Most pet parents (wrongly) assume home food is best for their pets little realizing that dogs have specific nutrient needs - different from humans. The major communication challenge for Pedigree was changing this mind set and educating the consumer on how the right nutrients affects the health of their pet and how Pedigree guarantees the five signs of good health. The core focus of our communication was ‘breaking’ the ‘habit’ of home-cooked pet meals. However that involved individual prompters standing at each of the 3000 outlets across India which was not just a logistic nightmare but also a very expensive proposition.
While the challenge was to come up with a cost-effective solution with minimal spill-over that targeted sampling leading to education and eventually conversion through incentivisation, our KPIs were defined.
The pet food industry in India is still in a nascent stage. The calorie conversion is 3.4% or in other words 3.4% food served to dogs is pre-packaged pet food with a staggering 96.6% preferring to give their pets home cooked food. (Basis IPSOS research data 2010 and a dipstick of 200 pet parents).
No other player in the marketplace was educating the pet parents other than Mars (Pedigree®) or conducting an aggressive sampling-to-purchase programme.
To get customers to sample as well as avail benefits on the first product purchase (post sampling), with coupons generated being specific to the sale point thus ensuring footfalls and customer gain for the POS. The annual unique walk-ins at retail stores, vets and other associated outlets is 2 million pet parents of which 60% feed their dogs home-cooked food. (Data source: IPSOS research data 2010 and a Dipstick survey conducted by Mars). That is a huge concentration of pet parents across 3000 outlets and therein lay a huge category opportunity. This insight is what led us to consider tapping pet parents were we are most likely to find them and to change their pet food habits by encouraging, educating and incentivizing them to try Pedigree®.
With 3000 outlets spread all over India, scaling up the sampling programme would have been an expensive proposition entailing the need to have a prompter and a manager at each outlet. So instead we created an app that also incentivized the retailer and thus got the implicit support of the trade. The programme captured valuable data via the app that in turn led to sampling and building up loyalty. Our programme helped capture leads in a simple format, disseminated free samples and dispensed additional information as well as a discount on product purchase. All of this was done seamlessly through a system wherein-
As against the Rs 20 crore spend on TV media (2015), just 6 crore of the budget was used in the sampling programme and it proved to be very effective reaching out to the relevant audience and in getting the best return on investment since it was completely scalable.