For more than 50 years, Affinity Petcare has manufactured petfood that supports the wellbeing of cats and dogs. Its product range includes brands like Ultima, Advance, Brekkies and Libra, which feature premium quality and nutrient-rich ingredients designed to improve pets’ quality of life. Sold in 70 countries, Affinity is the market leader in Spain and ranks sixth in the category globally.
Ultima, the main brand in Affinity, has been committed for years to taking care of cats and dogs with high-quality adapted nutrition developed by experts. The brand is also dedicated to promoting healthy and quality relationships between pets and pet parents. Among other initiatives, Ultima actively collaborates with partners, like ENPA in Italy and La SPA in France, that promote adoption.
The latest endeavor of the brand to foster healthy bonds between people and their pets has been the launch of the “More humans” campaign, which celebrates the power of animals in our lives. And it does so with an emotional story, of the relation of a father with his daughter, in which the real protagonists are animals and their power to awaken our most human emotions, transforming our lives and bringing out the better version of ourselves. And for this, they deserve the best in return. For Ultima this means, among other things, giving them high-quality nutrition, like Ultima pet food, which is at the centre of the advertisement.
Before launching the creative in Spain, France and Italy, Ultima wanted to ensure that the story would connect with pet owners and support long-term brand building in addition to driving sales in the short term.
Ultima worked with System1, The Creative Effectiveness Platform, to predict and improve the commercial impact of the “More Human” creative. System1’s Test Your Ad platform surveys the public to gain insight into how ads make people feel, as the more people feel, the more they buy. Test Your Ad derives a Star Rating for the ad based on viewers’ emotional responses. On the 5-Star scale, the higher ads score, the more brand-building potential they are predicted to have.
Testing at the animatic stage allowed Ultima to understand both short- and long-term potential, as well as pinpoint moments in the edit that work well and should be leveraged when producing a finished film, as well as those that may hinder emotional engagement.
System1 tested the ad with a nationally representative sample as well as separate samples of cat owners and dog owners. In Spain, the ad achieved an exceptional 5.8-Stars with the nat rep audience, and the maximum score of 5.9-Stars with both cat owners and dog owners.
In France, the creative secured a strong 4.1-Stars and an uplift among cat owners to 4.8 and an even higher jump among dog owners, again to the maximum 5.9-Stars. As only 1% of ads typically achieve 5-Stars, all of these results were impressive. And in Italy, it secured 5.8-Stars with the general public and the maximum score with cat owners.
Affinity then engaged with System1’s Guidance team to gain a greater understanding of the emotional journey of the campaign. System1’s second-by-second FaceTrace® technology collects the emotional responses of survey participants to showcase where during the ad people feel emotions like happiness, surprise, sadness and neutrality. Test Your Ad collects verbatims and has respondents highlight the intensity of their emotions.
The Expert Guidance session focused on several recommendations. These included shortening the finished film to achieve optimal engagement. While longer versions of an ad have more room to tell a detailed narrative, they also run the risk of losing the attention of viewers. Another recommendation was to optimise the end scene with the dad holding or playing with the animal he chooses to adopt.
“We believed we had a special story on our hands, but wanted to understand whether consumers, including pet owners, felt the same way,” said Arnau Clofent, Marketing Director at Affinity Petcare. “Testing the draft creative with real audiences and taking a deeper dive with System1’s Guidance team gave us the confidence to move forward with the advert.”
With these insights, Ultima moved forward with several cuts of the ad, including 90- and 45-second versions. The team also included a scene at the end showing the father smiling and holding his new pet cat. And Ultima took System1’s advice to continue cueing the brand upfront to help viewers recognize Ultima brand.
Thanks to a strong storyline and implementing these best practices, the 45-second Ultima ads scored 5.9-Stars (Spain) and 4.0-Stars (France), maintaining the brand-building potential that was achieved during the earlier phase of testing. The ads also perform well on Spike Rating, System1’s measure predicting short-term sales potential.
“Early testing helped us confirm we had a strong concept and gain a better understanding of how different audiences across different markets would react,” added Arnau Clofent. “In an increasingly dehumanized society, dogs and cats are capable of awakening our most sociable, most generous, most empathetic side. In short, animals have the power to make us more human, transforming our lives and bringing out our best version. That’s why at Ultima we want the best for them and we are committed to helping foster healthy, quality relationships with them, for a better life together”
"We believed we had a special story on our hands, but wanted to understand whether consumers, including pet owners, felt the same way. Testing the draft creative with real audiences and taking a deeper dive with System1’s Guidance team gave us the confidence to move forward with the advert."Arnau Clofent Marketing Director, Affinity Petcare