Omnichannel Goes to the Dogs
“I don’t want her lickin’ an outlet and zappin’ herself.”
Spoken like a devoted, concerned parent. Of a dog.
It’s Pepper’s daddy, to be exact, in a new pet parenting advice video. It’s part of a recently launched marketing blitz by PetSmart that celebrates that bond people share with their pets. Called Partners in Pethood, the campaign looks at classic parent types (the overprotective, the indulgent, the inexperienced, the competitive), replacing the kids with pets.
“The…campaign is based on the fact that just like with kids, pet parents want the best for their pets,” said David Lenhardt, PetSmart President and CEO. “They don’t always know what they should be doing, but as their partner, we can help them through it all.”
The integrated campaign, created by GSD&M, kicked things off in a big way with two :30 spots during the Academy Awards. The concept carries through print, social, in-store and digital (the effort features five two-minute shorts directed by Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show director Christopher Guest).
It’s a clever, intelligent campaign; funny, honest and brand-focused. It is also one of the best examples of omnichannel marketing I’ve seen. Here’s what PetSmart does right with its “Furrier Vision of Parenthood” (smart retail marketers may want to take note).
They start with an insight. The entire campaign is based on the reality that pet owners see their furry friends as their children. It’s a universal concept; most everyone feels that way, or knows someone who does. The authenticity resonates.
They commit, and go big. The concept is ambitious; the execution channels are numerous; the production values are top notch. Heck, they launched during the Oscars; it’s hard to go bigger than that. They also use real star power (in addition to Guest, Anna Faris and Jennifer Coolidge share their talents) to create quality content. Which brings me to my next point.
They create quality content. The mini-films are brilliant, not just for their humor (they are done in Guest’s signature improvisational style), but also for the way they seamlessly incorporate brand messaging. They give us access to likeable characters who are simply telling their stories in which PetSmart plays a natural part. There is also a dedicated, comprehensive website that serves as a robust resource center for pet parents, offering ideas, blogs, tips and access to pet care professionals.
They are consistent. The tongue-in-cheek personality of the campaign is articulated in every detail of every execution on every marketing channel. The look, the feel and the voice are consistent across print, video and social media. It’s an easy enough concept to understand, but consistency is often difficult to execute. The spot-on tone of the campaign had to have required shared vision and meticulous coordination between the brand and their agencies (and between the agencies themselves.) That’s no small feat.
They activate social media. Through the campaign, pet parents can connect through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. The content they find is valuable, engaging and most importantly, shareable. It’s also customized to fit the specific features and functions of each social media platform (a small but powerful tactic). Pet parents are encouraged and empowered to participate; to discover new stories, share their own and become a member of a true community.
In the campaign, we see multi-discipline program elements work together to create an immersive experience for shoppers. The interdependence and mutual support between online and offline tactics – and the meticulous execution of scores of details – makes this program an onmichannel standout.
Now let’s see if the shopper bites.