Dog Day Afternoon: Pedigree’s ‘Cause Marketing’ Masterclass

Earlier this month, iconic dog food brand Pedigree partnered with agency CLM BBDO to use the power of Instagram on behalf of shelter dogs. In the ‘Dogs for Dogs’ campaign, France’s most popular Instagram dogs ‘loaned’ their accounts to shelter dogs of the same breed for a day. After following the replacement shelter dogs for a day, the unsuspecting followers were prompted to adopt the actual dog that had been featured in the feed all day. The single day of the campaign resulted in dozens of adoption requests for shelter dogs.

Watch the video:

Although it was only a single day, Dogs for Dogs combines several elements of a successful social campaign. Let’s take a closer look at why it was so successful.

Influencer marketing

In order for the campaign to be more visible and more successful, Pedigree recruited not a single Instagram influencer, but dozens of them. The strategy of leveraging existing, widely-followed accounts gave the brand more reach and engagement than they could generate with their own account, or by creating a new one devoted to the campaign. Importantly, these influencers were recruited not just for additional visibility, but for a purpose: dogs popular on the social network were deliberately paired with similar, adoptable dogs. This deliberate relationship made ‘Dogs for Dogs’ more meaningful and more effective than simply having influencers post similar content across multiple feeds.

Accurate targeting

Of course, the followers of these accounts are the ideal target of the message. Not only are they Instagram users who demonstrably like dogs, but they have shown that they like that specific breed of dog. They are a self-selecting group of people most likely to be receptive to the brand message, and most likely to take action based on the campaign.

Guerilla marketing

‘Dogs for Dogs’ employed elements of guerilla marketing to great effect. The Instagram influencer dog accounts were paired with visually similar dogs, who were presented in the same manner as the normal account. It was only after followers interacted with the photos and videos that the adoption offer appeared.

Clear call to action (CTA)

The CTA in ‘Dogs for Dogs’ was exceptional, and combined all the elements of a powerful CTA:

  • Strong design: the distinctive design unified the campaign across accounts, and separated the CTA from the content
  • Direct messaging: “If you like me, why not adopt me?” is clear and effective. Furthermore, it’s consistent with the “like” language of Instagram, but prompts the follower toward additional action.
  • Well-timed: By prompting further action after the follower has engaged with the content, it targets even more effectively, introducing the CTA when the follower is most likely to be receptive to it.
  • Easy to execute: Followers can act on the CTA with a single click.
  • An attractive call to action with a streamlined message and simple execution is the hallmark of a successful CTA. It’s Advertising101, extremely well-executed, and employed here to assist shelter dogs in finding forever homes.

The ‘Dogs for Dogs’ campaign is a fantastic example of cause marketing. Effective cause marketing can reap big benefits for a brand, with as many as 55% of consumers saying they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that have a positive impact. And Pedigree avoided the greatest pitfall of cause marketing: disconnect between the brand and the cause.

For cause marketing to be effective, consumers (particularly millennials) have to feel a direct relationship between the brand and the cause. It’s not enough to simply adopt the cause-of-the-month; consumers react negatively to inauthenticity, particularly in their social feeds. But ‘Dogs for Dogs’ matched the right brand, with the right influencers, for the right cause.

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