"Everybody drinks coffee and tea," Mari Justin, creator of the drink, tells Marketing Daily. "I thought that it would be a good time to share with my dog."
The beef-flavored (but caffeine-free) product, which comes in a coffee bag and looks like coffee when mixed with water, is actually a vitamin supplement. The idea came to Justin when she was trying to find a way to get her dehydrated pets to drink more water. "Most dog owners are unaware that many health problems associated with dogs are due to dehydration," Justin says.
Rather than market the product as a health supplement, however, Justin is positioning Doggy Java as a pet treat, which is a much larger category, and leads to a different consumer mindset. "People want to 'treat' their animals more than they want to give them vitamins," she says.
According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, roughly 10% of all dog owners gave their pets vitamins last year. Comparatively, 90% of all pet owners bought their dogs treats in the past year, according to the survey.
Doggy Java is currently available only through the Doggy Java Web site (a package costs $14.95, although a combination pack--which includes a Canine Cappuccino Cup and "Bonescotti" biscuit--can be had for $24.95) and at boutique pet stores. Justin says she's exploring distribution deals with major pet chains and the Home Shopping Network. Further marketing plans for the product are undetermined, she says.