My dog Betty is the center of my world. To me, she is a person–she has all the personality of a human, she is the size of a human (96 pounds) and she talks to me. And, yes, I talk to her. We have a relationship. Last week I had a conversation with a client over lunch about the love we have for our dogs and their importance in our lives. She told me a story about taking her dog to the Baskin-Robbins drive through to a cup of vanilla ice cream as a treat. The dog knows the words “ice cream” and will behave if promised ice cream. The dog recognizes the drive through and the girls who work the drive through recognize her. I love this story and can picture the dog’s excitement as she is presented with her “treat” and gets brain freeze shortly thereafter. Wouldn’t it be great if Baskin-Robbins included a menu item specifically for dogs? I have actually heard of one of our local frozen treat shops doing such a thing.
It makes sense for brands to cater to dogs and their owners: there are between 40-50 million dog owners in the United States. Ad Age is thinking the same thing:
“The pet market, I don’t need to tell you, is huge. Pet lovers will lavish more than $43 billion on their animal companions this year. Such devotion leads me to believe that non-pet marketers who can figure out a way to tap into all that pampering (The Wall Street Journal reported that formerly “bare bones” kennels have transformed themselves into posh daycare services that offer doggie massages and other amenities) will earn the undying loyalty of pet owners.”
The article goes on to suggest that fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s should offer “doggie meals”:
“McDonald’s already offers the Happy Meal for kids, so why not bring out the Doggie Meal for dogs (or, as Merrilee suggested, the Yappy Meal)? It would consist of a small water bottle, a plastic bowl, a snack portion of dog food (or a meal portion if you’re on a long trip) plus a stuffed toy with the McDonald’s logo. And if the McDog idea caught on and the dog-lover market proved to be as responsive as I think would, the bigger McDonald’s outlets, those with play areas for kids, could also provide play areas for dogs.”
Lately, we have had a lot of discussion around the agency about viral campaigns: what do you do, how do you make them “viral,” how much should you spend, etc. So when we find a good one, we try to learn from it. Via my Brandweek e-newsletter today, I found the Haagen-Dazs “Help the Honey Bees” campaign. I love it. The idea is simple, fun and effective. It uses a video and a microsite to deliver the message. I am re-posting the case study as written by Brandweek, because it tells the story best:
Ice cream stalwart Häagen-Dazs was feeling the pinch when honeybees started inexplicably disappearing, since 30 of the brand’s 73 flavors use honey to contribute to their flavor. Strawberry just isn’t strawberry without some honey, really. So the brand decided to adopt the issue of the shrinking bee population by launching a multiplatform campaign, via Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. The effort is designed to raise public awareness of this honeybee deficit.
A two-minute video called “Bee-Boy dance crew drops dead” was introduced in July. It features a dance crew in bee outfits, doing a “bee dance” to an instrumental hip-hop track, complete with DJ, also in a black and yellow bee outfit. It was disseminated to bloggers who tended to embrace social causes and youth efforts and was introduced in chat sites as well. After all of the dancers disappear, the viewer is directed to the helpthehoneybees.comsite. The Feed Company, Los Angeles, handled the viral video aspect of the campaign.
The video generated more than 2 million views in two weeks and drew over 3,500 comments on YouTube. More than 150 blogs featured the video and it was part of over 11,000 Web forum discussion sessions. The video maintains a 4 1/2 star rating on YouTube.
I would love to know budgets for a campaign like this. If anyone has ranges, please send them my way.
As I am reading my latest issue of Wired, I learned the name of condition that I was already familiar with:
Homophily – the human tendency to seek out information that supports preexisting assumptions.
And, according to Wired, the internet “magnifies this echo-chamber effect.” So, whether your beliefs are right or wrong, you can find a web resource that supports your beliefs and validates whatever argument you are having.
Makes sense. This “condition” aligns with “niching” trend that is facilitated by the internet. With a sense of individualism, people are making choices based on their own needs rather than following the masses around them. To quote the book Microtrends,
“No matter how offbeat their choices, they can now find 100,000 people or more who share their taste for deep fried yak on a stick.
…the Internet has made it so easy to link people together. In the past, it was almost impossible to market to small groups who were spread around the county. Now it’s a virtual piece of cake to find 1 million people who want to try your grapefruit diet, or who can’t get their kids to sleep at night.
With the rise in freedom of choice has come a rise in individuality. And with the rise of individuality has come a rise in the power of choice. The more choices people have, the more they segregate themselves into smaller and smaller niches in society.”
As marketers, this trend presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is reaching broad audiences with our messages. But the opportunity is that our dollars can be more efficiently spent targeting just those consumers likely to connect with our messages.
“I watched off and on in the first season, and loved everything about the look and sound of it (the smoke, the tight-fitting clothing, the lacquered-down hair, the clink of the ice in the cocktails, the music). Still, I couldn’t get past the outrageous womanizing and brutality of the story line. It was too painful to watch. So, no matter how graphically attuned with the opening credits that the JWT ad looked, I saw it as an amazingly boneheaded move. Why would a modern agency want to align itself with this depiction of advertising — to show that they are as backward seeming and generally ethics-free as the ad “boys” on the show? Way to go, JWT!”