- Pet products retailer Petco launched "Cleaning House," a new marketing campaign that highlights the company’s commitment to selling only cat and dog foods that are free of artificial ingredients by May 2019, according to a news release shared with Marketing Dive. The retailer says the campaign is its largest to date.
- The national campaign includes TV, online video, display, paid social, paid search, digital content and influencer components, and will run through January 2020. It marks the first major project with Petco's creative agency of record Anomaly, which joined the company's agency roster in December. Horizon Media, the retailer's media agency of record, handled the media strategy.
- "Cleaning House" includes a 60-second video on YouTube that features dogs and cats clearing Petco's shelves of products that don't meet the new standards and calls for pet parents to reconsider what they feed their pets. The retailer's site shows some of the brands that will be leaving its shelves, including Purina's Whisker Lickin's and Friskies, Pedigree, Pup Peroni and more.
Petco claims it is the first major pet food retailer to make a commitment to selling only pet food without artificial ingredients. With "Cleaning House," Petco is using a large-scale marketing push behind that commitment to build an emotional connection with pet owners. The news comes as brick-and-mortar retailers in the pet food category face growing competition from online retailers and owners opt for newer healthier brands. By launching the campaign across digital and social channels, Petco seems set on targeting millennials, who make up the largest pet ownership segment, and spend more on their four-legged family members that other cohorts. Millennials are also known for being more health-conscious and shunning processed foods with artificial ingredients and are seeking out similar products for their pets.
Emotional appeals are a tactic that Petco has embraced in past campaigns. Its "Saving Up" holiday campaign was ranked as one of the best storytelling ads for 2018 and had a strong impact across a number of emotions, including narrative, heartfelt, funny and "left field," according to Ace Metrix.
Marketers see big opportunities in targeting pet owners, which accounted for the largest year-over-year revenue growth based on advanced demographic segments at 89%, according to a Lotame report. As multiple parent segments declined, those targeting animal lovers grew by 451%.
Pet food makes up more than 40% of the $72.1 billion pet product industry, according to the American Pet Products Association data cited by Forbes. Pet owners, especially millennials, are opting for new, healthier pet food brands over legacy brands, like Nestle-owned Purina and Mars-owned Pedigree. Petco likely hopes to become the go-to retailer for pet parents seeking out health-focused brands, and "Cleaning House" could help the brand boost awareness and drive sales.