Facebook Pages for Dogs

Dogs in Social Media Infographic

While strictly speaking this post is more about dogs in social media than marketing per se, I just couldn’t resist a post about an article on Mashable which reported on a Lab 42 study and infographic about the number of dogs on Facebook.  It seems that about 14% of the people in the Lab 42 study had created Facebook pages for their dogs,  consistent with a UK study also reported on Mashable, which found that 10% of all UK pets have some sort of social media profile, including not only Facebook, but also Twitter and YouTube.  No mention of dogs on Linkedin, I’ve seen a number of dog-business interest groups, but no canines yet.

When I first saw these articles, I wondered how this squared with Facebook’s Terms of Use, which I thought limited profiles to real people, who are also permitted create pages and groups for other entities.  When I read the fine print, it just prohibits people from creating profiles without permission from  the person being profiled; given the large number of dogs on Facebook, I assume they fall within the rules.

Checking a couple of the dogs I’m associated with on Facebook , Rufus has a personal profile, while Satchel has a page.  I’m also friends with a few profiles that represent Bull Terrier kennels, an entity that I think is more human than canine, but perhaps a gray area. The most popular Facebook dog with over 1 million fans for his page,  is  Boo the Pomeranian.

NOTE: I recently noticed a thread on the Facebook group “AKC Judges Report Card” discussing whether judges should friend dogs, specifically dogs that might be shown under them, on Facebook.  The thought that the dogs might want to be careful who their friends are never crossed my mind when I created this post!

Halo sponsors iPhone app for Freekibble.com

Free Kibble Logo
Free Kibble Logo

Petfood Industry reported that Halo pets has signed on as a sponsor for Freekibble.com’s  iPhone app, Kibble Katch.  Freekibble donates 10 pieces of kibble for each click on a trivia game on their site.  The food is donated by corporate  sponsors which manufacture premium natural  petfoods, including Castor & Pollux and Canidae on the Freekibble website;  Halo donates food for games played on the iPhone app.  Freekibble is the brainchild of Mimi Ausland, a 12 year old girl from Bend, Oregon and offers sections that spawn both dog and cat food donations.  The synergy here combines many elements bubbling up in marketing and social movements today: youth involvement in social causes, casual gaming, mobile advertising applications, and the growing popularity of the natural petfood category.

Purina Petcentric Portal

PetCentric Logo
PetCentric Logo

I recently got my first email from Petcentric with a link to their site, which launched in 2006.  In a 2008 article in Promo Magazine the site is described as a social network, however most of the content is provided by the site’s owner, Purina and select partners, such as Yahoo! Answers (pet section.) There is content galore, including news about pets, pet blogs, pet games,  reviews, a pet service locator and pet photos and videos, which include user-generated content.  The site also has its own Twitter account @petcentric There is very little overt promotion of Purina products, although Purina sponsored events are a rich source of content for the site.  Just further evidence of Purina’s commitment to digital media with this engaging site that supports pet owners interests and in turn the Purina corporate brand identity.

Alpo Dog Food: Real Dogs Eat Meat Contest

Purina continues to leverage user generated content in its pet food marketing, this time for its venerable Alpo brand dog food.  MediaPost describes the contest where dog owners are encouraged to enter the contest with photos and stories of their dogs being Real Dogs.  I think they’re trying to promote  a bit of backlash to the pet humanization trend, as the microsite pokes fun at dogs who attend dog-spas and shows.   One thing I found interesting is that other than offering a coupon for entering the contest, there is really nothing about Alpo dog food on the microsite. As a matter of fact, there’s no information about what’s IN the food on the main Alpo site, other than the label names, which the savvy pet food label reader can see indicate that only 3% of the can’s ingredients are the named meat.  The Flash based Alpo site also features two additional promotions, an online match and save game and one featuring grill chef Kent Whitaker.

Dogtime Media’s Save-a-Dog Facebook app

MediaPost reports that Dogtime Media has just launched the Save A Dog Facebook application with the support of Frontline as its exclusive advertiser through September. The application allows users to check out adoptable dogs by breed and location, and then virtually foster, walk, and send dogs to their friends. Points are earned for downloading the app and all virtual interactions with the rescue dogs.

For every 2500 points earned, DogTime will donate the equivalent of one cup of food to rescuegroups.org, a technology provider which creates online solutions for rescue groups and will use the funds to lower the costs of their services to those groups.  This is the first time I’ve seen an organization looking for volunteers to provide technical services rather than the traditional food, toys and pet supplies for rescue.

