Research on Senior Pets and Overweight Pets

Packaged Facts announced the publication of a new report analyzing the need for products targeted at senior pets, overweight pets and special needs pets in the US.  The report notes that according to American Veterinary Medical Association and Association for Pet  Obesity Prevention research, the proportion of American pets in these groups is higher than the market shares for products targeted at them. This indicates an opportunity for product manufacturers and retailers who can convince these pets’ owners to purchase products addressing their specific conditions.

According to the most recent research by the AVMA and APOP, over 40% of pets are either over the age of 6 or overweight, their studies did not indicate what proportion of pets fall into both categories.   In a related story, Petfood Industry magazine reported on a study which found that Beagles who were allowed to overeat a diet that included human snacks re-gained weight at much lower caloric intake levels than those required to gain weight in the first phase of the study.

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Nutro dog food plans Meetups

Nutro dog food logo
Nutro dog food logo

Petfood Industry reports that Nutro has partnered with to sponsor 60 Meetup groups. The sponsored groups include a variety of  existing dog Meetup groups across across North America, including specific breed groups, rescue groups and the Denver Yappy Hour all-dogs social group.  Nutro is hosting a kick-off Meetup on September 16, in New York City which features an appearance by celebrity veterinarian Dr Marty Becker. It’s not clear how the groups were selected for this promotion, although I do see that groups can signify that they are seeking sponsors and Meetup will facilitate the process for sponsors wishing to sponsor 50 or more Meetup groups.  On the promotional webpage for its Meetups, Nutro also mentions its Facebook fan page however, I see no mention of the Meetup there.

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Taco Bell Spokesdog passes

RetailWire alerted me to an LA Times article reporting on the death of Gidget, the Chihuahua best known for her role in the  Taco Bell “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” campaign which ran from 1997-2000.  Gidget was 15, and suffered a massive stroke at home.

This Taco Bell campaign became a cultural icon, despite  criticism both for perpetuating Latino  stereotypes and promoting impulse purchases of Chihuahuas.

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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, 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 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.)

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Dog Product Placement: Master Dog food

Ad Age shared a report from Martin Lindstrom regarding a clever dog food product placement in Venezuela.  Master Dog food was a sponsor of the reality show La Granja Vip –  a version of an international reality format known as The Farm. They wanted to integrate their brand with the show and decided to have a dog representing the brand’s signature breed, the Golden Retriever, appear as a contestant on the show.  The dog, named Master, became an extremely popular character on the show and in turn a highly sucessful promotion for the company. Martin says Master worked so well as a product placement by meeting all three goals for product placement:

1. Make sure the product is relevant and necessary to the plot

2. Make the brand the hero

3. Ensure the product image remains the same across all  touch  points

The dog, which appears on on the brand’s site and many of its product labels as well as in the show, satisfied the goals on all counts.

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Dog Breed Owner Reviews

I’ve been thinking about launching a website as my own educational playground and have finally landed on a topic – reviewing tough dog toys – and purchased a domain name.  So I’ve been tooling around the web looking at review sites looking for design ideas.  Couldn’t find any dog toy sites that really stuck my fancy so I decided to check out baby toy sites and ended up on a general review site called Viewpoints.  Baby pages featured a classic review/ecommerce site design, then I noticed they had a pet section, so I clicked to look at that (exact same layout, naturally.)  But here I found something interesting – dog owner reviews of  their dog breeds.  The sidebar promised there were 232 reviews, but clicking on it revealed these were spread across just 38 breeds.  What I found interesting was that on a 5 point scale, the lowest score was a  4.0 – for the  “Shitz Tsu” (people who correctly spelled the breed name, Shih Tzu scored it at 4.64) and most were around 4.8.  I guess no one wants to spread a cautionary tale – or kept a dog they’d rate lower than a 4.0.  Actually I noted some of the lower ratings were by people who didn’t own the breed, but knew someone who had one they didn’t like.  The most reviewed dog was the  American “Pitt” Bull Terrier with 37 reviews, for the most part glowing reviews with quite a few pit rescuers represented.

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