Purina launches social networking for pets

A new online 'True Colours Photo Challenge' sponsored by the brand has pet passion driving traffic.

A new online photo gallery is quickly becoming the cats meow. Sponsored by Purina, the recently launched True Colours Photo Challenge, a social-network-meets-photo-contest site where pet lovers can share, brag and boast about their pets’ personality by posting photos they think best capture their pet’s true colours, has already amassed some 11,000 participants – 3,000 in its first day alone.

Online voting is open to the public every month between the 1st and 25th, and the six top-voted pet images (one for each colour or personality) are showcased at Purina.ca every month.

With media planning helmed by ZenithOptimedia and creative by Publicis, the site targets over-18 pet owners and pet lovers nationally in English and French. The first wave of communications was directed at existing Purina PetCare Club members; an email was sent to existing opt-in members and the Purina database. Banner ads also ran on the promotional page of Nestle.ca and through Purina’s Pets channel content marketing partnership with Sympatico.ca, as well as on targeted pet content sites within Google’s network.

New prospects were teased through interactive banners ads on Kijiji’s pet channel and on Facebook – ‘both highly targeted environments for pet lovers,’ ZenithOptimedia’s Zed Digital manager John Brilhante tells MiC. ‘We knew that even if they did not already own a pet, they would love to peruse other photos and engage with them by voting for their favourites.’ Additional drivers to the site included a print ad in Dogs in Canada, and backlit outdoor posters outside Purina’s PawsWay Pet Discovery Centre in Toronto.

‘We wanted to facilitate a conversation [and] engagement, and deliver a true brand experience to online consumers and pet lovers,’ Brilhante tells MiC, noting that 40% of participants have opted in for further communication from Purina. ‘The Purina ‘True Colours Photo Challenge’ provides an innovative and interactive forum allowing consumers to share and communicate their passion for pets while authentically experiencing the Purina brand. With the primary focus being engagement and brand experience, there is a natural stickiness of the site – and indeed visitors keep returning to update their pet’s profile and vote for their favourites.’

‘Canadians adore their pets,’ said Nestlé Purina PetCare Direct and interactive manager, Magda Mutch, in a release.’They want to share their passion for pets and communicate with others online.’