Purina Dips Paw into Podcasting

  |  July 1, 2005   |  Comments

The pet care company's latest interactive marketing experiment also includes mobile content.

That "meow" you hear coming from your neighbor's office may be a part of Nestle Purina PetCare's latest interactive initiative.

Barks, meows, jingles and audio pet care tips are front-and-center on the new Purina.com Web site, unveiled this week. But these content bites aren't meant to be accessed via the Web. They're podcasts, ringtones, wallpapers, and SMS alerts, created with the help of Purina interactive agency of record Arc Worldwide, a Publicis company.

"They [pet owners] tend to be as adoptive of new technologies as the population at large. Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular and some even might say ubiquitous in the U.S.," explained Michael Moore, director of interactive marketing at Purina.

The company is making available five ringtones -- with cat and dog noises, along with jingles and sounds from its offline advertising. Wallpapers consist of pictures of cats and dogs. Users can also sign up to receive pet care tips via SMS. While Moore admits there's not a compelling reason to offer such pet care content to people on the go, he says the company already had the content and felt there was no harm in testing whether users were interested.

"We plan to evaluate the learnings from this campaign to determine even better ways to include mobile solutions in the marketing mix in the future," said Pat Isom, vice president and account director at Arc Worldwide, in a statement.

As for the podcasting, Moore said the initiative was born of the enthusiasm of the interactive marketing team, as well as the availability of audio content -- an "Ask the Vet" program the company had long produced for a local St. Louis radio station.

"The podcasting was something that, while we were looking at wireless, a few of us are podcast fans," he said. "The business case was not as compelling, but we happened to have some content."

The company plans to add a new podcast to the site every other week.

It will get the word out about the new offerings via online advertising on its network of partner Web sites: Yahoo, America Online and PetFinder.com. The company also has plans for search marketing but wouldn't divulge details.

Adding wireless content and podcasts aren't the only forays Purina has made into cutting edge digital distribution methods. Earlier this year, the CPG firm began publishing RSS feeds. Since then, an average of 20 to 25 new users have subscribed every week.

"We've been pleased with the results," Moore said. "They haven't been overwhelming, but we've been pleased with the results."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Parker

Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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