Purina is focusing on a life form that everyone loves: puppies, and its Puppy Chow with a new digital puppy-education program. No -- the company isn't trying to teach puppies, but to teach puppy owners how to teach puppies. And take care of them. And feed them, groom them and generally enjoy them before they become adults and begin teaching their owners.
The program, “Welcome to the Puppyhood,” via New York-based Night Agency, overseen by its partner and executive creative director, Evan Slater, includes content centered on nutrition, grooming, exercise, health, behavior and training. It also has elements for people who might be considering a 2015 model-year pooch, including a breed selector, name generator and new-puppy checklist. The site, which is video-centric and has an icon button bar on the bottom, includes an interactive dog walk, milestone tracker for their dog, access to a geo-locator for puppy resources, Purina Puppy Chow coupons and a personalized monthly newsletter.
Marcus Fong, brand manager digital communications at Purina, tells Marketing Daily that the program is a new venture with custom content. “This is actually a first of its kind,” he says. “While various brands have experimented with and launched individual pieces of content, this is the first major effort to build a primary resource. The depth and breadth of Puppyhood is what we believe sets it apart, and makes it so valuable.”
The effort, he says, is supported by a targeted advertising campaign. “People that get, or are about to get, puppies tend to go to specific places, and now that we have content to serve them, we have reason to be there,” he says. “So that means looking heavily into key digital channels.” He says the company is also working with native content on the likes of BuzzFeed and Huffington Post to help drive awareness. And Purina is also driving traffic with its palette of partnerships and other channels, as well as retail partnerships, sister companies and social channels. “We’ve already begun to see tremendous results,” says Fong.
While the cornerstone of the site is Purina's own experts and research teams, there is, per Fong, a twofold program with bloggers and digital experts. “First, in developing content and finding insights to populate the site, we identified a broad spectrum of experts to serve as contributors. We also worked with experts around the world to service specific topics and uncover more topical issues.” The second aspect, he says, is the onsite “expert access” one gets from registration. That function, he explains, is an online Web chat open to registered users, that allows them to ask questions of different experts, including those of the digital variety.
The company is doing this program now, per Fong, because it recognized that it needed to rethink marketing. “We believe we win by being a better business, not better marketers, so we started with how we can help people and solve a problem. This is a problem that has gone long unaddressed, so, no time like the present.”