First, there was the Dangerous Book for Boys, then the Daring Book for Girls. Now, it's apparently time to teach dogs how to be dogs again, and Alpo is looking for stories to be published in a volume next year.
Purina, which markets the Alpo brand, has begun a contest, "Real Dogs Tell It Like It Is," in which dogs (presumably with the help of their humans) tell about their favorite behaviors, such as rolling in the mud, drooling over dinner or playing fetch. Twenty of the stories will be collected and published in a "how-to" manual for dogs. (The contest kicked off earlier this month.)
"The contest is a fun way to engage consumers with the brand," Amanda Culbertson-Kraemer, assistant brand manager for Alpo, tells Marketing Daily. "Based on the positive response to date, we feel that our message of letting dogs be dogs again is resonating well with consumers."
The contest, as well as the brand positioning, was born out of a survey conducted by Alpo that found only 2% of dog owners have ever taken their pooch to a dog spa, and only 1% have taken their dog for a professional massage. Conversely, many dog owners treat their pets the old fashioned way: 79% said they give their dog treats, 73% give them belly rubs and 69% take them for walks.
"The truth is that most American dog owners do treat their dogs like real dogs," Culbertson-Kraemer says. "Dogs don't care who designed their collar or what's happening at the local doggie spa. They are happiest when they can express their true inner-dogness -- instinctual behaviors including sniffing, digging, eating and playing."
Alpo set up a microsite, www.alpotellitlikeitis.com, where consumers can upload their entries (300 words or less, accompanied by a photo of the dog), which will then be judged by a panel led by dog expert and author Brian Kilcommons. The entries will be judged based on their reflection of real dog behavior, originality and creativity. Up to 20 winning entries will be culled into a manual scheduled for publication in early 2010.
Alpo is currently promoting the contest through a national print advertorial as well as through the microsite and public relations efforts, Culbertson-Kraemer says.