems so obvious: ketchup and mustard! Hot Dogs! Wiener dogs! Duh! Condiments and hot dogs are matches made in heaven, and so are dogs and people. Heinz also employed the values of their brand; condiments are associated with fun times with friends and family, and now that includes dogs.
Take out a tissue, because Ikea’s chopping onions in here. Their 2019 ad is basically a short film about a dog who… well, we won’t spoil it for you. But the important takeaway here is how they told a story, with their brand and their values (efficiency, comfort) in the background. Whether or not you’re a pet-loving business, it’s a good idea to ask yourself how you can tell a story with your marketing strategies.
Like we mentioned earlier about Subaru, the brands and businesses that do the “dog marketing” best are businesses that aren’t doing it just to jump on the bandwagon. Meaning, flashing pictures of dogs isn’t just an empty gesture getting people to pay attention. Tito’s made their ad campaign a meaningful one. In fact, it seems that the whole mission behind the campaign is to rescue animals and find fur-ever homes for shelter pets. It’s almost more of a donation campaign, but regardless of whether or not you like vodka… if you’re a dog lover who likes vodka, you’d be more likely to be loyal to Tito’s.
Formerly known as Spot, and sometimes thought of as just “The Target Dog,” Bullseye the Dog is another great example of a brand telling a story. Bullseye is as lovable as any dog, and his very name is brilliant considering Target’s own name and logo. Additionally, Bullseye has got quite the reputation on social media, with over 150k mentions and his own hashtag.
Of course, if you are a pet business, even better! You likely have dogs embedded in your design. Do you have a real-life or illustrated mascot? How do you feature pups in your campaigns? Even better: do you feature other kinds of animals in your campaigns, and if so, how?
As demonstrated above, there are countless innovative and meaningful ways to take up this marketing strategy. Check out the inspiration behind Dox Design, Finley, Ferb, and Felix! These lively little dachshunds are our whole world, and are major players in all that we do. When we’re dreaming up designs, they’re our canine muses, and without them, we wouldn’t be here!
When it comes to integrating pets or dogs into your own marketing (pet business or not), here are a couple of tips:
- Be genuine – People can tell the difference!
- Make sure whatever you’re doing reflects your overall brand mission, values, and personality.
- Test out your ideas with your audience – They’ll love to give feedback.
- Give it a purpose – Don’t just input a video with a dog for the sake of having a dog. Make it mean something more.
- Have fun – Enjoy the process! It’s not every day that non-pet companies get to spend time or even think about dogs in their marketing. The more fun you have, the more likely it’ll be a success!