Petco's latest ad highlights the mental health of your fur babies

Ad from Droga5 debuts as workers start to return to offices, once again leaving their pets alone at home

Published On
Sep 09, 2021

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With many Americans returning to office work, pets—older animals as well as new recruits adopted during the pandemic—might be facing lonely days ahead. Petco, which recently rebranded itself as a health and wellness destination, is making pet mental health a focus in the coming months.

“All pets that have spent the last year at home with their families—they’ve had the best year of their lives,” says Katie Nauman, who was promoted to chief marketing officer last month following the departure of former CMO Tariq Hassan to McDonald’s. “But as families are shifting and evolving—going back to work, going to school, traveling or going to social gatherings—it’s disrupting the routines pets are used to, and because of that, we anticipate that pet mental health issues will accelerate at scale.”

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Today, the San Diego-based retailer released a new 45-second spot from creative agency-of-record Droga5. In the spot, which is part of the brand’s “It’s What We’d Want If We Were Pets” overarching campaign that envisions pets as humans, a man stares longingly out the window. “Everyone’s going back to work … and you’re going back to being alone again,” he says to himself, wondering if he should act out or be naughty. “No, you get Petco to help you make a plan for your mental health,” he says, adding “Who’s a well-adjusted boy?! I’m a well-adjusted boy!” The spot closes by showing the man in his true dog form.

While some companies have delayed their return-to-office plans following the unexpected rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, much of America is expected to be back in some kind of regular office environment by early 2022.

“The reality is the pandemic is not over, but people’s habits are changing,” says Nauman. “We want to make sure we’re getting ahead of it and helping people be prepared so their pets are not caught off guard.”

Petco recently conducted a survey that found that 72% of dog owners and 51% of cat owners believe their pets have exhibited symptoms of anxiety.

"The animals we live with essentially helped to care for us—providing companionship and cheer—in this time of the pandemic and social isolation,” said Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, a member of the Petco Pet Wellness Council and senior research fellow, adjunct associate professor and head of the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, in a statement supplied by Petco. “As our society shifts to spending less time at home, it is critical that we return the favor."

To that end, Petco is offering courses designed to help pet parents identify and cope with signs of anxiety in their pets. One training seminar, called “Well-Adjusted Dog: Preparing for Separation and Social Anxiety,” is free of charge, while a four-week course around separation anxiety costs $99. Petco is also hosting an Instagram Live session with actress Olivia Munn highlighting pet anxiety and Petco resources.

By servicing a growing group of consumers—40% more Americans adopted pets in 2020 over the previous year, reports show—Petco has seen its business explode. Last month, the retailer reported record revenue for its second quarter, generating $1.4 billion, a 19% rise over the year-earlier period. Petco reported net income of $75.1 million for the period, compared with $7.5 million from last year.

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