Want to Unleash the Next Best Seller? Think Like a Dog

Why Not Chew Toys and Flea Collars for People?

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Pet owners, I know your animals are cherished members of the family. What they aren't, however, are neurotic, 21st century Americans. For instance, they do not need Fortifido fortified doggie water.

Humans don't need fortified water either, but that's another story. As reported in this magazine, Cott Corp. has introduced the "first-ever fortified water for pets," in flavors ranging from spearmint to peanut butter to parsley.

Would you introduce a fortified water for humans in pork, beef or pizza-from-the garbage flavor? No. So lay off the parsley flavor for dogs, Cott. Dogs don't do garnishes.

Dogs also don't do the whole weight thing. That's why their tails wag. And yet, one of the pet-food companies recently started distributing doggie Body Mass Index kits to vets.

"We know that trends in the pet category quickly follow trends in the human category," Cott's director-innovation for North America, Charles Calise, said. But that's the problem. There are designer clothes for dogs, as well as gourmet dinners and videos. What they really need is less stuff and more time outside, playing.

Just like kids.

Dogs (and kids) are getting the short end of the stick, when they should just be getting the stick, period. But here's the big surprise. There is huge potential on the flip side: marketing doggie products to humans.

I took a little stroll around Petco and dug up some ideas:

Chew toys for the rest of us
Dogs have a heap of toys to gnaw on. Us? Zero.

Why not? We love beef jerky. We love gum. Why doesn't someone combine them already? A nice, beefy-tasting, low-cal chew toy would curb our meat cravings and last a long time. Sell it as a diet aid! I've even got a name for it: The Human-Chu (rhymes with Fu Manchu).

OK. So work on a name.

Snacks that brush our teeth
"Tartar Treats" are just one of the many hard biscuits a la Milk-Bones that clean dogs' teeth while they eat. A bunch of the brands are even shaped like toothbrushes. So why not make these for kids? "Go eat your biscuit!" sure beats "Go brush your teeth!"

Flea and tick collars
Everyone's terrified of Lyme disease, but only pets get to wear protection. That's dumb. We humans need flea and tick ankle-bracelets. Our naked ankles are catnip (so to speak) to ticks anyway. Why should we spend our summers spraying on Off when we could just wear a couple of these collar things?

Roasted-beef-flavor sauce
Pour this Iams sauce on your dog's food, and suddenly it all tastes like roast beef. Think what it could do for tofu.

International Veterinary Science makes disposable wipes that clean and shampoo dogs that are "difficult to bathe." Not only does that sound like pretty much every dog, it sounds like pretty much every child. Imagine a no-rinse wipe that you could rub all over your young 'uns that even cleans their hair. Saves time! Water! Tears! Sanity!

Name tags
Dogs wear these, people don't. Big mistake. Dogs don't have to greet each other by name. We do. If we all wore our names on easy-to-read charms, think how much easier all social interactions would become. "This is Jim and his lovely wife ... uh ... Spanky!"

See? Great things await. Even a movie starting an entrepreneurial dog would be fun. Go fetch.
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