The best dog day ever has quickly become an experimental tent pole for The Dodo. The pet brand debuted in 2018 as a one-day pop-up of activities and photo opportunities for dogs in New York City, followed by a month-long Halloween experience in 2019 that drew around 10,000 pet owners to Williamsburg.
The platform, owned by Group Nine Media, had plans to physically expand the experience further in 2020, but the pandemic has left most face-to-face gatherings with or without animals unsafe. The obvious option for brands this year has been to switch to virtual alternatives. The dodo followed suit with the added responsibility of helping quarantined dog owners – a population that was booming during Covid-19 – adapt to a new normal.
The Dodo hosted its first Best Dog Day of all time on November 13th: At Home Edition. Working with pet experts and Instagram-famous dogs, he gave fans three segments, Treat, Play and Pamper, tips on how to care for their pets during a day of abnormal time.
Group nine media
"The best dog day ever is about creating a day where dogs are the center of attention and enjoyment," said Lindsay Leaf, Head of Experiential Marketing at Group Nine. "Since we are stuck at home with our pets, we wanted to create an extension of this IP to give pet parents tools they can replicate for their dogs."
For Treat, Rescue Doodle owners Charlie and Sawyer (known on Instagram as @puppynamedcharlie) demonstrated how to create homemade dog treats by having the two pooches pick their own ingredients. Play as featured trainer Sara Carson who shows how training for dogs is fun. and during Pamper, veterinary behavioral scientist Dr. Andrea Y. Guide the viewer through canine relaxation techniques like acupressure and reading a dog's body language.
The Dodo produced the event with the Zenith agency and the carpet cleaning brand Resolve as part of an ongoing content partnership.
"Reaching animal lovers through endemic partners like The Dodo for Resolve was an important part of our branding and content strategy," said Kim Iadevaia, Zenith's content developer. "Building on our success in partnership, we've evolved the program to include more social and digital content that has been scaled to reach more pet parents while increasing awareness and revenue for Resolve."
Group nine media
The Dodo also used the event to launch Box’d, Group Nine's new direct-to-consumer product, a box of pet items curated by the editorial team. As part of an online competition, the brand sent 350 winner boxes with items such as a leash, a dog bowl, treats and Resolve products.
While admission was free, the event's microsite invited guests to donate to community partner Paws NY, a nonprofit that provides volunteer services to help vulnerable city dwellers care for their pets.
According to Leaf, the brand sees the virtual expansion as a success based on metrics after the event. Almost 500 people checked in ahead of the event, while the livestream had more than 7,400 unique views and around 4,000 chat messages.
Depending on the level of experience marketing in 2021, Leaf says The Dodo will continue to customize the event in a safe, yet fun, way for fans.
"It's about finding new ways to create these moments for our pets," she said. "Regardless of whether the content is personal or virtual, we will continue to build, expand and repeat this mission."