Mess and Merriment Help Chewy Stand Out at Christmas


Pets Aren't Just Pets, They're More: Unbridled Joy


Chewy’s “Pet’s Aren’t Just Pets: They’re More” campaign launched earlier this year on the back of the insight that people don’t see their pets just as animals. They’re companions, confidants, and close friends. They’re also, as the brand’s new Christmas ad shows, deeply but lovably chaotic.

This is the messiest festive ad of the year – a household in holiday disarray and all eyes on the culprit, an adorable looking dog. Fortunately, being a talking dog, he can explain himself. Or rather he can’t, as he has no memory of his actions after the fateful moment when he opened the Chewy box…

Chewy’s choice to make its holiday commercial a piece of rapid-fire sketch comedy is a bold one, which helps the ad stand out amidst the tinsel tide of Christmas ads. It also gives it solid replay value – there are jokes you might only catch the second or third time around. And it means the ad can end on a laugh line after delivering its main commercial message about cheap prices. That gives it a “peak-end” that helps the commercial land emotionally.

Even so an ad which risks negative emotion with scenes of household disarray is a risk but it’s paid off for Chewy. They post a very strong 4.7-Star Rating on Test Your Ad, one of the best scores we’ve seen so far this US holiday season. Even better at a time of year when impulse buys are vital, the short-term Spike Rating is exceptional.

What makes Chewy’s ad – produced in-house – such a success? Of course a very cute dog doesn’t hurt them, but it’s not just the dog. The script is strong, and it underlines how useful dialogue can be to grab attention in an ad. As Orlando Wood shows in Lemon and Look out, dialogue establishes context and a relationship between characters – things which win the “broad beam” attention of the right hand side of the brain. These right-brained elements are associated with greater brand-building effectiveness. So is humor, which is another reason the Chewy’s ad works so well.

Pet retail and pet accessories are a crowded market, and typically the ads from pet brands score well because – no surprise – they get to show off pets. Chewys stands out though by doing something a little more creative than the usual pet montage and by cutting through the noise of festive ads with its witty, effective work.

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