Christmas has always been the season of giving. But ethical, sustainable and charitable gifts are more important than ever to consumers in 2019.
Sparking that festive magic is less about big-budget trucks and more about the simpler things in life this year. Shoppers want to make a difference. They also love puppies, as this heartwarming Christmas campaign proves.
Petco is a leading pet-specialty retailer that’s been going for more than 50 years. Its mission for healthier pets, happier people and a better world led to the Petco Foundation in 1999 - an independent nonprofit organisation that help animals in need.
For 2019, it’s teamed up with a string of well-matched influencers for its #BrighterTogether campaign, ranging from dog-influencers like Theordorable Teddy the Yorkshire terrier to author and animal lover Katherine Schwarzenegger (yes, Arnie’s daughter).
Purpose of campaign
The #BrighterTogether campaign aims to drive sales of Petco products and - as the foundation writes on its sales page - “Help Make the Holidays Bright for Shelter Pets”.
Working with influencers who genuinely support the cause, the retailer can raise awareness of its adorable products and important charity without it feeling sleazy or forced. Instead, the aim is to create emotional content that promotes a love of animals, togetherness and giving back over the festive season.
For #BrighterTogether to be a success, Petco needed to work with influencers who were truly authentic in their support for the products and charity. It couldn’t have picked a more perfect, high-profile influencer than pet-obsessed Katherine Schwarzenegger, who regularly shares dog content to her 865K followers.
The company sponsored a day for Katherine to play with adoptable puppies and dogs, all wearing Petco’s festive collection of tartan sweaters and reindeer onesies.
Other influencers, such as lifestyle and travel blogger Aubrie Bell, were asked to share photos of their own pets in Petco jumpers - caption with branded hashtag and call-to-action included.
Aubrie set up a cute Christmassy shot with her jumper-clad cat and dog (kudos for getting both to sit still at the same time), under her sparkly tree surrounded by gifts (also Petco products). The authentic-reading call-to-action in her caption reads:
“The selection of cute holiday toys at @Petco is so good- definitely check it out if you have cute pets you want to spoil like me!”
At a time when our ‘Christmas conscience’ is stronger than ever, this campaign gets to the core of what this season is about. Care, compassion and cuddles. Without the charitable aspect, the products and influencers involved work beautifully together and would sell on that aspirational image alone. But because the foundation also helps save the lives of pets, shoppers can spend without guilt, knowing they’re making a positive difference at this wasteful time of year.
Meanwhile, the sponsorship tag and call-to-actions were not an issue. Yes, they’re selling, but because it’s a positive, ethical cause, the influencers want to shout it from the rooftops. And they do. It’s crystal clear why they’re teaming up with this company, but the organic fit means it doesn’t feel forced or in-your-face. This is critical for a successful Christmas campaign, since today’s consumers trust ads less and less and are bombarded with them more and more this time of year.
By working with genuinely supportive influencers, there was plenty of creative freedom to create organic content, while getting Petco’s charitable message across at the same time (and selling products).
With Katherine’s post generating 32.5K likes, 239 comments, and floating to the top of the Explore feed, this is a wonderfully successful Christmas campaign. Aubrey’s dog post has almost 2K likes and 150 comments (it’s only been up 22 hours at the time of writing this case study), delivering a message of festive togetherness, while clearly showcasing the products in a way that feels natural.
There’s no doubt this campaign is generating straight-up sales for Petco, as well as awareness of its important charitable work to an audience of caring consumers looking to gift without guilt this Christmas.