Pet Valu targets ‘devoted pet lovers’

Who: Pet Valu, with Arrivals + Departures for creative, True Media for traditional media buying, and tempo digital for digital.

What: “Love lives here,” a new brand platform and campaign representing what vice-president of marketing Idan Driman describes as a “rebalancing” of the retailer’s marketing efforts, which have tended to place greater emphasis on lower-funnel tactics and not as much on branding. “Rather than shifting, it’s more about optimizing the balance between upper-funnel and lower-funnel,” said Driman.

When & Where: In development for six months, the campaign launched at the beginning of October. It includes a series of 30- and 15-second ads running across the country’s major TV networks and national specialty channels, as well as on YouTube, social and digital. The video ads are being complemented by billboards and TSAs showcasing photos submitted by the country’s pet lovers. “We’re using a lot of different channels because it’s about following the pet lover’s journey,” said Driman.

The campaign also includes sponsorships with the CBC Television show Strays, the Breakfast Television segment “Furry Fridays,” and Toronto and Vancouver dog walking forecasts on Corus.

Why: The campaign is targeting a customer segment known internally as “devoted pet lovers”—pet parents who view their pet as a member of the family. Pet Valu has more 600 stores across the country, but the company’s analytics show that there is still a large contingent of people who are unaware of the brand.

The campaign is aimed at attracting those pet enthusiasts by demonstrating Pet Valu’s commitment to nurturing the relationship between people and their pets, said Driman. “If they’re not aware of those benefits, we don’t get the opportunity to convert them [into customers].”

How: The 30-second anchor spot “Love lives here” shows the day-to-day joys—as well as the occasional headaches—of pet ownership, not only when it comes to traditional pets like dogs and cats, but also rabbits, lizards and birds.

The spot opens on a woman cleaning her living room, only for her dirty dog to jump all over her pristine white couch. As the spot continues, viewers see a woman in a Pet Valu store trying to get her dog to drop a pet toy; a family fretting about their pet’s health during a vet visit; and a woman trying to coax out her rabbit from under the furniture.

“The one thing we’re proud of [with this campaign] is that we’re telling a story that already exists,” said Driman. “When we shared the spots internally, people would say ‘That’s happening in our store,’ or ‘That’s happened to me.’ That’s the best, because we really wanted to have an authentic campaign that represents the life of a pet lover.”

A series of 15-second spots showcase various aspects of the Pet Valu business, from its in-store Animal Care Experts to its role as a neighbourhood store with locations across Canada, and the memorable moments created by its Companions for Change program—a partnership between Pet Valu and local pet charities/rescue organizations in their community. These spots use the same creative, but promote the company’s various banners, which in addition to the Pet Valu masterbrand also include Total Pet, Tisol Pets, Paulmac’s Pets and Bosley’s by Pet Valu.

And we quote: “We’re a brand that’s committed to nurturing the unconditional relationship between devoted pet lovers and their pets, offering animal care expertise, compassionate service and high-quality products and services in Canadian communities. We want devoted pet lovers to know what we’re about and that we’re here to help whenever they need us.” — Idan Driman, vice-president of marketing.

Chris Powell