PetSmart debuts new brand platform as competition heats up
PetSmart would do anything for pets—that’s apparent in the retailer’s new brand platform and campaign rolling out this week. “Anything for Pets” is the first time in years that the Phoenix-based marketer has had one unifying tagline and brand promise, according to Will Smith, who joined as senior VP and chief marketing officer in late 2019.
“Now more than ever, with all that’s happened over the course of the last year, it’s important for customers to hear from us with a message that matters,” says Smith. “We’re not trying to be solely one thing, we’re trying to be that brand that caters to pet parents.”
In the 60-second anthem spot, a diverse group of pet owners—including customers of different ethnicities and abilities—are shown in activities such as walking a dog, feeding a fish, kissing a snake and even crooning to a lizard. The commercial is set to “I’d Do Anything” from the musical Oliver! Along with the spot, which will air in shorter clips on linear and broadcast, PetSmart will run social media and digital ads as well as shorter videos with DoorDash and Hill’s Science Diet, a vendor.
PetSmart created the campaign with Deutsch LA, which the retailer named agency-of-record last year. Shelley Lewis directed the spot.
Smith says that the new push is a “substantial” investment and that PetSmart is spending more this year on marketing than it did last year.
“It’s the beginning—we’re going to bring more and more energy to this over time in the coming weeks and months,” he says.
Of course, PetSmart’s new platform comes at a time when the pet industry is booming. Thanks to increased adoption rates during the pandemic as Americans sought lockdown companions, sales of pet products have surged recently. Last year, the pet industry saw total sales of $103.6 billion, a record high, and a 7% increase over 2019, according to the American Pet Products Association.
But more retailers are entering the industry. Last month, Macy’s said it would begin selling pet products.
“We have the liquidity and flexibility in our inventories to respond to customer needs in categories like toys, pet, food and wine, health and fitness, either through vendor direct or our owned inventory,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said on a recent earnings call.
PetSmart’s chief rival Petco has also been ramping up its offerings by adding a subscription service and identifying its company as a health and wellness brand rather solely a retailer.
Yet as vaccinated consumers return to the office and other pre-pandemic activities, some reports have emerged around pets being brought back, or “returned” to animal shelters. Smith says that is something that PetSmart is aware of and working on with its charity arm, PetSmart Charities.
“Yes, pet surrendering is escalating again, but even before the pandemic, we were way out in front in terms of working with shelters to find homes for pets, and all that means is that our core work on the charity side just picks back up again at the pace it was,” he says.