Pet Valu wants to be more than a mass pet store

The retailer launches a wide national campaign to tap into the communities pet owners are a part of.

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Pet Valu is capturing real, sometimes difficult moments of pet ownership to show it can relate to the devotion Canadians feel for their pets.

In its latest spot, the retailer’s warts-and-all approach reveals not just the fun and frivolity, but also the more challenging and touching aspects of pet ownership, which can include tears and processing difficult emotions at the vet. The creative also features canines, but also cats and therapy dogs, and less conventional pets like iguanas and bunnies.

“We are looking at it from an authentic devoted pet lover relationship, rather than a specific pet,” says Idan Driman, VP of marketing at Pet Valu, who adds that the retailer provides products not just for dogs and cats, but for small animals too. Driman tells strategy that being true to the brand vision, includes all the realities that devoted pet lovers face, and driving a stronger, emotional connection with a broad and diverse target.

And it’s meant to drive awareness that the retailer is not just a ubiquitous 600-store retail presence but also has community connections too.

The campaign, created with agency supports from Arrivals + Departures, True Media and Tempo Digital, builds on the message developed during the retailer’s summer Pride-related activation, driving a more personal connection through the unconditional love rescue dogs show their owners, through the lens of the special bonds adoption has created for LGBTQ+ people.

Targeting the breadth of pet owners emphasized the need to break down silos between creative and media buying, and to work with all the teams together for a more cohesive seamless approach. With each platform, there’s a different way to tell a story, Driman says.

The “Love Lives Here” campaign will run as 15- and 30-second spots on national TV and YouTube, as well on social and digital ads. In OOH, the brand is tapping into the community aspect by showcasing pictures submitted from pet lovers from across Canada. In TV, there will also be more of an integration-focused element on CBC show Strays, Breakfast Television’s “Furry Fridays” segments and “Dog Walking Forecasts” on Global newscasts in Toronto and Vancouver.

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According to Driman, the retailer is doing its best to capture the whole customer journey with different messages at all levels of the funnel, which includes connected TV, Pinterest and Spotify. He says it’s also about reminding pet owners that the retailer is there for them, especially as back-to-work is gradually ramping up and consumers are needing to re-think pet-care schedules.

Ad spend, he says, is a bit higher for this effort, given its breadth of media offerings.

According to StatsCan data, while the pet population in Canada has increased from only 27.5 million pets in 2016 to 27.9 million pets in 2020, retail sales of pet food in Canada has increased by a 5.8% CAGR in the same time period, going from $3.4 billion in 2016 to Can$4.2 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach $5.3 billion by 2025.