As a marketer, what’s one way that you can quickly engage your audience and position your brand as friendly and relatable? Quick answer: Incorporate animals into your marketing.

There’s a reason why each year some of the top Super Bowl ads feature animals, and that’s because it works to engage audiences. This year, some of the top ads included animals, for example, the Heinz’s wiener dog stampede, the already infamous Mountain Dew’s puppymonkeybabydogs trying to get Doritos, and a marmot for Marmot. One reason these ads do well is because of testing—brands making a big investment want to make sure they create an ad that resonates. Another reason that they come out on top is that having animals in your advertising makes it stickier and more memorable. In fact, Adweek just did a field poll on whether commercials featuring animals or celebrities were more liked and memorable. The overwhelming consensus? Animals. That’s because animals are almost universally relatable and drive audiences to experience an emotional connection to your brand.


Relate to your audience wherever they are

Using animals in your marketing isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that we’re seeing extend beyond traditional media (like super bowl advertisements). Now, marketers are using animals to help portray their brand and communicate with audiences on digital channels. For example, Boo the Dog, a well-loved and followed animal personality on both Facebook and Instagram, has his own books and merchandise. Virgin America partnered with Boo the Dog as their animal ambassador, and used the partnership to spur a April Fools’ Day press release and fun Facebook and Instagram posts that garnered high engagement.


A Green Field

In many cases, you don’t need to start with a pet that has a following as large as Boo’s. Brands have an opportunity to find an unknown pet and create a personality for it with messaging that helps support your brand. For example, Paypal used a local pet (disclaimer: a friend of mine) in their holiday instagram video. Doing this allows you to have more freedom of message and you’ll get to work with the owner to build a personality that works best for your brand.

Additionally, you might already have fans of your product or service that are featuring you and their pets together on these digital channels—try to uncover them, perhaps by running a photo contest, and see how you can work together in the future.


A Risk Free* Endorsement

Using animals in your marketing is more accessible than using a celebrity. While the top 100 followed Instagram accounts are almost all celebrities and a few top brands, not only does using an animal (celebrity or not) save you money in terms of endorsement deals, these accounts don’t pose the PR risk that a human celebrity does. There’s not really a DUI risk for a dog, and that’s a huge benefit to a brand that wants to create positive brand associations and see a high return on investment. I think we’ve all seen celebrity endorsements go sideways after the celebrity says or does something that is not congruent with the brand’s message and tone. Of course, it’s important to consider who the human handler of the animal is and what they post…because where there are humans, there will be human error.

Ultimately, whether you use animals in your marketing or not, there are some key lessons that you can take from the grassroots animal celebrity accounts that have cropped up over the last two years.

Take a look at our infographic and see how you can leverage these tips in your own digital marketing efforts on Instagram.

[Infographic] Put A Dog On It: Brand Lessons From Instagram's Celebrity Pets

Brought to you by Marketing Automation Software by Marketo

Published with permission from Marketo.
Image courtesy Marketo.


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