Foursquare from Hachi’s Perspective

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!


  1. Good boy, Hachi!

    This is a great review of GranataPet’s integration of emerging and traditional media. I hope some pet food distributors in the US (e.g. – Purina, Iams, Blue Buffalo) decide to try this tactic locally so we can “meet your needs” for sustenance and social interaction, simultaneously. 😉

    It would be great to hear from some other dogs and get their response to GranataPet’s campaign and emerging media.

    p.s. – please stop chewing up the toilet paper roll.

    1. Good boy Hachi! You are so clever to have found this integrated campaign, and your cowner must be very proud of you. You deserve a special treat tonight.

      I am very impressed with this campaign and the clever use of Foursquare, as well as incorporating your canine friends right into the offer.

      Thanks for sharing it with us owners, now go bark about it on twitter!


  2. I love the way that you went about this post. Very creative! I love that this company has used Foursquare in such an interesting way. Its nice to get something out of checking-in such as coupons or free food. I would be curious as to how the company actually does this. How does the food get dispensed after checking-in.

    Hopefully in the next several months more companies will see the importance of social media and Foursquare and reward consumers for being loyal shoppers.


    1. Ben, there are several articles that discuss the GranataPet execution of this food serving billboard. When the people Checkin with Foursquare, their checkins are sent to a server which in turn signals a box that controls the dispenser. Someone needs to make this work for human food! GranataPet has shown the way…it just needs some serious health controls to be approved for human consumption. I would gladly take the time to checkin for a slice of pizza or a fresh bagel 🙂

  3. Very nice William! Dog owners/Lovers enjoy spoiling their dogs. Even if they may not aware of the brand, the concept is so innovative that I am sure is gonna be a total success. Well, it is already a success. My boss is a dog lover and I know her dog has a profile on a website somewhere,(don’t recall the name)that by the way I think is crazy. In there, her dog has friends, and they update what park they are going, and stuff like that. With that in mind, I know there is a lot of potential dog owners/lovers looking to interact with their pets fav. brands online. Great post!


    1. Yes, I know the type. Before we had children we had a Jack Russell Terrier (Alec) that WAS our child. We had friends at the bark park and some of Alec’s favorites became members of “play dates” at other parks. This was before social media networks took off, otherwise we might have created a profile for her. A lot changes when you have children…of course we absolutely love Hachi. He gets plenty of love, but it’s safe to say he won’t get a Facebook account any time soon…definitely not before our kids are old enough to have theirs, which is still about six or seven years away.

      Wise marketers will jump on the opportunity to create social networks for their audience. As you have experienced with your boss, there are people who want to include their pets in social spaces.

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