Who would have thought that the Puppy Bowl, running opposite this year’s SuperBowl, would have been the highest rated show during that time slot? Ok – maybe not the highest rated, but it came in second only to the Superbowl, and the number of viewers exceeded that of the President’s State of the Union address. How’s that for foresight? I’m thinking the futurists didn’t see that one coming. But, with the pet industry expected to exceed $56 billion this year, it’s hard to imagine that people aren’t paying closer attention.
The Puppy Bowl is one more example of how people are thinking ‘outside’ the box when it comes to marketing. Creating a “puppy bowl” complete with referees, penalty flags for “Illegal motion” (a.k.a., unauthorized piddles), a “water bowl cam,” and even a half-time “Kitty Show” (which was brought to an abrupt end when the kitties spooked on a confetti streamer and made a very quick departure from the field, which was not shown), may not be brilliance, but it is certainly something. Timeouts were called when the water bowl needed to be refilled and this year’s Puppy Bowl III DVD also includes Dogs Gone Wild type footage of a “Tailgating Party”.
The Puppy bowl was first thought up in 2005, with the introduction of the Kitty Half-time show arriving in 2006 and continuing through 2007. Bissel was the company that sponsored the dynamic half-time show, and a wonderful show it was! They must be thinking how much fun it would have been to bring a vacuum cleaner in (hey, that could have been a show in and of itself – it is at my house!)
The Puppy Bowl now has it’s own website where fans can vote for the MVP Puppy award, with Animal Planet’s website logging over 1.3 million votes! Unnecessary roughness is par for the course with these pups – especially when it comes to putting your marketing dollar to work!
The payout for these sponsoring companies is likely to be phenomenal. With the banners alongside the arena, which will also be visible on the DVD due out soon, years of ongoing marketing and feedback will occur.
The risk? Pretty big – I don’t know how much it cost these companies to participate, but I can imagine it wasn’t cheap. The risk of everyone laughing at them prior to the event? Exponential. How many “non-animal-related” companies would take such a risk as to spend their marketing dollars on a “puppy bowl” that is running against the Superbowl, rather than spend the money on an entertaining new commercial to run during the Superbowl? They would be a laughingstock! And now they are laughing all the way to the bank…
The only thing better than watching the Puppy Bowl for the sponsors is watching their profits soar over the coming months. Sponsoring events such as these and helping groups such as the Humane Society and PetFinders is a wonderful way of inspiring customer loyalty. People want to help animals, and they will become loyal consumers to corporations who do the same. This is just one more reason why you should think outside the box when it comes to marketing.
Take a chance with your marketing dollar, explore new product marketing, new marketing methods and more importantly, listen to creative and innovative ideas that may be laughed out of the boardroom. The profit on “taking a chance” just might dwarf your payout.
Stacy Mantle is the owner of www.PetsWeekly.com and a partner in GrokQuest, a marketing company specializing in creating innovative marketing ideas. Their unique activity books, “So, You Have A New Kitten!” and “So, You Have A New Puppy!” are sponsored by corporations who support humane education and are donated free to nonprofit rescue associations throughout the nation. For more information, visit www.grokquest.com.