Cause Marketing for Pets with Cancer

Dogs and cats contract cancer at about the same rate as humans, but while an estimated 577,000 Americans will die of cancer in 2012, some 14 million cats and dogs will die from or (in many cases) with the disease. The treatment options for pets is narrower than with people and many pet parents euthanize their pets rather than treat them.

To raise awareness of the options and to generate money for pet cancer research Petco, the pet supply chain, and the Blue Buffalo Foundation, the charity affiliate of the pet food company of the same name, celebrated its third annual Pet Cancer Awareness Month in May 2012 demolishing its fundraising goal of $1 million. The effort generated $1.5 million.


The money in 2012 will go to 10-year research study with 2,500 dogs to “determine the genetic, nutritional and environmental risk factors for cancer and other diseases that affect dogs.”

Here’s how the promotion worked: Petco and Blue Buffalo invited people to make a donation to the cause either online or in any of its 1,000 + stores. Petco also sold a blue-colored version of the ubiquitous silicone wristband. As an incentive, Blue Buffalo offered several dollars-off coupons from this FSI on the left that dropped, I believe, in April 2012.

That’s a pretty old-school consumer packaged goods cause marketing promotion, versions of which have been around for more than 25 years.

While there’s no arguing with success, considering that the Internet was basically built for cute cat videos, I wonder why they didn’t include something like ‘Hovercat,’ the made-for viral-video that features ABC news reporter Dan Harris and meant to raise awareness for the ASPCA.

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