Who knew adorable, furry faces would turn out to be such great spokespeople? Pet influencers (aka “petfluencers”) are teaming up with brands to promote everything from travel to video games.
The allure of these petfluencers is pretty obvious—they’re fun to fuss over and animals can’t help but be authentic. Since they can’t technically speak and most lack opposable thumbs, petfluencers won’t post something that conflicts with a brand partner’s message, either.
Many of the most famous animal celebrities are rescues—adding a rags-to-riches backstory that helps audiences empathize with them.
Tuna, known to his fans as TunaMeltsMyHeart, is a rescue dog with an exaggerated overbite. He now has a book and over two million followers across all his social channels. His sweet face has attracted brand partners such as 1 Hotels, The Body Shop and BarkBox as he and his owner travel across the globe.
“Since Tuna is the epitome of the underdog, most people advocate for him and adore him for his endearing qualities,” says the dog’s official website.
Just like their human counterparts, Petfluencers are in high-demand, have agents and make public appearances.
The New York-based talent agency Dog Agency represents celebrity social media animals and has worked with some of the internet’s most famous petfluencers, including Chloe the Mini Frenchie and Toast, the spaniel with the eternally stuck-out tongue. Agency owner Loni Edwards says that petfluencers outperform humans in terms of likes, comments and posts going viral. They also do more than just sell dog food.
“The majority of the brands we work with are human-facing brands,” Edwards told Forbes.” They span verticals such as travel, fashion, makeup, cleaning products and movie studios amongst others.”
During EA’s 2017 Gamescom press conference, world-famous Pomeranian Jiffpom helped announce the addition of pets to The Sims 4. It wasn’t the little guy’s first foray into video game promotion, either—the well-trained pooch starred in a commercial for EA’s Bejeweled last year.
Menswear Dog, a Shibu Inu named Bodhi, models high-end brands for humans. What started out as a joke post by his owner turned into a canine modeling career that lands photo shoots for Gucci, Levis, Next Menswear and more.
Just as with any influencer partnership, staying authentic means not endorsing products that you wouldn’t use yourself—or in this case, the petfluencer.
Samson, a Golden Retriever and Poodle mix with over 168,000 followers on Instagram, was offered a paid deal with Purina Dog Chow, but his owner declined because he wouldn’t eat the food.
Whether it’s a dog, cat, raccoon, pig or other animal, petfluencers entertain with their antics and by just being themselves. When that animal’s brand aligns with a product or service, any pet can become a marketer’s best friend.