On Creativity through Jan. 1, we’ll be revisiting some of the brand ideas and campaigns that made 2019—and the last decade. Check back on AdAge.com in the new year for the full lists.
Best of 2019
Oddly, urine seems to be quite the muse for creative innovation. It was the centerpiece of Ikea’s unusual print ad from last year , and in 2019 it was the foundation of this remarkable outdoor campaign for Purina from McCann Paris. Digital billboards asked dog owners to let their pooches pee on them. They’d then analyze the waste for health problems and then inform the owners if their pet needed to get to the vet.
Purina, the Nestlé-owned pet product brand, is actually encouraging dogs to pee on its latest billboards in France—and there's a good reason for it. The billboards, created by McCann Paris, are built with a technology to analyze the dog's urine and detect health problems.
The technology uses pheromones to attract the dogs and get them to pee against the foot of the billboard, then runs a series of tests for health problems. The interactive screen will then either recommend a particular Purina diet, or actually recommend that their owner takes their dog to the vet for a check-up (research shows that more than a million dogs in France do not get taken for an annual vet visit).
The technology was created after more than two years of research by the Yncrea engineering school, in partnership with the veterinary clinic VetParis7 (see below for a video that explains more about how it works.) It can detect four different health problems: diabetes, kidney problems, urinary infection or cholesterol.
Véronique Herman, marketing manager specialist at Nestlé Purina Pet Care, says in a statement: “Purina’s objective is to provide simple and efficient solutions to improve the wellness of our pets. We wanted to raise awareness on the importance of veterinary check-ups, but also to offer a solution that fits in the daily lives of pet owners - the daily walk on the street or in the park."
This isn't the first time a marketer asked its consumers to urinate on an ad. Previously, Ikea famously created a print advertisement that invited customers to pee on it to determine if they were pregnant. Those who were would qualify for the brand's family discount.