Marketing has often been associated with audience pandering — providing gratification for the desires of others, but not much else. Pandering is often looked upon negatively, as something pointless that, in the end, only benefits the panderer. But it can go both ways. Pandering can indeed be positive — for the content curators, the end users and, yes, even marketers acting as a liaison between the two.
Over the past few years, cute animal videos (cat videos specifically) have become a “thing” that people simply can’t get enough of them. Pet sites like The Pet Collective, Paw Nation, and Animalist were created to ride on the coattails of this pet popularity. It’s hard to deny that these sites were developed to simultaneously create revenue while serving the desires of those who spend hours watching cat videos. These sites are the very definition of pandering. But still, is that a bad thing?
So, why does pandering work out for these pet sites?
Unique AND Useful Content
Paw Nation, The Pet Collective and Animalist are popular for a number of reasons — not just because their sites are chock full of cats and dogs doing adorable, silly things for the camera. All the images and videos they share are carefully crafted in-house and presented in unique, creative ways — very rarely recycling other people’s content — which makes it difficult for audiences to become bored. The Pet Collective, known for its parody videos, have made many Internet dwellers squee with original live streams of small animals being freakin’ adorable.
These sites give folks that warm and fuzzy feeling inside and act as advocacy resources for their fanbase. All three sites answer common pet questions through various outlets (video, images, and social media), and they’re fantastic resources for those looking into pet adoption — a cause they’re all equally passionate about. They’re generous with their information because they care as much as you do.
Great for Advertisers
These sites appeal to a vast audience and thus see heavy traffic (especially if their content is shared on sites like Huffington Post), but they still greatly depend on their target audiences for recurring visits, impression boosts ,and social shares. Much like The Pet Collective, businesses providing products and services also rely on a target audience. It isn’t always the case, but many of the videos posted on Pet Collective and Animalist open with advertisements for cat treats, canine gum disease, and even Hanes T-shirts.
These sites have become remarkable outlets for pet companies to showcase their products and become great content marketers themselves. In the past year, Friskies has done an upstanding job of creating fun, cute and entertaining content. It doesn’t directly relate to their products, but their memorable content will lead viewers to tie the experience back to the brand.
@Friskies I knew you understood me. Zippy does too. Knocks these bags over constantly. 😀 pic.twitter.com/wLIIb2BqtM
— Felicia Savage (@KittyHasFleaz) October 15, 2013
And did I mention that they also host their own aptly named award ceremony?
In the end, Pet Collective-esque sites and advertising campaigns probably are “pandering” to the pet lovers of the world who go gaga over anything cute and fuzzy. But when audience desires are answered by a brand’s helpful or entertaining content, doesn’t everyone win?