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Whether they’re concerned about artificial colouring, flavouring, or preservatives, people are becoming increasingly conscious of what goes into the food they eat. With its new campaign, Pets at Home recruits celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty to encourage dog owners to be as picky about their pets’ food as they are about their own. We explore the insights behind the ad.

‘What’s in the recipe?’, made in conjunction with Krow Communications, sees celebrity farmer and Food Unwrapped presenter Jimmy Doherty in a TV-chef set up, recreating a traditional dog food recipe by whizzing up ingredients including cereal, meat and animal derivatives, oils and, most importantly, chicken – revealed to make up just 4% of the final ‘chicken’ recipe. Just as Doherty’s BBC programme encourages human viewers to pay attention to what goes into their food, his Pets at Home spot urges them to seek out healthier alternatives for their furry friends.

People care for their pets like family People care for their pets like family
Pets at Home (2016) ©

Mums have long been conscious of what they feed their kids, and it’s no surprise that this behaviour is expanding to dog owners too. After all, over two-thirds of pet owners regard their animals as part of the family, and 63% of Britons say they would grieve the death of their pet as much as they would a family member. A fifth of Gen Yers say they’ve adopted a pet to help develop parental qualities, and having more space for a dog ranks among the top three motivators for first-time home-buyers.

People love pampering their pets; an estimated $103.8 billion was spent on pets globally in 2015. But how they treat their animals depends on how they view them, says Gina Westbrook, director of strategy briefings at Euromonitor. While ‘extreme humanisers’ (those who see their pets as people) are likely to regard their pet as a designer accessory or child substitute, 20-30% of owners are ‘anti-humanisers’ – owners who want their pets to live as natural a life as possible. They’re most likely to buy supplies from ethical, independent brands such as Lily’s Kitchen, and put their critters on organic diets. By demonstrating an understanding of the levels of care between dogs and their humans, Pets at Home’s latest spot was far from a dog’s dinner.

Hannah Callaghan is an account executive at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. When she’s not helping clients navigate the deepest layers of the Canvas8 Library, she’s probably binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race or befriending other people’s dogs.


09 Oct 17
3 min read

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