• Jerry

Marketing to a more sophisticated palette

There’s no question that today’s consumers are a much more sophisticated lot. It seems everywhere you turn, men and women are constantly clutching their latest digital toy in one hand, and either a gourmet coffee drink or a $4 bottle of tap water in the other.

I find myself falling victim to these choice choices. And not just when it comes to dressing and feeding myself. (All said as I’m sipping my Starbucks coffee with my new Palm Pre sitting on the desk.) Like every parent who insists on dressing their little ones only in Baby Gap, I find myself spoiling my “children.”

Sure, it’s easy to justify the drawer full of dog toys. And the 4 different collars/harnesses with matching leads hanging by the back door. (I’ll even reluctantly admit to having tons more toys and accessories bagged and on the shelf in the garage.)

But our biggest indulgence of late is what we choose to put in their bowls.

Take a walk through any pet store or look on any grocery pet food aisle and you’ll be inundated with variety. But, just like those parents who believe only Baby Gap will do for their child, we spoil our girls.

Why, just this morning, breakfast consisted of Stella & Chewy’s organic (and certified safe) freeze-dried goose and duck liver that I lovingly revived with some hot water, and then mixed into the California Natural dry kibble (sweet potato and herring). But, oh no, it didn’t just stop there. I also pumped one good pump of wild caught salmon oil, because nothing says I care about my girls like an added dose of Omega 3 fatty acids.

As the gal who owns our local pet supply store stated, these girls should have one helluva coat. Well, of course, that’s our intent. And we’ll see how it all works once they’ve been on the new diet for a bit.

This is definitely not the food I recall from my childhood, when the most exotic things I remember were the Gaines burgers that I think I was fonder of than the dogs. (Yes, I am told that, apparently when I was but a wee toddler, I was known to get to the dog’s food bowl before they did. I’m just saying…..)

But the marketers of these newfangled pet foods know when they are going in a good direction. Even mainstays like Purina and Pedigree are getting into the mix with their own offerings of “premium” or “all natural” choices.

But every time I open a can of Merrick’s “Grammy’s Pot Pie” or “Cowboy Cookout,” I have to wonder who I’m dishing this up for? Is it really for my girls? Or is it for me?

At least I can admit that it looks a hell of a lot more appetizing than those pathetic Gaines burgers that used to catch my toddler eye.

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