Is your dog the boss of you? Make him a police officer. Is he more of an easy rider? Put him in motorcycle garb.
As amusing as it is to see humans with cat ears and noses in Snapchat, the app adding filters to dog faces won hearts over — first in New Zealand, where canines and their companions used it; then at a marketing awards gala ceremony during the &THEN annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers’ DMA division. Mars NZ’s “Pedigree [SelfieSTIX]” campaign created by Colenso BBDO earned the 2018 Diamond ECHO Award, ANA announced yesterday.
“DMA’s ECHO Awards represent the most successful, results-producing campaigns of the data and marketing industry,” said ANA Group EVP Tom Benton, who heads the DMA division. “These award winners demonstrate the incredible power which comes from the combination of data, technology and inspired creative talent. Each of these winners are advancing the work of our field by building customer relationships based on truth, results and trust.”
The dogs, perhaps, don’t care about this honor. In each of the videos about the campaign, the pets are only obsessed with the dental-benefitting treats perched atop their owners’ smartphones.
But the data that went into turning their countenances into costumes involved extensive facial recognition work, according to their contest entry description on DMA’s site.
“Facial recognition in humans is straightforward,” reads the entry. “But with the extreme variation in dog faces, the technology is much more sophisticated. This is the first time it has been used on dogs successfully.”
(At least one dog owner may be starting to look a bit like a pet, though. “A Google user” writes on the app download site: “OMG. It doesn't work on my dog, but it works on me. I am not a dog.”)
So whether you have a pug or a Doberman, you can have a mustachioed cowboy or a bespectacled archeologist keepsake if you use the app, which Colenso BBDO says on its site much of New Zealand seems to have done:
“For every dog owner in the country, the campaign generated five interactions and Pedigree DentaStix saw a 24% sales increase year on year.”
That’s good for the brand, creating moments with your dog and spurring repeat DentaStix purchases, because the DMA site says:
“Pedigree DentaSTIX sits in a saturated, fast-growing treats and care market, where brand loyalty continues to decline.
“Often considered an incremental purchase and a 'functional' treating product, we needed to find a PR-friendly way to encourage customers to pick up the Pedigree DentaSTIX product over competitors, shifting perception of DentaSTIX to a 'positive' treating product.”
During the campaign, each purchase of DentaSTIX came with a free SelfieSTIX that dog owners could attach to their smartphones, then place a dental treat on the other end of the tool. That meant the owners could pose with their dogs, whose attention would likely be glued to the treat above the phone, resulting in having the puppy faces locked in concentration for the photo. Owners would take the photos via the app, which would then offer filters for various incognito canine visages.
Although the Google Play stats show 5,000 downloads, this YouTube clip about the campaign’s been viewed 121,000 times.
And going back to the stiff pet food competition the agency notes, a glimpse at numbers from the American Pet Products Association show the claim’s veracity here in the U.S.:
- Americans own nearly 90 million dogs
- 68% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 84.6 million homes
- Americans will spend $72 billion on their pets this year; of which, $30 billion will be for food and $16 billion will go toward pet supplies and over-the-counter medicine
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.