The role of branded content in creating a generation of purrfect pet parents

According to Hamsini Shivakumar and Khushi Rolania of Leapfrog Strategy Consulting, branded content that helps articulate the struggles of pet parenting in the form of infotainment is effective for creating strong connections with consumers

Hamsini Shivakumar
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The culture of keeping pets in contemporary India has completely transformed from how it used to be, even fifteen years ago. Pet culture is centred around the conception of the pet as the child of the household, with the pet parent deeply involved in its care. As a parent strives to keep their child happy, the pet parent's efforts, too, move in that direction.

Pets are no longer merely animals in the home; they are now considered a part of the family. This mindset shift has created a focus on premium pet products that ensure pets' comfort, nutrition, and overall well-being. The pet parent relies on the support system of the veterinarian, the food and accessory brand, and grooming and walking services. With a growing middle class and rising disposable incomes, pet owners are more willing to invest in high-quality products for their furry companions.

The notion of dogs and cats as pets is relatively new. While animals are a part of the traditional Indian household, they were seen merely as cattle and were not welcome indoors. Dogs earlier had distinct titles of guard dogs or cattle dogs.  The carryover of brahminical notions of purity and pollution ensured that the place of the dog or cat was outside rather than inside the home.

Stray dogs were viewed as aggressive and violent, hence feared. Now, they have been renamed as Indies and people are being taught to recognize their different breeds.

Including the pet inside the home is a Western import, and its dissemination in the Indian context marks the entry of the Indian family as a member of a globalised world. As urbanisation takes hold, more people live in nuclear families and apartment complexes. This has led to a surge in pet ownership, as pets are seen as companions who fit into smaller living spaces.

Content made by pet food and pet care brands and popularised via social media draws from and reinforces the pet's position in a home, often fueling the desire in people to experience pet companionship. Like human babies, pets are shown to have human emotions and needs.


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A post shared by Pedigree India (@pedigree_india)

This reel by Pedigree focuses on creating a separate identity for the indie dogs, who, as seen as opposed to the pedigree breeds, seem a homogeneous category. The brand attracts animal lovers through the encouragement to adopt these neglected dogs. By subtly attaching the brand's image to animal welfare causes, the brand connects with its followers well.

A Petter Life

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A post shared by A Petter Life (@apetterlife)

A Petter Life's Instagram page features several posts and reels on pet-parenting advice and tips, creating a practical guide for pet parents. This post focuses on cat nutrition and why Taurine is a must in their diet. The post reinforces the pet's position as a child and the need for a pet parent to focus on the pet's nutrition and overall well-being.

Heads Up For Tails

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A post shared by Heads Up For Tails (@headsupfortails)

Taking on the Barbie trend, this reel by HUFT calls on pet parents to dress their dogs like they would dress their babies in trendy clothing. The dog becomes a playmate of sorts for the pet parent, with several accessories in pink available to change her "Bark-bie" look. The pet is humanised by introducing a wardrobe that includes towels, jackets, bowties, and scarves.


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A post shared by (@supertails.official)

Supertails provides infotainment to animal lovers by showing them rare breeds of cats that they can buy or procure. This pet could be a prized possession for the potential pet parent, bringing fame to the family it belongs to. The pet child comes under the purview of social status, just like a human child's achievements can influence a family's image.


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A post shared by Mrunal Thakur (@mrunalthakur)

In the form of a "pawcast," this ad presents the dog Aaryan as a fellow actor to Mrunal Thakur, in another example of humanising the animal. The "pawcast" deals with the controversy of the dog is more than just a best friend to Mrunal and the hilarious leak of images to the "pupperazzi" detailing the relationship between Mrunal and Aaryan. The dog occasionally speaks of his love for Drools. Drools humanises the pet, with the dog articulating his needs and emotions. The pet parent is indirectly referenced in this video to grant autonomy to the dog's status as an individual.

Actionable insights

Branded content that helps articulate the struggles of pet parenting in the form of infotainment is effective for creating strong connections with consumers. Moreover, brands can also collaborate for animal welfare causes like adoption to generate awareness. Engaging storylines that grant autonomy to the pet as an individual with its feelings and needs are slowly becoming popular. Consumers are subtly encouraged to reiterate the pet's position as a child, to ensure its happiness through material products and services.

Some pet parents may have dietary restrictions for their pets due to religious beliefs, while others may have specific preferences because of the pet's breed or even underlying health conditions. Brands that respect and address these sensitivities can create a stronger connection with their target audience.

India's pet product business is booming, supported by changing lifestyles, shifting attitudes toward animals, and rising disposable incomes. Marketers who comprehend the emotional connection between pets and their owners and create content that hits home on a personal level are successful in this sector.

Brands can capitalise on this burgeoning market and solidify their position in the minds of pet owners all over the country by embracing creative strategies, individualised products, and a profound awareness of cultural nuances.

branded content Drools Hamsini Shivakumar Supertails Pedigree Leapfrog Strategy HUFT A Petter Life