Mars Petcare wants consumers to 'freak out' their dogs

Wet food going to the dogs as four Mars brands unite with AOR Weber Shandwick for Mix Mania campaign

NASHVILLE: Mars Petcare is showing consumers how much dogs "freak out" – in a good way – when they chow down on wet dog food, as part of a new campaign that brings together its portfolio of wet dog food brands Cesar, Pedigree, Nutro, and Iams.

Mars’ 12-week Mix Mania campaign, which launches today, is a collaboration among these four brands to increase the overall awareness of wet dog food and create growth in the category. Weber Shandwick, Mars Petcare’s PR AOR since 2004, created the campaign.

Getting consumers to buy wet dog food has been a challenge for Mars. The brand’s director of marketing communications and corporate affairs, Lisa Campbell, told PRWeek that "almost 100%" of people who have dogs feed them dry dog food.  But after hearing feedback from consumers on how they changed their shopping habits after their dogs "went crazy" for wet dog food, Mars, along with Weber, came up with the concept for Mix Mania.

"Given this is such a dog-centric world and we have a dog-centric office, we had anecdotal evidence that dogs freak out over wet food," said Jim Paul, executive creative director, Weber Shandwick. "We did informal experimenting and at that point we decided we needed to capture this crazy joy."

Asking consumers to completely overhaul their shopping behavior and switch to dry dog food wasn’t realistic, so as part of this campaign Mars is encouraging dog owners to mix in wet food with dry kibble.

To showcase the humorous "doggy freak out face" that results from eating wet dog food, the campaign includes close-up, slow motion long- and short-form videos of dogs after they have eaten it.

"With these videos, we are appealing to the emotions of owners because they love their dogs and they want to see them really happy," said Paul. "Feeding them wet food is a great, easy way to make that happen."

An interactive microsite, MixMania.dog, has also been created as a "one-stop shop for consumer interaction," Campbell said. Consumers are encouraged to engage with the campaign by sharing their doggie freak out photos and videos using the hashtag #MixMania.

Actress Kristin Chenoweth, who is doing the voiceover on the campaign’s videos, is also lending her voice to a consumer remix station housed on the website. The microsite has a unique feature that lets consumers upload a video and remix it with a funny voiceover from Chenoweth.

The campaign will also be heavily promoted on dedicated "Mix Maniacs" Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

Campbell added that Mars will be working with social media influencers, who will also be sharing videos of their dogs.

Those who submit photos and videos of their pup’s "freak out" face have the chance to win custom "wag swag" such as a surfboard, skateboard, and playing cards, all with their dog’s face featured prominently.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to bring together four of our different wet food brands to this category message," said Campbell. "It is something we haven’t done in the past.

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