Nearly $200 billion was spent on advertising in the U.S. this year, a number that’s only expected to grow. As brands spend more and more on being noticed in their industry, it can seem harder and harder to stand out from the crowd.
Of course, getting noticed is not just about a big budget and flashy ads. While it might seem like successful advertising requires big spending, celebrity cameos, and talking mascots, you can make an impact without any of these things. Marketing your animal health brand effectively doesn’t have to break the bank, pander, or follow any set of rules. My five favorite animal health ads of 2019 prove that when you tell your story with creativity and honesty, your value speaks for itself.
As someone who consults with animal health manufacturers day in and day out on marketing their products and brands, I’ve dedicated a lot of time to consuming industry advertising. (Also because, you know, puppies.)
Here are a few of the animal health ads of 2019 that stood out to me and what I think manufacturers can learn from them.
1. “Dogs Don’t Know What’s Good for Them” — Greenies Dental Treats
Take a look at this ad. It will only take you 15 seconds. Greenies packs a whole plot, a joke, and an effective punch line into those 15 seconds, creating a memorable experience for viewers and a boost in brand loyalty. We’ll be remembering the dog chewing through the hot air balloon rope for a while.
The Lesson: Timing is everything. People have short attention spans. Clever advertising will accommodate that.
2. “Itching for Help” — Zoetis
Cute dog wants food. Cute dog wants a walk. Cute dog wants cuddles. Cute dog needs help! This is such an effective message. It goes straight to the hearts of pet owners who just want to give their pet what they need. Opening with the signs we all recognize and love — the puppy dog eyes inching toward your food, the leash in the mouth — leads viewers to the next image — the itching and scratching. Viewers whose dogs have skin allergies will then instantly recognize that and realize they need Zoetis.
By focusing on the pet owner’s experience and helping them learn about symptoms, Zoetis does a better job of selling their product. They’ve presented a problem and a solution: their product.
The Lesson: Solve problems. Your product meets a specific need in the market — advertise to that. Clearly show the benefits your product offers and how it will improve pets’ lives. Helping your customers make informed decisions will win them over.
3. “Inspiring Stories” — Galliprant
I can’t get over this campaign. These heartwarming videos have it all. I’ve watched all of them. Maybe more than once. The “Inspiring Stories” campaign shares pet owners’ testimonials of their dogs’ success stories in recovering from osteoarthritis, a disease Galliprant’s products treat. In a second series, veterinarians tell the true stories of healing dogs with Galliprant’s anti-inflammatories.
There’s emotional investment, there are cute puppies, there are true veterinary experts speaking to the impact the products have — and it’s real. That’s what really makes me care — knowing that everything shown in these videos really happened.
The Lesson: Tell the truth. A Cohn & Wolfe study shows that 87% of consumers think it’s more important for brands to be authentic than to be innovative or offer unique products. Speaking honestly and openly can provide a powerful edge for your business. It’s brave, it’s exciting, and it sets you apart from more mercenary advertisers.
4. “National Make a Dog’s Day” — Subaru
OK, not technically an animal health industry ad. But, !!! [unintelligible excited sounds]. I love this. This is a pure cause-marketing campaign from Subaru, a brand that’s demonstrated a commitment to finding loving homes for shelter dogs. They’re not selling a Subaru, but they’re sure making me love their brand.
As part of their shelter efforts, Subaru has instated October 22 as “National Make a Dog’s Day.” In this ad, they promote the campaign with the help of some very, very cute faces — “The Underdogs.” I challenge anyone not to want to immediately get in their car, drive to the nearest shelter, and find the oldest, most forlorn dog and bring him home. The love they put into showcasing these “different” dogs proves the sincerity of their message — and it’s effective.
The Lesson: Show how you support animals. It’s important for every brand to show a committed effort to making the world a better place. For animal health brands, it’s essential that you show specifically how much you care about animals and support animal causes. If you don’t, why should your customers entrust their animals to your products?
5. Interactive Exhibit — KRUUSE
OK, this one is technically not one of the best animal health ads of 2019, because it’s not an ad. I’m breaking the rules all over the place. But I do want to talk about the power of creating an interactive experience when you’re present and in person, with your customers. Also, full disclosure: I worked on this one! So I’m a little biased, but it’s still one of my favorite industry efforts that I saw in 2019.
At the 2019 Veterinary Meeting & Expo, KRUUSE’s booth featured interactive AV, lighting, and stellar representation of their brand, presenting themselves and their products at their best. Their creativity even earned them the Standout Exhibit Idea award for effective visual communication. EPiQ Animal Health is proud to distribute KRUUSE products and was proud to partner with them on creating this booth.
The Lesson: Stand out visually, and think outside the box. Every time you’re with your customers (whether that’s in person, online, or through advertising) is an opportunity to impress them. You never have to just do what’s already been done.
That’s the ultimate lesson I find in these five examples. Do something that’s new. Do something that’s you. And partner with people you think can help you make a difference.
KRUUSE is just one of the industry-leading manufacturers we consult with on advertising and branding. Contact an EPiQ Animal Health representative to learn more about how we can help you advertise and grow your business in the new year.