Move over humans. When it comes time to promote their products and services, more and more brands are turning to social media influencers who have fur and four legs.
Now, the pet influencer trend is apparently so strong that one agency specializing in connecting brands to social media influencers has launched an offshoot agency dedicated to connecting brands with pet influencers.
As detailed by AdWeek, HelloSociety, which has worked with brands like Sephora, Sony and P&G, has launched WAGSociety to capitalize on the growing number of pets that have large social media followings.
Kyla Brennan, HelloSociety’s founder and CEO, says WAGSociety was launched to meet brand demand. She explained, “We recently started hearing from brands asking if we worked with dogs or cats,” she told AdWeek.
The demand isn’t so surprising when one considers that cute furry creatures are able to deliver far more engagement than human influencers. In fact, according to Brennan, “pet influencer accounts can engage 10 times as many users as human influencers,” which explains why even brands that are skeptical about promoting themselves with a pet are starting to suspend their skepticism and jumping on the pet influencer bandwagon.
“Brands tend to laugh at our suggestion of a pet influencer, but then we show them the numbers to back it up,” Brennan stated.
Already, WAGSociety has signed up 100 pet influencers. These include Menswear Dog, which counts more than 280,000 Instagram followers and has been at the center of influencer campaigns for brands like Banana Republic, Jimmy Choo and Samsung. Reports indicate that Menswear Dog earns his owners $15,000 per month.
There is also Loki the Wolfdog, who has 1.2 million Instagram followers, Esther The Wonder Pig, who has nearly 270,000 followers on Instagram and a New York Times bestselling book, and Geordi La Corgi, who is approaching 200,000 Instagram followers.
Difficulties and risks
Working with pet influencers might seem to be an easier proposition than working with human influencers, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many of the owners of pet influencers are equally picky about the brands they’ll work with. And just as much work goes into executing the campaigns.
Yena Kim, one of Menswear Dog’s owners, told AdWeek, “There’s a lot going on behind-the-scenes that you never see. There’s a team behind us full of people either holding peanut butter, fixing his clothes, or changing the lighting.”
All of this begs the question: what do the animals think of this? That’s something brands getting involved with pet influencers might want to ask, as one of the risks they could face is that these campaigns will draw increasing scrutiny as they proliferate.
For example, Menswear Dog’s claim to fame is the outfits his owners pose him in, but there is an ongoing debate about pet costumes and whether they are harmful to the animals. Menswear Dog is also a shiba inu, which can be a difficult dog breed.
Some suggest that viral photos and memes associated with such a breed can be detrimental, as individuals who don’t know what they’re getting into find themselves with a pet they’re ill-equipped to take care of, leading to situations where pets are poorly cared for and/or later abandoned.
While it’s unlikely these concerns will dent the rise of the pet influencer, brands jumping on the bandwagon should keep them in mind when they select pet influencers and design their campaigns.
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