Pets at Home is the UK’s largest pet retailer, with more than 370 stores and 6,000 colleagues. But they are more than just a shop selling products in a faceless, cold, retail environment – they offer a range of services, delivered with friendly expertise. Business investment in these facilities meant that Pets at Home could truly be there at every point in a pet’s life, from the owner preparing their home for the arrival of a new pet, through all life’s stages, from grooming, to supplies, or a helpful vet when they’re feeling a little bit under the weather!UK
They challenged Carat Manchester to communicate this message – so we embarked on a project to reverse declining brand awareness, embed their brand proposition and deliver the key brand metric, ‘Make me love Pets at Home’.
Working in collaboration with their agency partners we devised an integrated campaign which brought this ambition to life, and put their consumer (pets and owners) front and centre.
Integrating social, TV and sponsorship we capitalised on the convergence of media and consumer content by stimulating the nation to share their favourite pet moments. This amazing material was then used to build an emotionally charged commercial which harnessed the audio-visual power of TV, to bring the campaign into the homes and hearts of the nation.
Creating a Twitter trend and stimulating demand for the music track which was launched as a charity single, were two of the great achievements that really demonstrated the results which can be accomplished through seamless media integration.
In 2013 Pets at Home challenged us to deliver the following business objective: to “become the UK’s most loved pet brand by 2017”.
The aim was to communicate to owners the full range of the Pets at Home offering and an understanding that Pets at Home was the place to go to for all of their pet needs.
However, the main sticking point was that many people either didn’t know or had forgotten this, because Pets at Home hadn’t spoken to them through a mass communication channel for over 18 months.
Millward Brown research conducted in August 2013 revealed that in this period, Pets at Home’s brand health had declined. Spontaneous Awareness had fallen back to pre-advertising levels (43%), and in consumer’s eyes the brand appeared to be everything that it wasn’t: an impersonal, pet supermarket.
We had to produce a coherent and integrated multi-medium communications strategy to re-address perceptions and emotionally re-connect people with the brand.
Our primary objective was to deliver the key brand metric: ‘Make me love Pets at Home’.
Although there wasn’t a specific sales target set we wanted to exceed last year’s results: knowing that sales could not be sacrificed in the short-term for a stronger brand in the long-term.
Insight & Innovation
Given that it had been such a long time since Pets at Home had undertaken any substantive advertising and that the campaign was of such a visual nature, television was the obvious lead medium – it could deliver the warmth, humour and personality of the campaign.
Recognising that TV and Social Media are the perfect bed-fellows, we used the hashtag #mypetmoments to stimulate the nation into sharing their favourite experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All of this amazing material formed the backbone of the TV commercial – because these pets would be the stars of the advertising, beamed into living rooms across the length and breadth of the UK.
We harnessed the sheer scale and emotive power of TV further, through the sponsorship of ITV1’s ‘For the Love of Dogs’. This show offered mass appeal with a very loyal, pet-loving audience - which made it the perfect choice for the brand. We extended the agreement with a talent and licensing partnership with Paul O’Grady who attended company events and created online videos which showcased the extent of the Pets at Home offering. Furthermore, he featured on marketing collateral to reinforce the partnership in-store.
All of the moments shared were collated into an onsite gallery, and to demonstrate our appreciation for the effort people made we created an interactive mosaic containing all of the entries.
The campaign has continued to grow and has flexed to support products and services - flowing smoothly through to the website, in-store and supplier funded activity, building engaging, consistent connection at every touch point.
“After a significant absence from television screens for Pets at Home branded activity and in light of our 2014 Stock Market flotation, it was vitally important that our television activity was not only impactful, but was amplified in every corner of the world within which we operate. Creating a beautiful ad and then hitting ratings and cover targets was not enough. We deliberately employed user-generated material in the creative execution and then supplemented this with extensive digital support. One dimension which took off beyond all our wildest hopes was Social Media, where we found an amazing appetite among pet owners to continue the dialogue and share their content. All our agencies – those buying offline and online media, in PR and point of sale – were fully involved in the campaign planning and all made a remarkable, joined-up contribution to the campaign’s success”.Scott Jefferson Marketing Director, Pets at Home