When our founders cut their canines working in Manhattan on brands like Purina O.N.E. and Meow Mix, TV and print ruled the day. But since Smith Brothers was founded in 2002, we’ve taken a decidedly non-traditional approach to pet product marketing. From best-in-class experiential tours to pet snack vending machines, robust digital-only plans to thumb-stopping social campaigns, we’ve consistently found fresh, customized ways to put both national and regional clients on pet lovers’ radar—and keep them there.
We were asked by this natural pet food brand to help them with a unique marketing challenge: How do you sell a premium food to pet specialty shoppers when its primary ingredient is widely and falsely rumored to be downright toxic to pets? (Damn you, internet!) Our light-hearted but hard-hitting approach put prospects at ease and got them excited. Hey, take it from those in the know—not only are avocados perfectly safe for pets, but dogs and cats reap many of the same healthy benefits that humans do.
The client needed an idea to literally save the business as retailers weighed pulling 9Lives® Dry Cat Food from their shelves. Leveraging Morris the Cat’s humble beginnings as a shelter cat, we created a countrywide mobile cat adoption tour—stopping at over one hundred retailers in the first year alone and finding loving families for more homeless cats than the name implies. On the business side, the campaign increased distribution over 25% and velocity over 11%, taking 9Lives® from a dying product to the fastest growing brand in Del Monte’s pet portfolio.
Biopod®, an app-controlled microhabitat for exotic pets, was in a tough position: it had to break through the crowded aquarium/terrarium marketplace while carrying a significantly higher price point. But, research told us, our consumer is passionate about recreating his or her pet’s pristine, natural environment—and will jump for something newer, more authentic and, well, just cooler. Online videos and dynamic Facebook and Instagram posts targeted people who buy exotic pet products, and our message hit them where their pets lived. From flora to rainfall, it doesn’t get more real than this.
When research indicated that people were taking their dogs along for more of their everyday activities, it was time to give the uniquely portable Pup-peroni® brand a more purposeful positioning. In an effort more crusade than campaign, we championed the rights of dogs and their owners to spend more time together—anytime, anywhere. A national tour engaged consumers at events typically off limits to canines, including baseball games (hey, those guys can really fetch), museum visits and even Hard Rock Café cocktail parties. Our work drove relevancy, for sure, not to mention major retailer interest and share growth.
The Nature’s Recipe® brand was historically recommended by veterinarians as a remedy for food intolerance. As the brand moved into grocery stores, SBA was tapped to reposition the brand as a proactive solution for managing pet health. So how do you stand apart in the exploding super premium and natural pet food marketplace? By directing consumers to the brand’s list of highly desirable ingredients in a fun and playful way. Few could resist our label-reading pups, and the Nature’s Recipe brand enjoyed 38% sales growth in the first year alone.
The client approached us with a hairy problem. How could they carve out a place for Frosty Paws in the crowded dog snack category—and on a fraction of their competitors’ budgets? Our idea was to focus on one element of the brand that differentiates it from other products. You see, unlike snacks that are tossed and gobbled, Frosty Paws takes time, commanding the full attention of the treater and treatee. They’re fun and entertaining. Add the fact that consumers were already posting photos and videos of their pets online and we had our answer: We would build an online community of fans and advocates who love to share their and their dog’s love for Frosty Paws. Watching it grow was super-cool.
We all know the pet food category is one crowded puppy. Whether you’re looking to unleash a new effort in the social space, get more bite from your digital buy or even identify a new AOR partner, we’ve got dog years of experience in the category, and we’re ready to help set your brand apart. Reach out to Nora. She's our Director of New Business Development. Oh, and quite the terrier-whisperer.