People go nuts for babies and puppies (kittens are pretty good, too). So, when you use a sad puppy face in your advertising, it gets people to look, thus supporting your marketing strategy. They question why the puppy (kitten, baby) looks so sad. Using a puppy (kitten, baby) playing with a cute toy also works well for attracting the attention of casual observers.
Face it; no one watches TV or reads a magazine for the advertising — well except for those bride’s magazines, which are about 90% advertising, but don’t get me started on the whole bride insanity (Bridezilla accurately describes how I feel about this topic). So, when you add a cute picture, people at least see your advertisement, and, if you done it right, your brand name is right there next to the cute puppy so people can’t look at the puppy without also seeing your brand name. That’s what makes this a great marketing strategy.
Researchers describe this phenomenon as selective attention, which Iris Beneli of CalState, Northridge defines as
a tendency [of individuals] to orient themselves toward, or process information from only one part of the environment with the exclusion of other parts
Individuals are constantly bombarded by sensory input — and this appears to be getting worse as a startling number of people are multi-tasking when they seek entertainment. Watching TV while working on your computer makes it harder for companies to get you to notice their advertising, thus disrupting their marketing strategies. So, they put a cute puppy in the advertising to stimulate arousal and get you to selectively attend to their message.
Social media is becoming so cluttered, its especially hard to get your message to stand out from everyone else.
See, it already worked for me — you saw Hausman Market Research Letter right next to the picture of the saddest puppy face I could find.
So, what’s my message — simply that Pedigree is donating a 20 pound bag of dog food to animal shelters for every blogger who mentions their animal adoption program in their blog. So, if you have a blog, please join me in incorporating their message into your post so we can raise money to help animals.
See – I’ve even used some sad kittens to ensure you saw my message.
Seriously, the Pedigree adoption program is a wonderful tool to encourage folks to adopt homeless dogs who otherwise might be euthanized. The Humane Society estimates 3-4 MILLION dogs and cats are euthanized every year in the US. The Pedigree adoption program links to adoption sites, search engines for specific breeds of dogs, information about adoption, breeds, and matching breeds to family lifestyles. I have 5 adopted animals myself — 2 dogs and 3 cats. And their lives have been enriched (as has mine). I encourage anyone who has every thought about adopting an animal to do it — you’ll never regret the decision.
Also, I want to encourage those who have animals — either adopted or purchased — to have your animal spayed or neutered to stop the spread of animals who ultimately end up on shelters.
So, why is Pedigree encouraging pet adoption and making donations to animal shelters? Frankly its good marketing strategy. The company gets publicity from the media – in this case they are attracting both traditional media and social media by using bloggers to spread the message in their social networks. The company sells more dog food, since adopted animals eat more dog food than animals euthanized. Most importantly, it supports a positive brand image for the product by being socially responsible. Since the economic crisis, there is evidence consumers are even more disposed to buy products from companies they see as socially responsible.
Here’s what you can do:
- Blog about Pedigree’s adoption program
- If possible, adopt an animal
- Have your animal spayed or neutered
- Support companies who demonstrate social responsibility
- Use social responsibility as a tool to support your marketing strategy, but mostly because its the RIGHT thing to do.