Pet Product Marketing Campaigns

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Pet Product Marketing Campaigns

Pedigree and Whiskas are two brands that have successfully run pet product marketing campaigns that increased brand awareness by marketing directly to consumers as opposed to using veterinarians as middlemen. In an attempt to build brand awareness and increase their consumer base, Pedigree delivered free product samples to pet owners who signed up with them through their social media promotion. Whiskas developed a YouTube series called “Kitten Kollege” that educates cat owners “in the cutest possible way”. The campaign was designed to make the brand a primary reference in cat care online, improve cost efficiency, and to increase online engagement.

Case Study #1: Try Pedigree Campaign


  • The Try Pedigree Campaign was designed to study the demand for pet food online and to increase brand awareness using an e-sampling platform. The online sampling campaign was developed by Mar Petcare in partnership with an e-commerce enabler, aCommerce, for its portfolio brand, Pedigree and was launched in May 2017, in the Philippines. This particular campaign was run across all the major social media channels like Facebook where pet owners were targeted according to their interests, age, lifestyle, and social media browsing behavior.
  • The post contained a campaign link that pet owners were invited to click on to share their pet’s name, breed, address, and email. By doing so, the pet owners were given the opportunity to have free pet food product samples delivered to them to their homes.
  • Apart from designing and developing the e-sampling platform, aCommerce was also responsible for the process of fulfillment and committed to delivering the sample products to the pet owners who signed up through the platform. Through this marketing campaign, Pedigree was able to test its selection of pet products at a large scale by obtaining valuable customer feedback in real time on social media channels. The company aimed at utilizing the feedback to optimize its products and increase sales.
  • The online sampling campaign enabled Pedigree to obtain direct access to customer data through the process of registration for free samples. In this process, brands usually analyze the information to retarget customer with other products. It also offers brands with insights into their customers’ buying habits, feeding habits, product preferences, and consumer demographics.
  • The Try Pedigree campaign was used as a means to influence pet owners in the Philippines and Thailand to change their pet food from homemade or leftovers to Pedigree products. (1)
  • The campaign was delivered in two phases. In Phase I of the campaign, cost-effective strategies were developed to expand Pedigree’s consumer base by building brand awareness through Facebook ads. Some major social media influencers and numerous pet owners in the Philippines provided their positive feedback and thanked the brand for their free samples.
  • With the success of Phase I, the campaign was then launched in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in the second phase. In this phase, aCommerce set up e-sampling websites that included an integration with the company’s platform, social media login, OTP verification, and more.
  • According to Pedigree’s marketing manager of Southeast Asia, Khachitporn Kruajaruskul, the data obtained from the campaign would help the brand develop better strategies to improve customer experience by making their e-commerce more personalized.
  • The Metro Manila campaign from Pedigree Philippines was reposted by many pet owners in 2017.

Campaign Outcomes

  • In over a month of the launch of Try Pedigree campaign in Philippines and Thailand, over 100,000 pet owners received free puppy and adult pet food samples with information on their pet’s well-balanced diet and discount coupons for their next purchase.
  • In Phase I of the launch, 60,000 free pet food samples were delivered to pet owners in the Philippines alone in a span of just two weeks. The campaign had a viral effect and deliveries were made by aCommerce within 2-5 days of registrations by pet owners.
  • According to aCommerce’s sampling information, over 20% of Philippines’ dog owners and 25% of them in Thailand give their pet dogs dry food as their primary meal.

Use of Veterinarians to market their products

  • Pedigree is one of Mars’ main portfolio brand and has been using veterinarians to market their products for a long time. While no veterinarians were used in the recent Try Pedigree online campaign, Mars has partnered with various vets and animal hospitals to boost their brand awareness since 1986. One of the main acquisitions made by Mars was its integration with the Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) in 2017.
  • Under the VCA, there are 800 animal hospitals and over 60 diagnostic labs in Canada and the United States. After the online sampling campaign run by Pedigree, Mars continues to use veterinarians to market their products, mainly through acquisitions of animal clinics and hospitals. It was found that Mars employs 9% of all veterinarians in the United States.

