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Pedigree's Puppy Bowl gets leg-up on Super Bowl through VR

The collaboration marks the 12th consecutive year Pedigree has aligned itself with the Puppy Bowl ? Animal Planet?s yearly showcase on Super Bowl Sunday that pits adoptable dogs against each other in a football-themed competition. This year, Pedigree will sponsor a "Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality" experience ? giving viewers a "pup's-eye-view" of the action on the field ? as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the training process.

?The opportunity for Pedigree seems less about the evolving Puppy Bowl into a serious event and more about evolving it into a tech event,? said Amit Avner, CEO of Taykey. ?Over the past several months we've seen VR and AR technologies go mainstream with regard to the online audiences buzzing about these technologies. 

?We've also seen the potential of VR and AR powered campaigns to generate incremental conversation online, amplifying the impact of the advertiser's investment.?

Puppy Bowl
As part of the campaign, the Pedigree brand has co-created two new videos ? Heart of a Champion and Road to Gridiron Glory ? with Animal Planet that show the pups on their journey to becoming Puppy Bowl champs, from training, to recovery and a healthy diet. The videos will be aired on Animal Planet and also shown on the Pedigree and Animal Planet social channels.

The partnership will also recruit the help of a few prominent NFL talents, including Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice and free agent quarterback Aaron Murray.

The ?Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality Experience? is the first immersive engagement for the Puppy Bowl.  Viewers can watch the game through the vantage of Buttons, one of this year's star puppy players.

Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl serves as a platform for pet adoption and includes a full roster of 78 puppies from 34 animal shelters and rescue organizations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. 

The pupletes will hit the air on both coasts when Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl premieres on Sunday, February 5 from 3:00 p.m. ? 5:00 p.m. ET, a welcome primer before Super Bowl festivities begin.

Pet sector
In a similar vein to products that meant for young children, marketing to pets generally takes a more organic tack, especially when considering social strategies, as pet owners are more than happy to consume and share pet-related content. The principle was on display last year when Purina launched its #DogThanking initiative in advance of the National Dog Show (see story). 

But that is not to say the sector is not competitive when it comes to retail opportunities: A PetSmart executive at Mobile FirstLook 2017 described the company?s path from Luddite refusal to innovate to leading its competitors on the mobile platform, outlining its dedication to a holistic omnichannel presence in light of the pet sector?s demands (see story). 

"The Pedigree brand is dedicated to helping dogs find their forever homes through adoption, and Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl is a fun and playful platform to help raise awareness and support this shared cause," said Melodie Bolin, brand manager at Pedigree. "This year, Pedigree is giving viewers the total puppy experience with behind-the-scenes training videos and a virtual view of the field through Buttons' eyes. 

?We hope these adorable perspectives of the game will help pique viewers' interests in bringing that puppy experience into their homes by adopting a pup of their own."