Havas Helia Cirencester


How do we recruit new pet owners, with a higher lifetime value, to the 8 million strong Pets at Home loyalty scheme (VIP)?

Demonstrate how Pets at Home empathises with the emotions, anxieties and needs of new pet owners as they welcome a new friend into their home.

19% of new dog owners do no research at all before taking on their pet (YouGov, 2018) - a costly decision considering the first few months of pet ownership can be an emotionally draining time – full of both excitement and joy as well as anxiety, confusion and surprise.

But even for those that want to learn more, finding and navigating information you can trust is a minefield. You have to dig around (sometimes on all fours); guidance is contradictory; and it’s hard to know what’s reliable. This all contributes to people feeling unsettled at what should be a happy time for pet owners when establishing an important new relationship.

Our Meaningful Brands research framework helped us gain an understanding of these soon-to-be pet owners to sniff out: 1) the channels they’d use for research; 2) what influenced their decisions; and 3) the biggest causes of anxiety in the first weeks of their pet’s arrival.

Unpacking the challenge, we were also cognisant of millennials being one of the fastest growing and largest overall segment of pet owners (over 40% growth between 2010 and 2016), which presented opportunities to leverage mobile-first and social content to push our expertise and empathy further.

Idea and approach:
Our campaign needed to demonstrate a deep understanding of the challenges and emotions at play in those early days of pet ownership, and the experience of introducing a new friend to their new home and family.

By doing so, new pet owners would see the brand as a trusted and empathetic guide at an all-important time, giving us best opportunity to drive behaviour change and increase the long term value of these VIP members.

In the first phase of the campaign, we drove awareness of the VIP Puppy and Kitten clubs with messages such as: ‘snuggle up and save on selected puppy products’. We acknowledged the likelihood of new pet owners having questions and invited them to join the VIP Puppy/Kitten club for exclusive advice, as well as offers that they and their pet would love.

We launched ads in publications including The Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mail, plus radio on DAX. And we made it easy to discover the Pets at Home new-pet tips and advice through search-optimised content and a Guardian online partnership.

Digital display and social channels were used to drive awareness but were also followed-up with our second phase of the campaign.

This retargeted potential customers with more pointed assets that focused on the benefits of joining the VIP Puppy and Kitten clubs. For example: ‘join our free VIP Kitten club today – you’ll receive a free copy of The Little Book of Kitten, which includes vouchers for 10% off in store and a free bag of food.’

Social assets combined static and video content.

All these executions took owners to a bespoke campaign microsite, where they’d find extra info and helpful ideas and could sign up to become a VIP Puppy or Kitten club member.

We showed newbie owners that, with VIP Puppy/Kitten club, they can overcome their anxieties and become the best pet parents.

It was all about letting them know they had a trusted friend – the kind of friend who only gives the very best advice. Results show that this was a message new pet owners were more than happy to lap up.


Unique reach: 5,175,677
Microsite visits: 68,017
New VIP club members: 2,261
Cost per Acquisition: £36.56


  • Pets at HomeClient
  • Aaron MillerDesign Lead
  • Aidan JonesMidweight Designer
  • Alex ThomaPlanning Director
  • Cheryl FitchettExternal Comms Marketing Manager
  • Danielle BaileySenior Copywriter
  • Havas heliaClient Partner
  • Jenny JonesRetail Experience Marketing Manager
  • Jessica RoseHead of CRM
  • Jimmy ThompsonFreelance Copywriter
  • Kate DaviesDigital Marketing Acquisition Manager
  • Kerry NichollsHead of Marketing
  • Havas heliaSenior Account Director
  • Lynne SmithProofreader
  • Mark ClarksonHTML5 Banner Lead
  • Ryan SwantonJunior Designer
  • Tanis WardSenior Account Manager
  • Tim DowlingHead of Digital Marketing
  • Tom SulleySenior Art Director
  • * Mike WatsonCreative Director
  • * Havas HeliaAccount Director
  • * Mark ChaterAssociate Creative Director
  • * David WallClient Partner
  • * Magda BrzdakJunior Planner
  • * Gavin WillisSenior Account manager
  • * Ruan MilborrowSenior Copywriter
  • * Lucy HeslopSenior Account Director
  • * Jon McWeeExperience Lead
  • * Matthew FitzsimonsHead of Planning

Pets at Home: New Pet Integrated Awareness Campaign