Pets in Advertising

The continued growth of pets in advertising 

Animals have been a big part of film and TV since the start of the 20th Century, from cartoon characters to real life animals warming our hearts and stealing the show, while pets in advertising continue to grow.

From the beautiful red Irish Setter, Big Red, to Lassie, the star of many Lassie Come Home movies, and the unforgettable Rin Tin Tin, the German Shepherd rescued from a WWI battlefield who went on to star in 28 Hollywood films, some of the biggest names in Hollywood have had four legs and a wagging tail.

 In modern times we continue to see movies and TV shows starring our furry, feathered and even scaly friends, but it is the widespread use of pets in advertising, even when the product has nothing to do with a pet product or service, that is behind the growth of the pet talent industry.

 So why are pets so popular in advertisements?  With over 60% of Australian households owning a pet, and more pets than people inhabiting the country today (almost 29 million pets to be exact!)*, Australia has one is a nation of pet lovers. 

 Plus, if you consider over 60% of dog and cat owners refer to their pet as a member of the family*, then it’s no wonder that marketers know that using a pet in their advertising is one way to tug at the emotional heartstrings of customers.

 Using pets in advertising also makes people more inclined to take notice of an ad, which is the key challenge for any advertiser trying to cut through the advertising noise and clutter. It makes the commercial seem more like a story than just plugging the product.

 We also tend to view certain animals as representing different traits, attributes and feelings, which is why we see them in commercials for products that want to convey a specific message through the use of an animal. 

 Dogs and cats are seen as to be part of the family, so are widely used in commercials for products that want to tap into a sense of family or home, while wildlife like bears, lions and tigers are seen aligned with products that want to market themselves as tough or rugged.  

 Then of course there is the ever growing number of advertisements for pet-specific products and services, given expenditure on pet-related products and services in Australia is now estimated at more than $13 billion a year*.

 All of this combined means pets in advertising continues to grow and now, more than ever, there is a great opportunity for pet owners to give their beloved pets the chance of su-paw-stardom.

 While your pet may not become the next Rin Tin Tin (or maybe they will), there is nothing like giving your pet the chance to be immortalised on the big screen or in a modelling shoot for your favourite brand that you can keep as a fond memory for the rest of your life.

 *Source: Animal Medicines Australia Report – Pets in Australia 2019

 About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play and Editor of Lara runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area, is a sought after pet expert, speaker and Author of Eat, Play, Love (your dog) and soon to be released Dogs of the World (October 2021)