Anyone who knows me knows that I have a dog. She was the best impulse purchase ever, she is the cutest thing in the world and I could write this whole blog about her awesomeness.

As you may have assumed by now, she is also fairly spoilt. I’m not saying she only eats home cooked rib eye steak and gets carried around in a Prada bag (1. she wouldn’t fit and 2. I am a poor uni student and cannot afford Prada for me let alone her!) but she loves toys and I try and get her new things I think she might like when I can (read: all the time).

Australia has some of the highest pet ownership rates in the world with 60% of households owning at least one pet. As pets are more commonly becoming another family member, people are spending more and more money on them with boutique accessories, more premium food and supplements and gourmet/organic/paleo/vegan/gluten-free treats. Seriously. According to IBISWorld, the Australian Pet and Pet Supplies Industry is worth $4 BILLION in 2016 and continuing to grow every year!! That is a lot of dough!!

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Now when I Bonnie arrived off the plane from Brisbane I knew she would take over my social media. I mean, how could she not?  Alas, not wanting to be THAAATTT person, I made her her own Instagram and thus became that OTHER person.

Little did I know back then but Instagram can be big business for some people, and even some pets. Some of these dogs have more followers than any of us can ever dream of and they are making a KILLING for it! Which, when you think about it makes sense seeing as social networking makes up over a quarter of all internet time. There is a whole world of potential marketing targets out there and more and more businesses are jumping on the bandwagon.

Many businesses (mostly pet-product related but also expanding into unrelated products depending on account popularity) utilise the large pet-loving communities on these Social Networking Services (namely Instagram in this case but also on many other platforms like Facebook and Pinterest) to target consumers directly via a Manufacturer Business Model with special focus on producing Brand Integrated Content (product placement) in conjunction with these #instafamous pets and their huge social media reach.

There are now specialised AGENCIES (and…) that focus on managing pet influencers and hooking them up with big brands for sponsorship deals. The Dog Agency manages some of the most famous pet accounts (such as The Dogist – who has 2.1 million followers and have also released their own Humans of New York style book) and has worked with brands like Google, Dyson, Ritz-Carlton and Nikon to name a few.

We all know (guessed) that insta-famous people get paid big bucks to hawk certain products but some of these insta-famous pooches with between 150,000 and 250,000 followers can make more than $3,000 (USD) PER POST!!! 

 

Here are 6 of the most famous Instagram dogs you may (probably will) recognise:

Menswear Dog

Followers as of writing: 277 thousand

Website: mensweardog.com

Schtick: this dog is the most handsome model ever and has since scored big ad campaigns for the likes of Coach, Victorinox Swiss Army, Ted Baker, American Apparel, Brooks Brothers, ASOS, Hudson Shoes, Revlon, Todd Snyder and Purina (just to name a few)

Model/ Muse/ Magic ✨ #getmygoodside #bornforthis

A post shared by Menswear Dog (@mensweardog) on

 

Momo

Followers as of writing: 577 thousand

Website: andrewknapp.com

Schtick: a beautiful border collie with beautiful photos and her own ‘Find Momo’ book

 

Tuna

Followers as of writing: 1.8 million

Website: www.tunameltsmyheart.com

Schtick: just a super weird looking dog that got turned into a meme

 

 

Doug the Pug

Followers as of writing: 1.9 million

Website: dougthepugstore.com

Schtick: ‘The King of Pop Culture’; costumes, hilarious captions and celebrity selfies – need I say more?

"Sorry @johnlegend but @chrissyteigen is my bae now" -Doug

A post shared by Doug The Pug (@itsdougthepug) on

 

Marnie

Followers as of writing: 2 million

Website: marniethedog.com

Schtick: another funny looking and adorable dog adopted from a shelter

Wow what a gr8 xmas gift tank u _______ Marniethedog.com/shop (link in bio)

A post shared by Marnie The Dog (@marniethedog) on

 

 

Marutaro

Followers as of writing: 2.5 million

Website: http://ameblo.jp/shibainumaru-blog

Schtick: This one I’m not too sure about. I think it just sits like a cat and is pretty cute in general?

