TONY – our new Petfluencer unit
by André Karkalis
Toni, a Dogue de Bordeaux/Labrador male, moved in with me 9 years ago. This was about the same time we were organising our first blogger events as an agency, and we still had to convince our customers of the added value.
Meanwhile, digital opinion leaders and multipliers have a new name, and we have initiated a four-digit number of co-operations with a great variety of influencers, on varying channels and in different industries. What started out as simple product placements, evolved to events, mutual trips and affiliate programs, right up to large, integrated campaigns. Thanks to the help of our INFLUENCER PERSONA strategy tool, we now develop target-oriented concepts.
Petfluencer make people’s hearts melt
About one year ago, our Munich unit won the pitch for the European budget of FURBO - a camera to watch your dog at home and give him commands and treats via smartphone. Apart from PR, the focus was on influencer marketing. Here, representing our most important co-operation partners throughout Europe: petfluencer channels that the pet owners manage for their pets, thereby inspiring their followers, especially on Instagram.
Their channels combine popular cat and dog content with the intimacy the influencers build with their fans. Like lifestyle influencers, pet owners provide insights into their lives that are extremely authentic and come with an added sympathy factor: furry friends that are sure to make viewers’ hearts melt.
We were so excited about the topic that we set up an additional unit at KARKALIS COMMUNICATIONS at the beginning of the year: TONY the petfluencer agency.
Our database currently has more than 1,000 four-legged friends from across Europe.
And we are delighted to say that we have succeeded at convincing great brands like Josera, Fressnapf, Furminator, Hunter, Dyson, and Vodafone of our idea in the past months, namely to combine the expertise of KARKALIS COMMUNICATIONS for brand communication and successful storytelling with petfluencer know-how and contacts.
Even when it comes to four-legged friends, we remain convinced that brands are best presented when they are part of a strong story. And companies outside of the pet industry can also benefit from this.
What is even more pleasing, is that we are allowed to create campaigns for our customers that go beyond pure product placements or, in the words of the trade magazine for the pet industry “branchenforum”: “Fressnapf has transformed Mother's Day into a Mistress's Day with the TONY petfluencer agency’s spectacular campaign, thereby setting new standards for future influencer campaigns.”
Thus, we have reason to celebrate. And that's exactly what we will do - together with petfluencers and sponsors from all over Germany. We will be hosting the first VIP events for digital pack leaders in September - the TONY beach parties at Schliersee, near Munich, and at Waldbad in Cologne-Dünnwald, including a red-carpet roll-out for party animals.
The GERMAN PETFLUENCER AWARDS
The highlight: In Cologne, we award the Oscar for four-legged friends - the GERMAN PETFLUENCER AWARDS. The awards go to the best dog blog, the best Instagram profile of a petfluencer and the best Instagram profile of a micro-petfluencer. In these three categories, an expert jury selects the winner. The award show will be moderated by RTL presenter Sandra Kuhn.
The jury meeting took place at the headquarter of JOSERA, the main sponsor, on the 26th of July. I was especially pleased about the presence of experts such as Germany's most famous dog photographer Christian Vieler and Veronika Rothe from the magazine DER HUND, Marketing manager, Stefan Seitz, from JOSERA petfood, and the popular presenter of the “hundkatzemaus” animal show, Diana Eichhorn.
Yet, what would petfluencers be without their followers? That's why the fourth award, which is presented in Cologne, is an audience award. Having started on August 1st, the voting is already the top theme of petfluencers on Instagram. Their followers are also enthusiastic about the campaign and are diligently casting their vote. The voting site www.germanpetfluencerawards.de already had more than 10,000 visitors - purely via recommendations - on the first day.
When I see the sincere enthusiasm in the followers’ stories and comments, I already look forward to further campaigns with our furry friends. Since we still have a so many ideas and, after all, TONY is still only a “puppy”.
By the way, Toni stays cool, despite the hustle and bustle. Only for a brief moment, he seemed slightly surprised when photographed for the beach party in his Hawaii shirt.
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