A comprehensive campaign is planned utilizing DogTime’s network of advertisers, bloggers, and newsletter subscribers as well as its Twitter stream. Partners Frontline and rescuegroups.org will also participate in campaign extensions.

A personal criticism of the application’s functionality: The breed selection tool could be better, as my search for Bull Terriers near my zip code yielded hundreds of pit bulls, but I saw no actual “English” type Bull Terriers such as I own. Which reflects the balance of those breeds in rescue, I’m sure, – I just wish the listing “Bull Terrier” was better targeted to match the dogs.  This problem may be limited to breeds with similar names, but it reduces the attractiveness of the app for people who can’t find dogs like the ones they own to send to people who also own those dogs (who happen to make up the majority of my Facebook friends.)

MRM creates Unforgettable Tail for Chef Michael’s

MediaPost reports that Purina is launching an interactive screen saver application called the Unforgettable Tail to promote its Chef Michael’s brand of dog food. The food is described as both mass market and upscale, which I interpret as available in mass retailers at a high price point.  I did see Chef Michael’s in online and big box pet store e-store listings earlier this year when the agency selection was announced, prior to the brand showing up on Purina’s own site.   I also see it’s  now available at Wegmans grocery stores for $.79 for a 3 oz container.

The article says the application will be available by “month’s end” on the www.chef-michaels.com website; since it’s only the 24th of June as I write this entry, I could find no trace of it online other than a note on the Chef Michael’s site that something cool was coming “in May.”  Chef Michaels has purchased a sponsored link on Google for its name but I couldn’t get the link to work today (the site does exist.)   The application will evidently allow dog owners to link their online photos, such as anything uploaded via TwitPic, to  a personalized dynamic screen saver that, of course, promotes Chef Michael’s products. I’m very curious to see this when it’s up and running; I’ll check back on this story in July!

Nanny 911 for Dogs

Jetta Rose and friend Mimi
Jetta Rose and friend Mimi

A friend of mine who pet sits forwarded a copy of a dog tips newsletter from Nanny 911 for dogs,  which is distributed to over 2800 subscribers weekly. The author is Victoria Rose, a positively oriented dog trainer who currently lives in the Portland, OR area with her Doberman Pinscher, Jetta.

The  Nanny 911 e-newsletter includes dog care and training tips drawn from Victoria’s vast experience, often using personal anecdotes to make her point.  As a former journalist, Victoria still has the writing urge despite her transition to a dog training career and and leverages this passion to educate dog owners far beyond her own circle of clients.  Her motivation is to help people and their dogs live more fulfilling lives.  Although she occasionally  mentions products by name in the newsletter the publication does not accept advertising.

Victoria finds that occasionally subscribers will reach out to become clients, either in-person or for telephone consultation if they live farther away, but the newsletter is not her primary marketing tool.   She finds that Craigslist is actually the most effective means of marketing her business.  In a bit of a twist,  she has been successful getting people who posted dogs for sale on Craigslist to change their mind by  training the person and the dog to better understand and fulfill each others’ needs.

AOL PawNation

MediaPost reports that AOL has just launched a pet portal named PawNation.com.  This news comes just shortly after Yahoo! closed its Pets section, integrating that content into its Shine lifestyle section.  Purina, noted as the launch sponsor seems to be the only display advertiser at present, although text ads also appear in some sections. The photo gallery section offers pet owners opportunities to upload their photos for integration into the site.

Facebook Fun with Purina

MediaPost reports that Purina and Oddcast have developed an application called Beggin Time which allows people to place themselves and a pet in a dance video which can in turn be emailed or “go viral” as we marketing folks like to say. The article refers to it as a Facebook app, but I could only request to be its friend from the Facebook side, I found it on the Beggin Strips website.  You pick your own human and pet face and then they dance to the Beggin Time “Can’t Top This” song sung to the tune  of  “You Can’t Touch This.”  It is indeed fun and I couldn’t resist sending it via the Facebook and email options  to several friends.

Northfield Dog Training – Betsy’s Photography

Adele Yunck, owner of Northfield Dog Training, is having some professional photography taken of her facility for use on the NDT website. Betsy Finn of Betsy’s Photography is doing this work and was laying on the floor taking photos of Adele’s Open and Utility Proofing class doing their long downs when Anna and I arrived for the Novice Proofing class last Wednesday evening.  Some of the photos are now up on Betsy’s site as she blogs about the experience. Betsy is also on Twitter. It’s amazing how good she can make a pole barn (nice training facility that it is) look from the outside!