 

Of course these dogs (and others like them) are in a league of their own. Menswear Dog listed above makes his owners about $15,000 a month from photo contracts, guest appearances and brand integrated content/sponsored social media posts. These cuties make so much money and it takes so much time keeping up their brand image that it becomes a literal full time job for most owners. And obviously the pet and the account becomes a brand in its own right. Worth it…?

Let me know what you think in the comments! An amazing and interesting new way to promote your brand or marketing gone too far?

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9 thoughts on “#Petstagram

  1. Hi Kiri, really interesting post. Had no idea how much of a lucrative market dog instagrams were. Thought pet owners were doing it out of love more than anything. Undoubtedly, an innovative ay to promote your brand, and one that could resonate a lot to the consumer who have an infatuation with their pets. Now with 60% of homeowners owning a pet in Australia, and 4 billion dollars spent annually in the pet market – perhaps it isn’t such a bad idea for companies to start incorporating pets into their marketing approaches. Therefore I am able to see the merit in companies to do so. Even though $3000 per post is a lot of money, company’s spend far greater amounts of money on marketing. And as this $3000 has the potential to resonate with 15 million other people in Australia – there seems there would be great value in making the investment. Thanks for the interesting read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hamish!
      I can be the first to admit I definitely have been suckered into a product after seeing it on a pet instagram! :S
      You are right though, $3000 seems like a lot of money but for some big companies it is just loose change. Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  2. Hi Kiri,

    First of all, aren’t dogs just the best?

    When you think about it, it’s amazing how social media and marketing has evolved over the years. We started off with using social media as a source and platform to connect with others. Now a days, social media is a widely and heavily used tool for marketing and advertising.

    On top of that, who would have thought that we would evolve from human models to using dogs/animals as models? It’s amazing, yet at the same time crazy thinking about it.

    I have previously been exposed and seen ‘Marnie The Dog’, however, what really surprised me was your first example of ‘Menswear Dog’. I had never come across this Instagram account before, but to think that this dog is able to score big advertising campaigns with branded names including Coach, Ted Baker, American Apparel and ASOS, has just gotten me star struck. To think, a dog is able to model for such big brands, is just wow.

    At the same time, I do feel abit sad and disappointed that this world has come to the fact that we’re using dogs as models? In a way, it seems abit cruel that we’re dressing up dogs, and making them pose for hours to do these photoshoots. Who knows if they’ve been mistreated and intensely trained to be this way. Dogs shouldn’t be tied down. They should be able to run around freely, play around in the dirt, and be comfortable.

    In a way, I do understand why we have turned towards using dogs as models. It’s because individuals thoughts, likes and behaviours have changed. Even though at times I don’t like to see these dogs being forced into partaking such actions, where their owner is ultimately using them as a source of income, it is a smart and effective way to promote brands.

    I would say that I do feel it is a bit extreme however, I do understand that marketers have only chosen this pathway is because it’s what ultimately attracts and grabs individuals attention at the end of the day. Individuals like change, individuals like new things happening, we like excitement. Hence the move from human models to animal models, as human models are considered normal now.

    I don’t know about you, but I am starting to notice a growth in the number of animal related posts and videos on my Facebook Newsfeed. Which ultimately shows how our world has involved into taking a liking towards the interest of animals. Hence, this acts as a reason into using animals as models for companies/brands.
    Therefore, in a way, I do feel that it is an interesting new way to promote a brand. Additionally, I do feel that marketing has taken it too far in terms of my own thoughts/ethics. However, in reality, in the shoes of a marketer, due to today’s world, I do feel that marketers have taken the right approach, due to how individuals are evolving, with wanting to see change, excitement and differences.

    I came across this reading on the psychology of using animals in advertising if you were interested.
    http://www.huichawaii.org/assets/stone_sherril_the_psychology_of_using_animals_in_advertising_ahs2014.pdf

    Thanks, Teresa

    PS. Your dog is beautiful and so adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Teresa,

      Of course nothing beats a cute dog! (And thanks – she already knows she is pretty and takes advantage of it haha).

