NESTLÉ PURINA Petcare is credited with strengthening the bonds between pet owners and the stores they shop by customizing cause marketing strategies.
“It's important to shoppers that they buy pet food from companies that actually care about their pets,” noted Mike Leone, director of category development for Nestlé Purina.
The Kroger Co.'s cause marketing plan came in the form of a multifaceted program called “Tales for the Pet Lover's Heart.” The months-long program that celebrates the unique bond that people share with their pets has been so well-received that it's now in its third year.
A dedicated website accessible year-round at www.talesforthepetloversheart.com invites visitors to share their personal pet stories and browse those authored by Kroger employees. Also tied to the campaign is $150,000 in donations to 18 animal welfare organizations and a TV special featuring the stories of six animal lovers and their four-legged companions. It's set to air next month.
The program is designed to enhance the loyalty of pet owners — a group that is notoriously fickle and known to switch brands frequently, according to Sarah Kerkian, insights supervisor at Cone, a Boston-based consultancy.
A major component of the campaign focuses on promoting Purina brands and its affiliation with the program through FSIs and digital coupons. Digital offers included $1.50 off Purina Beneful dry dog food, any size, and $1 off Purina Friskies brand wet cat food, any size. Another offer allowed shoppers to receive a $3 checkout coupon for use on a future visit when they bought $25 in Purina pet products; $4 when they spent $30; and $5 when they bought $35 worth.
“Kroger saw that as a way to bring the customer back to the store,” said Leone.
A Dunnhumby mailer was sent to the most loyal pet-owning households to make them aware of the campaign.
“It had a comprehensive overview of the Tales program including information about the animal welfare component and coupons,” Leone said.
To keep “Tales for the Pet Lover's Heart” fresh, new elements have been added.
One of them is a Facebook page managed by Nestlé Purina. It engages its 1,600 followers with questions like, “What's Your Pet's Dinner Routine Like?”
Twitter is on the docket for next year, as are promotions with retailers such as Price Chopper, Schenectady, N.Y.
“Nestle Purina has continuously presented ‘outside the box’ strategies that have helped us to better connect with our pet consumers,” said Price Chopper spokeswoman Mona Golub. “Some unique programs have been centered around social media, which in turn, has helped to drive traffic into our stores.”
MARS: Each year more than 4 million dogs are up for adoption at animal shelters, but only a fraction find homes. That drove Mars' to launch the Pedigree Adoption Drive — a fund-raising campaign to help dogs find loving homes — and ultimately, the establishment of the Pedigree Foundation as its beneficiary. The Pedigree Brand in North America has raised more than $5 million through high-profile pet adoption campaigns, and similar programs have begun to roll out in the U.K., Germany, France, Ireland, Belgium and Australia, with plans to continue the rollout in more countries.
BLUE DOG BAKERY: Blue Dog Bakery is raising awareness about its treats that are baked with 100% natural ingredients and no animal by-products, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives, by distributing samples at community events. This month the company will have a presence at Fido's Festival in Woodstown, N.J., Race for the Rescues in Pasadena, Calif., and the Four Seasons Belgian Shepherd Dog Club National Specialty, in Chelsea, Mich.