Dog Doo Drop Raises Eyebrows For Parvovirus Awareness

Fake dog poop is dropping across the country starting Tuesday, as Elanco Animal Health calls attention to how parvovirus, a very contagious and deadly disease, gets spread from canine to canine.

“Parvo is Poop” states the campaign, which Elanco is conducting with help from the Parvo Defenders Task Force, whose members include a network of vet companies, Mars Veterinary Health. Cities getting the droppings include Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Austin, Atlanta, West Palm Beach and San Francisco.

The unusual out-of-home effort as shown in this :30 spot, consists of the fake dog poop topped with a sign in the shape of a pooch reading “Be on Alert. Defeat Parvovirus. Save 1 million puppies by 2030,” followed by the Elanco logo.



Why puppies? Elanco points out that some 900 dogs in the U.S. are diagnosed daily with parvo, most of whom are unvaccinated puppies. The mortality rate, the company says, can be as high as 91%, but only 44% of dog owners even know what parvo is.

Elanco actually launched its puppy-saving parvo initiative, under the name “Defend Puppies. Defeat Parvo,” back in January, around the same time its new Canine Parvovirus Monoclonal Antibody, the first approved parvovirus treatment, entered wide distribution.

In addition to the poop droppings, the extensive “Parvo is Poop” campaign also includes influencer marketing and social media postings, all of which launched Tuesday to coincide with an Elanco-declared National Parvo Awareness Day.

The fourth Tuesday in April was chosen as the date, Elanco tells Marketing Daily, based on five years of Google Trends data showing that’s when searches for parvovirus started to trend upward, leading into peak parvovirus season (early spring to summer).

Early testing of the “Parvo is Poop” campaign showed “strong stopping power” and “significant interest” among both dog owners and veterinarians, Elanco says, as it raised awareness “and a few eyebrows.”

Elanco has also launched ParvoTrack, a real-time tool at, which allows users to monitor parvo outbreaks down to the country level and to report new cases. Users can also sign up to receive direct alerts for their area.

“If we can test and track for parvovirus, we can treat for and defeat parvovirus by using Elanco’s innovative Canine Parvovirus Monoclonal Antibody,” Elanco tells Marketing Daily. “And since moments matter with parvovirus, the tracking tool empowers pet owners to quickly identify local animal health providers that carry the monoclonal antibody for timely treatment.”

Elanco acknowledges that widely available vaccinations against parvovirus are highly effective, but says that “parvo is still a genuine and ever-present threat to all dogs, with unvaccinated dogs and young puppies most at risk.”

“Zero parvo-infected dogs died when treated with Canine Parvovirus Monoclonal Antibody during the initial trials,” the company says.

Three agencies are working with Elanco on the “Parvo is Poop” campaign: FleishmanHillard for creative, influencers, partnerships and PR; Barkley OKRP for creative, B2B marketing and paid trade media; and Essence Media Comm for paid consumer media.

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