Remember that white dog with pointed ears and red rings around its eyes? If aisles of bright colors and red shopping baskets come into mind, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about Target. As evidenced by Spot the Target mascot, dogs are not new to marketing. Digital marketing has gone to the dogs as the presence of millennials and their furry family members rapidly increases. Social media is frequently dominated by breaking news stories and politics, but a furry pet popping up on newsfeeds is often a welcomed break from negativity. As a result, dogs of Instagram are major celebrities and brands are often fetching partnerships with pets. Dogs are becoming marketers’ best friends in the digital world and there’s a good chance this trend will continue to increase.
Like it or not, millennials are “adulting” and have emerged as a significant portion of consumership. According to Media Post, three-fourths of Americans in their 30s own a dog, and 82% of millennials are more likely to feel that getting a pet is part of preparing to have a family. Consequently, dogs continue to emerge as a dominant part of the life experience. Stores, hotels, and restaurants with patios have recognized the importance of pups and dog-friendly places continue to sprout up. For many “pawrents,” the decision in making plans is often determined by the allowance of their “furkids” at places of business. As millennials continue to embrace pawrenthood, marketing toward dog lovers seems all but necessary.
Dogs of Instagram
We’ve already established the importance of using Instagram as a marketing tool. Stop what you’re doing and open up Instagram. Seriously, do it. Using the search feature, type #dogsofinstagram. You’re likely to find pictures of dogs with a variety of products, modeling clothes, or posing with celebrities. A whole subculture of dogs on Instagram exists and marketers are recognizing these pups as influencers. Take @mensweardog and his 355k followers, for example:
Menswear Dog makes $15,000 a month by posing in outfits made for human men. Instagram’s top dog influencers often have hundreds of thousands of followers, if not millions. As stories are told on Instagram from a dog’s perspective, friendships are forged among dog owners around the world. Humans behind the dog accounts trade ideas, host meet ups, and make similar purchases. Brands possessing the ability to connect with top dogs to market goods will inevitably reach higher visibility and communicate a level of relevance. Additionally, brands build loyalty by directly communicating with followers and partners.
Beyond Pet Brands
Brands embracing the dog hype for marketing do not need to be pet brands and sell only dog products. Subaru recognized the value of placing dogs in advertisements and created a slogan, “Dog Tested. Dog Approved.” Commercials show dogs driving vehicles and acting humanlike, which provides a lighthearted moment for the audience. Of course dogs cannot drive or communicate as humans, but for a brief moment humans are sucked into this imaginary world. Although dogs are not literally approving Subaru vehicles, the slogan may stick and dog owning millennials might just remember the joy brought by these commercials the next time they are car shopping.
Makeup lines and beauty products have also found a way to embrace the use of dogs in digital marketing. Popular makeup brand Urban Decay ran a recent social media campaign featuring dogs to highlight its commitment to cruelty-free makeup. Furthermore, brands like The Body Shop ran a similar campaign highlighting a commitment to never test products on animals. Overall, linking dogs to brands is a quick way to stand out in digital marketing strategy.
Will the dog craze last forever? Only time will tell, however, all signs point to dogs maintaining the highest levels of popularity we’ve seen in marketing. From marketing human clothes to posing with human food, dogs continue to dominate then marketing field. As more millennials embrace dogs as an immediate family member and dominate consumerism, smart brands will embrace the trend.