Case Study #2: Whiskas’ Kitten Kollege Campaign


  • Whiskas is one of the largest kitten food brands in the world. The brand launched a YouTube series called “Kitten Kollege” in an attempt to increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. The campaign was designed in partnership with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Google Zoo, Google’s Creative Agency Team, and Mediacom to reach cat owners with relevant content online in a creative manner.
  • The company’s marketing team researched on the most commonly searched subjects around kitten care from pet owners and found that over 30 million cat/kitten references were made each month. The team then created a video series on kitten education with “charming kitten chaos”. The campaign was launched by Whiskas UK in 2015 and was then re-launched by Whiskas Canada in 2017.
  • The video series uploaded on YouTube provided cat owners with educational content where tutors answered common questions about various kitten issues. The aim of the campaign’s design was to “not only reach their brains, but reach their hearts”.
  • The first three videos of Kitten Kollege was based on “hero” framework content that reached a broad audience in the most cost-effective manner possible. The rest of the videos were marketed as “hub” content on YouTube and TrueView. “Help” content was designed to provide educational assistance to aid pet owners when they look for kitten care search terms on YouTube and on Google.
  • Whiskas ensured that its campaign was based on a “test and learn” strategy where Google’s analytics team worked to optimize the videos according to the results obtained from audience testing.
  • The company laid significant importance on optimization to grade the performance of the campaign. The marketing team tested various levels of product branding within the episodes when remarketing to consumers who had seen content on Kitten Kollege.

Campaign Outcomes

  • The Kitten Kollege campaign along with the marketing team’s innovative “test and learn” approach for optimization exceeded the brand’s expectations across various performance aspects. The video episodes on YouTube garnered over 39 million views in total and generated over 47% ad recall lift.
  • With the success experienced by Kitten Kollege campaign in the United Kingdom, the brand then rolled out the video series on a global scale. Whiskas is working on a follow-up campaign ‘Kitten Kollege 2.0’ that will contain all new kitten-related episodes on YouTube.

Use of Veterinarians to market their products

  • It has been found that Mars is the parent company of the brand, Whiskas. While Kitten Kollege has not used veterinarians for its promotion, the company has numerous partnerships and has acquired various animal hospitals.
  • Mars has utilized vets to market its pet products for years and has made collaborative marketing effects with veterinarian networks such as Banfield, Blue Pearl, and Pet Partners.
  • Mars continues to use veterinarians to market its brands’ pet products even after the launch Kitten Kollege campaign.

Research Strategy:

Your research team leveraged a compilation of digital marketing of pet product marketing campaigns to provide two case studies of pet product marketing campaigns that increased brand awareness by marketing directly to consumers/pet owners as opposed to using veterinarians. Your team searched through digital marketing websites such as Pet Food Industry and aCommerce; business analysis websites such as Grand View Research and Digital Training Academy; and media websites such as PRNewswire to obtain information on various pet product marketing campaigns launched over the past two years. A thorough search through these channels provided two successful marketing campaigns run by PEDIGREE and WHISKAS, that were marketed directly to pet owners. These campaigns did not use veterinarians as middlemen to market the pet food products.

It was found that while these campaigns were run without the help of veterinarians, the parent company of brands Pedigree and Whiskas, Mars, has been using veterinarians to market its various products over the years. The company continues to do so even after the launch of the two campaigns.


  • "The campaign was marketed across social channels such as Facebook, where audiences are targeted based on the parameters like lifestyle, age, interest and online social browsing behavior. The pet owners simply had to click on the campaign link, share their pet type, name, breed, email and address to receive a free sample delivered to their homes."
  • "In just over a one month, 100,000 users registered online to receive the PEDIGREE® free samples across Philippines and Thailand. Its product samples include puppy and adult food, a discount coupon to be used for the next purchase, and an information booklet regarding a dog’s well-balanced diet. Phase 1 ‘Try PEDIGREE®’ campaign launched earlier in May 2017 saw 60,000 user registrations in Metro Manila within just 2 weeks."
  • "With 75 years of experience, their portfolio of almost 50 brands serves the health and nutrition needs of the world’s pets – including brands PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, NUTRO™, GREENIES™, SHEBA®, CESAR®, IAMS™ and EUKANUBA™ as well as The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition which has advanced research in the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years."
  • "Top player Mars is integrating animal hospitals into her business Established in 1986, VCA Animal Hospitals is a trade name of veterinary company VCA, Inc. ( Veterinary Centers of America), has around eight hundred animal hospitals and sixty diagnostic laboratories in the United States and Canada. In 2017 Mars acquired VCA. Mars already owns Banfield Pet Hospitals"
  • "Last week, Mars, the company best known for brands like Snickers, Skittles, and Wrigley’s gum, purchased AniCura, a network of 200 animal hospitals spanning seven European countries."
  • "The result was Kitten Kollege, a YouTube series that juxtaposes the earnestness of promotional university films with charming kitten chaos. The videos educate viewers in the cutest possible way, with a charming class of kittens and their tutors who answer commonly asked questions about the moments that matter in the first year. “We wanted to not only reach their brains, but reach their hearts,” said Cecile Angrand, global brand director at Whiskas."