Happy #NationalDogDay, everyone!
I find it incredibly interesting that there are “national days” for basically everything. Best friends, donuts, waffles, feet (?!?!), and of course, dogs.
This particular article was shared with me and I couldn’t help but cry when watching that ad. To summarize, the ad from The Humane Society of the United States contrasted the innocence of children and their perception of where puppies come from (much like their imaginative theories of where babies come from) to where some (if not most) puppies actually come from.
As an aspiring marketer,
This ad was beautifully done, leveraging the emotional appeal to be leveraged to invoke change. The story begins with children, filmed and describing where they thought puppies came from, with cuts to animations of their theories. My personal favourite was the child who thought puppies came from New York City and lived in a doggie condo. How cute! After a few hypotheses of where these children thought puppies come from, it cuts to the animation of a consumer looking online to purchase a puppy. I loved how they featured the customer journey in the ad by showing the consumer looking through online ads and buying a dog on the internet. It shows how easy it is to be tricked into buying from a puppy mill based on a simple ad online. The ad continues to provide information on the realities of puppy mills, as told by the children in a simple yet impacting way.
The timing of the ad was well-timed, for sure. The marketing team leveraged the already existing “national holiday” to boost their reach and presence. Pulling from my digital marketing course from school, this ad hits the 3 R’s. It was done in real-time to be lauched for #NationalDogDay. It’s definitely relevant as it pertains to how most dogs are obtained by their owners. And finally it resonates. The target market for this ad is dog owners and prospective owners, and it can be safely assumed that those people have a huge soft spot for dogs. That target audience will be paying extra attention on their social media for this adorably themed day. I’m curious to see where the HSUS placed their ads. Before YouTube videos? Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? Traditional media like TV placements? I can definitely see great success of the video on Facebook. I find that the website is a great platform to easily share videos by users tagging friends in the comments, using the share feature, and leveraging the trending topics on the sidebar of Facebook to see today’s news. On the other hand, I would not see this ad being successful on Instagram as the boom in pet-related Instagram accounts and posts are skyrocketing, this message can definitely get lost in the noise.
Their call-to-action was clear: sign the puppy petition. It’s a simple thing to do, but I’m not sure how many people would go on the website, read through the heaps of information, do more research, and take further action and adopt.
After watching it over a few times, I wish the marketers shot a before and after of the children learning the realities of puppy mills. It seems a bit harsh, but I find that the raw and real reactions invoke a stronger emotional appeal. But, perhaps that’s just me and my preference for the theatrics. The way the message was conveyed, I felt the children weren’t as genuine with their reaction to the realities of puppy mills. Of course, this is just me and my opinion after watching it a handful of times. The first time I viewed the ad, I was a sobbing mess. Interestingly, I did not have the inclination to sign the puppy petition. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely against puppy mills and any business of that sort of nature, but the idea of having to sign up with an email, provide personal information, and get spammed with emails was not appealing. (Also the campaign is focused on US residents, so I wouldn’t be able to sign it anyways!) But I was inclined to share the article and here I am, blogging about it! Perhaps the focus of this ad should be to spread the message. I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority of the US population did not know where their puppies came from or if the location they got their dog from was ethical. So, as a dog-lover, I hope that this message has a high reach, for the sake of the thousands of dogs whose lives should be better.
As a dog owner,
It breaks my heart that people out there still abuse, exploit, and mistreat dogs, cats, pets, and animals in general. I don’t know much about puppy mills, but I know the dogs there are miserable, scared, and confused. These dogs have to go through so much emotional trauma to unethically produce puppies to be sold for profit. But I do know that there are so many animals in shelters that are deserving of homes. I urge anyone thinking about getting a dog (or cat or pet) to really consider adoption. A release from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies states that 41% of 119,000 cats and 15% of 53,000 dogs were euthanized in Canadian shelters in 2012. That’s 48,790 cats and 7,950 dogs that were killed in Canada.
Now I understand the appeal of getting a puppy. Their cute faces and small, squishy bodies are hard to resist. Raising a puppy and training him/her to mould them into the perfect dog for you and your family is definitely a plus. Perhaps you want a specific breed of dog for whatever reason and it’s easier to find a breeder than wait for a dog of that breed to become available for adoption. In the end, I’m not here to tell anyone to not buy a puppy. Puppies are great and so cute, but I only ask you to research, look for adoptable puppies first, and then find a registered, reputable, and ethical breeder if you do want to buy a puppy. The website linked in the video provides SO much information, so I highly recommend a read-through if you are interested in getting a dog.
But what I am here to share is that dogs in shelters, rescues, and adoption groups are amazing options too. You’ll be able to find a dog of any age (puppies included, and older dogs have their perks!), size, breed, colour, personality… you name it! If you’re looking for a specific breed, there’s most likely a rescue group for that breed! Within Ontario, there are breed-specific adoption groups for Dobermans, Boxers, Dachshunds, and Boston Terriers, to name a few. Rescuing a dog (from my experience) is significantly cheaper than getting a puppy. A puppy alone is very expensive but when you add in all their shots and medical procedures, it adds up. Shelter/rescue dogs will most often have their shots up-to-date and be neutered/spayed. From my perspective, someone people may have a stigma against shelter dogs, thinking they’re aggressive or poorly behaved. But from my experience of visiting my local shelter (when I was dog-less) the dogs I’ve interacted with are totally sweet and loving. They may be barking/crying/howling in their kennel, but who wouldn’t be?! Take the time to visit a few shelters and walk a few dogs. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll fall in love with a shelter dog.
Whether you get a puppy or adopt a dog, both situations will have their challenges and benefits. Some of the benefits I’ve encountered from adopting Toby? He came potty trained, walks nicely on leash (from previous trainers on the race tracks), well-mannered (racing greyhound pups usually stay with their moms longer than most puppies from breeders so they learn their manners!), his personality is fully developed, he’s used to human handling, and many more. I’ll discuss his personality and our first few weeks together for another post. But as you can tell, I’m a huge advocate for pet owners to adopt their fur-ever friends. There are huge benefits of adoption and getting an older dog, so I recommend anyone to research and read into it more if getting a dog is in their horizons.
#NationalDogDay is a great reminder to give your dog an extra snuggle/treat/kiss. Reminder how lucky we are to have these amazing creatures in our lives. Reminder how lucky I am to finally own a dog. Reminder that marketers can leverage these “national holidays” to convey a message that’s real-time, relevant, and resonant. Reminder that there are dogs out there who aren’t so lucky.
Until the next post,
Tangerine & Toby