In the latest extension of its "real dogs" marketing positioning, Purina's Alpo is sponsoring a virtual book-reading event in which movie and TV actor/dog-lover Taye Diggs will read excerpts from Alpo's new "Real Dogs Eat Meat" handbook.
Actually, Diggs will read the excerpts live to (in Alpo's words) "a group of drooling dogs" and their (presumably more dry-mouthed) owners during a May 19 event held in -- where else? -- the meatpacking district in New York City. But the reading will be live-streamed on alporealdogs.com, the microsite for the brand's campaign, so that it can be enjoyed by "real dogs across America and their owners."
Owners/dogs who provide their emails to register for what's being billed as "the first virtual book reading for dogs" will also be able to download a free copy of the handbook.
The book, a "how-to manual written by 20 'paw-thors'," was compiled from the winning entries of a "Real Dogs Tell It Like It Is" photo/ essay contest launched last summer. The contest sought to encourage "letting dogs be dogs" -- that is, letting them enjoy behaviors like bone-chewing and mud-rolling rather than be subjected to doggie spas, designer collars/clothing and other indignities -- by having owners "ghost-write" essays for their canines describing the pooches' favorite real-dog activities.
Alpo selected 20 winners from the more than 2,800 entries to create the manual on "getting back to the business of being dogs." Topics covered in the essays include "where to hide when someone tries to put a sweater on you" and "how to tell the world the yard is mine."
The book, virtual reading and the contest that led up to both are part of Alpo's broader, "real dog"-themed marketing initiative/ positioning, which came out of a consumer survey showing that most American dog owners do indeed treat their dogs like real dogs (amusing them predominantly with walks, dog treats, belly rubs and the like, rather than spas, etc.).
"Real dog" marketing efforts have also included an online and outdoor campaign from Fallon that showed dogs being forced to be un-dog-like (a collie with cucumber slices on its eyes), accompanied by the headline: "Quick, Get That Dog Some Alpo."