      It really is amazing, but I guess if there is a platform of mass communication it won’t take long before marketers find a way to use it.
      It is amazing how quickly things are evolving in the area and how quickly data becomes uselessly out-of-date!
      Menswear Dog really is a marvel. I saw his owners being interviewed on morning television one day and they had to quit their job just to take him around to his modelling shoots and act as his ‘manager’ – and you should look at some of the campaigns! He is wearing their clothes next to a real (human) model.
      The other thing I wonder is whether this is a good thing for these serious brands to be doing or if it trivialises and makes a joke of their products?

      I think a lots of the time with these ‘pioneer’ famous dogs, they don’t do it if the dog hates it so they must be ok with wearing things (?). But with the rising popularity and how much money they make it is definitely a very real possibility that people will try and exploit some of these poor animals.

      Thank you so much for the reading! It was so interesting as I am definitely a sucker for dogs in ads!

      Like

      1. You are correct, mass communication is one of the most important forms of communication out there, and businesses will essentially opt for mass communication whenever they can.

        You raised a good question. Now that I think about it, I feel that at times, it can come across as a joke, and sometimes even offensive to individuals as well. The fact that the same clothes that individuals could wear is being worn on a dog, businesses could potentially be downgrading their brand. As some individuals may take it the wrong way and think that the business is comparing dogs to humans, number of individuals may essentially be unhappy about this. So I feel businesses should be careful when promoting in such a way, so that they don’t damage their brand name.

        In saying that, majority of the time, I feel that individuals would have a positive reaction towards dogs modelling clothes due to the human animal relationship bond. As a result, I reckon animals and advertising are one of the methods of advertising that will continue to be used for a few years to come. If you are interested, this thought of mine has been shaped from reading this article : http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1214&context=honorstheses

        Like

  3. Hi Kiri,

    That is a great article. As a proud cat owner, I can definitely related to this urge to post about your pets on social media! I also noticed, when scrolling down my Instagram feed, this new trend of using “famous” pets as brand ambassadors.
    I was quite skeptical at first. But after thinking about it, I think it is actually a good idea. As marketing students and social media users, we know that sponsorship on social media platforms is now widely used for many types of products (clothes, cosmetics, electronics, food, beverages etc.). This tactic is very successful, partly because user-generated content tends to be perceived as more authentic. People can relate with the ambassadors and trust them more than mass media advertising. Therefore, it makes sense to try and use this tactic for even more types of products, including those for pets.

    As you mentioned, many households have pets and they are often considered as a member of the family. Because people are very attached to their pets, they are likely to notice posts about dogs and cats on social media. I personally always notice when something related to cats appears in my news feed and I am immediately intrigued. Most sponsored posts posted by “pet celebrities” are cute and/or funny, making them highly engaging. In addition, the content is interesting and relevant for pet owners. Finally, the fact that a pet is used a celebrity and brand endorsor makes it very unique and noticeable on social media platforms. All these reasons make me believe that using a cat or a dog to endorse your product online is a good way to promote your brand. I would be interested to see actual data about the effects of this tactic on brand awareness and sales.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Magaly!

      I definitely agree. The perceived authenticity of the posts is what makes people pay attention I think. If they come across as to ad-like I think they begin to lose followers.

      Do you think that these insta-famous pets have to sell products related to them or their ‘thing’? (like menswear dog and clothes?) or would it be successful for like Grumpy Cat to sell a fridge or toaster?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Because it must be perceived as authentic to be effective, I feel like marketers should avoid using these insta-famous pets to promote something irrelevant to them. Their followers would not think it is particularly relevant and could realise that it is indeed marketing. This could backfire and lead to a negative perception of both the pet and the brand (just like bloggers and celebrities when their sponsored posts are too obvious)!

    It may be possible to use pets to promote goods like a fridge or a toaster, but if marketers use a different approach. For example, they could create an advertisement or commercial in which Grumpy Cat complains about his burnt toasts because of his poor quality toaster. This ad could be shared on the social media accounts of the insta-famous pet (in this example Grumpy Cat). I think that it could work because they will not try to make it look authentic but instead would use humour to get to the customers. They would still benefit from the reputation of the pet online but the chance that it would backfire would be reduced.

    Liked by 1 person

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