Commentary

Brands Go To The Dogs To Engage Consumers

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, July 24, 2015
Since Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” Super Bowl 2015 campaign garnered almost 65 million views — one of the most popular campaigns of the year so far — more brands are going to the dogs to better convince viewers to watch ads all the way through and share them online.

In analyzing the most highly viewed video ads during the months of May through June, we found that a significant number of traditional and digital campaigns featured dogs and puppies — truly making this the dog days of summer.

The only campaign that uses a dog’s perspective, “A Dog’s View” campaign from Visit Florida, attached a camcorder to a dog taking viewers around tourist spots and beautiful beaches in Florida. This approach resulted in nearly 4 million views.

Other campaigns featuring dogs were equally popular with viewers across all consumer demographics.  Kleenex’s “Unlikely Best Friends” campaign told an emotional, heartwarming story of an injured dog without even mentioning the Kleenex brand. This was a huge hit with viewers, generating over 32 million views, with many of them coming from Facebook.

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Automobile and fashion brands also unleashed dog-friendly campaigns this summer with great success.  SUBARU’s “#MakeADogsDay” campaign garnered over 5 million views, while Ford’s “Dogs’ Day Out” ad reached 3.6 million views. Luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo’s “Capsule Collection” earned 1.5 million views while Coach’s “#Coachpups” reached over 4 million views.  

What can other brands learn from these hot dog campaigns? Here are a few tips to consider:

Don’t just feature the dog in the ad for a quick burst of cuteness. Instead, make the dog the hero of the story. People love to see the dog “save the day” and will keep watching ads to see how the story unfolds.

Find ways to help dogs, if relevant to your brand. Consider leveraging a tie-in to a charity that helps dogs or provide insight into how consumers can help dogs in need.

Connect your brand to activities that people like to do with their dogs. The “Visit Florida” campaign did this masterfully — people love to explore new places and beautiful beaches with their beloved pups. If they can see themselves in the ad experience, they will be more likely to engage with the ad and share it on social channels.

Show the dogs in the ad as soon as possible. People have very limited attention spans when it comes to digital ads, so if a dog is shown within the first few seconds of a video ad, consumers will be more likely to continue to watch.

Dog-friendly content can be created by any type of brand to build goodwill with consumers, ultimately convincing them to buy products produced by brands who let the dogs out.

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