Pet Marketing – Innovative or Absurd?

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Beneful dog food, a Nestle Purina company, has pushed the envelope and taken TV advertising to new heights with its recently launched commercial that communicates directly with canines.

The 24-second spot produces two high frequency sounds virtually imperceptible to human ear, but clearly audible to a dog’s.

The idea is to send favorable signals to pets that would attract them to the commercial and in turn, influence their owners to purchase the food, as their pet demonstrates a keen interest in the brand.

While the innovation factor is clear and may encourage initial purchase and one-time trial, it’s ultimately a dog’s taste buds, not ears, that are in charge of purchase decisions.

Beneful’s new commercial is an interesting tactic to drive trial, but if it’s brand loyalty they are looking for, they better start communicating to pups.  Dogs’ taste buds and palate are actually formed at a very early age, so taste and flavors they are akin to from the time they are puppies define their taste buds later in life.  So while the commercial may bring your dog to the TV, and even convince you to purchase, it’s that first bite that determines if you’ll be a repeat purchaser.

The pet industry is big business and Beneful is looking to position themselves as a key innovator and for that we applaud them.  Whether or not it works, we’ll wait and see.

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