Advertising Strategies and Lessons


Marketing With Babies And Puppies Makes Consumers Say Awwww

March 8, 2019 Sarah Cavill

It’s no secret that animal videos are the engine that drives the internet. Every day another cat, dog or chimp does something sweet or funny, and the world swoons and shares. Babies, too, deliver a positive reaction. It seems people can’t get enough cuteness. Recently, videos of dogs rejecting vegetables and babies getting cheese slices tossed at them are having their viral moments. But there is nothing new about this love. Babies and puppies have appeared consistently and resonated effectively in marketing for generations.

Consumers Respond Positively To Babies In Commercials

7upA study by the University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry essentially said consumers can’t help but be drawn to babies. According to the study, “researchers found that all face images caused brain activity, but adult images lit up the back of the brain while baby pictures lit up an area in the front of the brain associated with emotions.”

With or without the stamp of approval from neuroscientists, babies have been used to sell everything from the obvious (Gerber) to the less so (7UP). And using babies in marketing can be a lucrative and successful decision for brands. Baby Monterey Brock was chosen as the new face of Johnson’s Baby Wash in 2015, and her initial appearance in the campaign led to 167 million impressions worldwide, making it the top scoring commercial ever for Johnson’s.

Puppies Make Consumers Feel Good

A recent program to bring dog walking sessions to stressed-out students in the UK, highlighted the happiness and calming effect dogs can bring to people everywhere, a fact marketers know well. Dogs appear in one out of every three commercials, and their appeal cannot be underestimated. Psychologists believe consumers see animals as representative of everything from family to inclusivity, providing relatability and good feelings. A popular Android commercial featuring unlikely pairings of animals, “Friends Furever,” has been watched more than 22 million times and shared 6.5 million times. A rhino and a sheep strolling a country path together? Yes, please.

Budweiser dalmatianThe Super Bowl is often a popular format for airing the best in puppy commercials, including Budweiser’s famous golden retriever spot #BestBuds, which garnered 30.5 million YouTube views. The Budweiser dalmatian wind energy spot in 2019 made many top-ten lists for best commercials of the game and generated major buzz across media channels. All told, this year’s Super Bowl featured dogs in six different commercials.

“I think more and more, advertisers are trying to be part of a larger conversation, so they need to elevate beyond the product, and that’s how they get to family and love. And puppies,” says Tom Lyons, managing director at HYFN. “It drives creative directors crazy, but the old cliché – puppies and babies – works.”

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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