Hello. My name is Hachi and I recently earned my badge as mayor of PetSmart in the Lakeport Commons. My master is working on a final project for IMC 619, so he’s letting me write this post about a super-cool development in emerging media. It involves a dog food company and Foursquare.
Social media is fun. Why aren’t more companies using cyber-tactics, like the recent outdoor campaign launched by Granata Pet brand dog food, to get the attention of my fellow canines? For years marketers have tried reaching us via mass media—humorous TV spots with dogs sliding on waxed floors en route to the kitchen or dramatic close-ups of my furry peers attacking a bowl of kibble. But GranataPet is the first company to bring relevant advertising to social spaces where dogs and our people like to go.
GranataPet placed sidewalk billboards with built-in dog food dispensers, urging dog owners to “Check in!” to Foursquare and “Snack out!” Upon successful check-in, the dog food dispenser releases samples of GranataPet dog food. No delayed gratification here. Our people can watch us devour the sample and realize how much we like it. This kind of positive reinforcement is sure to keep dog owners on the look out for GranataPet—on the street as well as in the store.
The strategy to combine outdoor signage with location-based social media satisfies a dog’s need for sustenance as well as the need for social interaction. This company really gets who we are and gives us a voice in pet product marketing. We’ve become so good at letting our people think they are the decision makers that most marketers fail to recognize our influence in the final purchase. The people pay for our food at the register, but we encourage those choices when we eat certain foods and reject others.
GranataPet and Foursquare make the online experience enjoyable and relevant for dogs. It’s difficult to engage in regular social media via computers and smart phones due to limited visual perception and poor paw dexterity. I hope other marketers are paying attention and monitoring our responses. Maybe they’ll collect enough data to develop an accurate profile and suggest relevant treats, toys, and other canine accoutrements. Move over Pavlov. Today’s marketers are conditioning dog owners to do tricks like check-in on a regular basis. Get with the program and get more dogs online!