A little history of advertising and marketing in the pet industry.

I've always been fascinated by advertisements.

Ever since I was a little girl and saw a TV commercial featuring a free toy in a cereal box, (that, of course, I just had to have), advertising has captivated me.

It was only when my Mom made sure I understood at age six that nothing is free, not even that toy advertised as free on the television, because you had to buy the cereal to get it.

So as I surf the Internet, I sometimes run across vintage advertising - from pet food and pet product companies, and from other companies that utilize pets in their marketing campaigns and advertisements.

Pinterest was the perfect place to put all those great finds all in one place. So over the past months, I've put together two Pinterest Boards you won't want to miss:

Vintage Advertising - Pet Product Marketing
Vintage Advertising - Pets in Marketing

Surprisingly, advertising in the 30, 40's, 50's and 60's wasn't a lot different than it is now:
  • Cute puppies (and children) reigned
  • Dogs talked.
  • Ads targeted women (and children).
  • Dogs did tricks.
  • Cats were picky.
  • Dogs sent letters to their owners.
  • Dog were called children.
  • Health and happiness of pets prevailed.
Pet food and product companies had free gifts with purchase, sign ups for free trials, and movie tie ins. Celebrities and celebrity dogs were featured, and companies utilized original content information to help consumers understand how best to use their product.

And there wasn't a shortage of pets helping to market other products and services:
  • Greyhounds promoted traveling by bus.
  • Two terriers (Blackie and Whitie) hocked Black & White Scotch.
  • Celebrities like Don Knotts talked to a dog about his feelings to promote dog food.
  • During the war companies took advantage and added a military slant to their ads, even promoting contributing your dog to the war movement to become military working dogs.
  • After the war reflection, remembrance and the good life reigned.
Trends in pet products and pet product advertising were dictated by the times:
  • When meat rationing occurred during the war, dog food companies turned to meal as an important ingredient..
  • In the mid to late 40's with the availability of the television, pet companies turned to TV advertisements to promote their wares.
  • Flea products added DDT after the war effort determined it's effectiveness.
  • In the 40's to early 60's horse meat was touted as a top ingredient in pet food, and thankfully stopped following government laws banning the practice in the 70's.
  • Following the war prosperity kicked in and ads targeting pet owners, and ads utilizing pets, became more luxurious, relaxed and 'good living' in nature.
What is to be learned from our past? 

Marketing is marketing...There may be new vehicles for marketing, but there may not be any new ideas. It's how you utilize your great marketing ideas, tactics and vehicles to their maximum effectiveness that will help your pet business, product and/or service stand out among the sea of competition.

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