“When you’re watching a Dodo video,” says Emily Pelleymounter, “you know it’s a Dodo video, regardless of the platform it’s on.” Since joining the four-year-old digital media company in 2015, Pelleymounter has led the effort to professionalize the content under the Dodo’s increasingly sprawling brand, which leverages cute, funny, and heart-wrenching pet videos to support animal rights. Pelleymounter also oversees the look of the Dodo’s recently launched Spanish-language sister channel, El Dodo, along with programs such as Pittie Nation and Odd Couples, which are currently among the most loved original series, per episode, on Facebook Watch. The Dodo, which regularly hits 2 billion monthly video views across its social channels, is now partnering with Animal Planet for a six-episode, one-hour TV show, Dodo Heroes, debuting this summer.
Many of the Dodo’s videos are user-generated or come from other destinations. This often means the site must repackage viral-worthy clips floating around the internet with polished graphics, additional footage, interviews, and links to relevant shelters or adoption agencies. To make each video Dodo-worthy, Pelleymounter’s team has figured out the formula to make its avid social media following not only watch but care about these stories.
1. Keep it fun The Dodo drives a lot of its engagement with videos that are simply amusing to watch. For example, this video of a sheep playing a game of ball with a human, which came from the user-generated digital video site Jukin Media, received nearly 160,000 Instagram likes in just four weeks.
2. Lead with cute The Dodo often turns captivating pet videos into an implied story about animal rights, as it did with this cloyingly cute video of a pig being nurtured and growing up with dogs. Yes, everyone wants to escape their humdrum life for a few minutes by watching a pig and dogs play–and the Dodo has made this into one of its signature media formats.
3. Find the emotional connection Perhaps Pelleymounter’s most impressive talent is using that endlessly shareable animal video content to make something greater than the sum of its parts. Below is not just an owner’s video about a stray dog that showed up at his family’s door, it’s a short story that taps into people’s almost assured emotional connection to animals. It’s easy to make a video of a dog, it’s much harder to turn that into viral content that has a call to action.