Imagine you are with your marketing team, trying to think of your dog food's next big campaign. For the past however many years, you've been targeting the pet owners — the humans. You wonder what message could you send them that they haven't already heard or seen. Then it hits you: you are forgetting your market! Silly adperson, why advertise to the human? They (hopefully) aren't eating the food. Talk to the dog!
At least, that is what Nestlé Purina PetCare is attempting to do. The makers of Beneful are trying out advertising to dogs in some European markets, Investorspot reports. In Germany last year, the dog food company plastered "sniffable" posters ("paw n' sniff"?), also known as smell-o-ads, around city buildings and display boards at the height level of a dog. Yes, and the Beneful folks even paired up with experts in animal behavior to ensure the ads were relevant to the canine nose.
Beneful doesn't stop there. In an ad that will be running in Austrian markets, Beneful will try to gain the attention of both humans and their best friends. As you watch the commercial, you might not notice anything different. But focus on the sounds of the commercial, and it is quite obvious what they are trying to accomplish. The high-pitched noises and bell sounds, according to the article, were added in with extra emphasis to garner the attention of the dogs.
The Beneful Human & Dog campaign goes further still. The brand manager of Beneful said that there are three ways the dog can react to the ad. Based on the reaction, says the manager (in conjunction with the research from their animal experts), they can categorize the owner/dog relationship. So owners, pay attention to the way your dog reacts, go online, and enter the information. Doing so not only gives Beneful data; your entry also enters you in for a chance to win a year supply of Beneful dog food products.
Going after the canines, eh? It will be interesting to see how the ads are received, as pet owners can be quite guarded when it comes to their pets. Once word gets out that these ads are meant to target both human and dog, how will the relationship between dog owners and Beneful change, if at all? The article and its sources do not reveal when these ads would run in the U.S. market, but hopefully they do.
Sensory and subliminal advertising are not new. Some find them offensive, others advocate them, and others find them as some of the many tools in an advertiser's toolbox. Whichever opinion you have, targeting non-humans with human-like advertising is an interesting endeavor. As the advertising world continues to evolve, marketers are trying just about everything to stay fresh and unique.