Chewy Salutes Those 'Favorite Child' Pets

Admit it. You like your pets better than most people you know. In a new marketing campaign, Chewy rewards that kind of love. Orlena Yeung, vice president of brand marketing, explains how knowing that 84% of pet parents see their animals as family members shaped the company's new creative effort.

Retail Insider: What led to this campaign?

Orlena Yeung: We see this as a continuation of what we refer to as our "Chatty Pets" campaign, which has been well received by our customers. Like those spots, this campaign focuses on [pets] inner monologue. This is another way to highlight all of these different nuances, personalities and quirks of pets. I don't like this term, but it's a quick shorthand: the humanization of pets.

Retail Insider: What's changing among pet owners?

Yeung: Even pre-COVID, we knew people perceived pets as family. Fast-forward to now, and intimacy and attachment have only been heightened. These commercials communicate how deep that relationship is.

Retail Insider: I was stunned that 30% of your survey admit that their pet is their favorite child. What surprised you most?

Yeung: I was amazed that 42% would consider including a pet in their will.

Retail Insider: What makes a Chewy customer different from those who buy pet food on Amazon or at PetSmart?

Yeung: We think of our customers as pet-centric. Everybody loves their pets, no matter where they shop. But our customers take their pets everywhere. They buy them costumes and take them to spas. They go that extra mile and celebrate pet birthdays with parties. They research how to travel with pets. Our customer is integrating pets into their daily lives.

Retail Insider: What's the goal of this campaign?

Yeung: We want to make sure that playfulness comes through and that we're celebrating pet culture. We have decent brand awareness, and people understand our role as one of the biggest pet ecommerce brands. But ultimately, we want people to be a little more familiar with things that set us apart, like our RX offering and auto-ship,


Retail Insider: Chewy's revenues have been up. But there's been plenty of speculation about people cutting back on discretionary spending and how it might impact pets. How price sensitive are your customers these days?

Yeung: Everyone's price sensitive. It's a macro issue and a sign of the times that we live in. But we're incredibly competitive on price, and our customers know that, so it's not a barrier.

Retail Insider: Cat people are different than dog people. Are they different as customers? Are dog people more likely to see their pets as part of the family?

Yeung: Funny, we're in the process of doing a study to get deeper into that. But dog and cat parents love their pets equally. They just have different habits. One isn't more familial than the other, at least from what we've learned so far.

Retail Insider: Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Yeung: I have a Shibu Inu, so I have the best of both worlds. My dog thinks he's a cat.

Retail Insider: The ads are running on linear TV, digital, out-of-home, social media and TikTok. Is anything new in that approach?

Yeung: It's our standard media plan. But we've been having a lot of fun in channels like TikTok, driving more community engagement.

Retail Insider: What do you think is exceptional about the campaign?

Yeung: We're proud of it. We worked with Arnold, and it has great production value. I was curious how the talking pets would work, which turned out beautifully. It's realistic. And I don't know about you, but it's indicative of how I always talk to my dog. In my mind, he's talking back. I'm speaking both parts. We wanted to bring that to life, and I think we did.

Retail Insider: What metrics are you tracking most closely?

Yeung: All the usual quantitative brand trackers, but I especially love feedback directly from the community. So we're watching engagement, and customers commenting on what resonates.

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