RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Chewy.com vs. Petco

Discussion
Source: Petco - "Saving Up"
Dec 11, 2018
George Anderson

The first four weeks of RetailWire’s Christmas Commercial Challenge has advanced TJX Companies, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target into the finals. This week, we line up pet category competitors Chewy.com (owned by PetSmart) and Petco.

Many Americans, particularly those without children at home, see their “fur babies” as central to their family lives and, as such, lavish them with gifts during the holiday season. A recent survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute found that Americans plan to spend an average of $237.37 on their pets for the holidays. A similar study by Saint Leo in 2015, found that Americans planned to spend $98.97 on their pets.

Dr. Keith Jones, associate professor of marketing at Saint Leo University, said that total spending on pets is expected to top $86 billion for the 2018 calendar year.

“The top three categories in spending are food, veterinary services, and supplies [which includes toys and novelties]. The 45-to-54-year age group makes up about 26 percent of the pet store market followed by the 55-to-64-year group [22.8 percent, based on various pet industry reports],” he said.

Chewy.com, the second largest seller of pet products online (Amazon is first), promotes wish fulfillment in its “All I Want For Christmas” commercial. The 30-second spot features three dogs eagerly anticipating what they’ll find under their respective Christmas trees.

Petco’s “Saving Up” tells the story of a young boy, a dog and a selfless act. The short film, which runs 90 seconds, has nearly 5.7 million views on YouTube.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your critique of the Christmas spots from Chewy.com and Petco? Which retailer does a better job of connecting with its core customers while reaching out to new shoppers with its Christmas spots?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Two choices that are difficult for me, the dog lover, as my dog is sitting next to me now. "
"A good test would be to show the commercial to consumers once and then ask them later if it was an ad for Target, PetSmart, Amazon, Chewy, or Petco."
"I liked them both, but the Petco story gets my vote, because the story and delivery were so sweet...Petco will reach far beyond their client base."

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8 Comments on "RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Chewy.com vs. Petco"


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Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

Oh my! Two choices that are difficult for me, the dog lover, as my dog is sitting next to me now. I liked Chewy.com. It was good and made me remember who the company was. But then along came Petco and tore me up. Yes, I shed a tear. I admit it. But it was more than the little boy working for a bicycle and getting a dog with a disability. It was the heart of the little boy doing something to assist the puppy. This is one I will not forget. Petco is my choice this week.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

So Petco had to throw the three-legged dog into the mix! That tugs at the heart strings for sure. However, the Chewy spot was clever, concise and really brought out the spirit of the holidays for me. It’s a lot harder to tell a great story in 30 seconds vs. 90 and Chewy delivered so that gets my vote.

Carlos Arambula
BrainTrust

Both commercials do a good job of connecting with their core customers.

They do a great job in bringing in new customers to the category, but not necessarily to their brand. Ultimately you could switch the branded end-frames in the commercials and nothing will be lost, or gained.

All pet product retailers will benefit from these two spots. Both commercials clearly understand pet lovers, but they fail to connect the emotions of the season to their particular brand. The Petco commercial resorts to using their logo on the bottom right corner, but again, simply replacing it with a bullseye makes it a Target commercial. Likewise with simply replacing the chewy.com box with Amazon’s iconic box.

A good test would be to show the commercial to consumers once and then ask them later if it was an ad for Target, PetSmart, Amazon, Chewy, or Petco.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
BrainTrust

I liked them both, but the Petco story gets my vote, because the story and delivery were so sweet. I expect both will connect to core customers, but Petco will reach far beyond their client base.

James Tenser
BrainTrust

I sure love our two rescue mutts — Roux-Garou the Cajun Tiger and Rodney Dangerdog — and we spend plenty nourishing them and taking care of their health, but we know they don’t “get” the holiday spirit. What makes them happiest are human attention, exercise and tasty treats (not necessarily in that order).

So please forgive me if I stand outside looking in at these two holiday ads and mildly resist the moniker, “pet parent.” Both spots are charming, and each tugs at the heart strings in its own way. While I appreciate the boy-rescues-dog story presented in the Petco animation, Chewy’s portrayal of dog-actors seems more effectively focused on influencing owners to indulge their happy pets.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

90 seconds allows Petco to tell a great story. Works well on YouTube but how would it get cut to make a 30 second TV spot?

Chewy is my choice. Cute story in a 30 second format. However, agree with Carlos: other than a couple shots of their name, it could have been another pet retailer’s spot.

Seth Nagle
BrainTrust

Both great commercials, Chewy does a great job subtly displaying their product assortment to give the viewer an opportunity to see all things Chewy.

Petco’s commercial although warm never seems to connect directly with the brand. However, if Petco is running an entire marketing campaign around this story and there’s more to come, then I’ll go with Petco. If not, I’d say Chewy hands down.

Jeff Miller
BrainTrust

Both are quality and use the best part of connection to our pets — the deep emotional tie — as the core message. However, as much as I like the Petco call to action about donating something to a pet in need, I think the Chewy.com ad works better as a commercial that will drive site visits, new customer acquisition and purchases.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Two choices that are difficult for me, the dog lover, as my dog is sitting next to me now. "
"A good test would be to show the commercial to consumers once and then ask them later if it was an ad for Target, PetSmart, Amazon, Chewy, or Petco."
"I liked them both, but the Petco story gets my vote, because the story and delivery were so sweet...Petco will reach far beyond their client base."

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