Pedigree is building on the success of the SelfieStix campaign for its DentaStix oral health treat for dogs with the US launch next week of DentaStix Studios, which takes the idea of AR filters for dogs to a new level.

Machine learning enables the SelfieStix app to recognise and track a DentaStix in a dog’s mouth and then uses AR to replace that with, say, a bunch of flowers or a wand.

“We’re building in lots of fun and new functionality,” Jane Wakely, global CMO at Mars Pet Nutrition, told Behind the Winning Idea, WARC’s new daily show on Cannes Lions TV.

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The development is also a platform for the brand to be able to continue to adapt aspects of human behaviour for the canine world and embed for the long-term the insight that produced SelfieStix in the first place.

“It’s a humble piece of plastic … but it was a long time coming,” said Dan Wright, ECD at ColensoBBDO New Zealand, explaining the genesis of the product that clips onto a phone while holding a dog treat to ensure the animal’s attention while the owner takes a selfie of the two of them.

But while the team was making sure the SelfieStix could fit on any phone in the world, “the culture we were capitalising on moved,” he said. Snapchat filters took off and since the brand was “enabling human-dog moments in front of the camera,” Pedigree felt it should be giving dogs “all the good social media stuff humans have”.

But creating filters for dogs proved rather trickier than those for humans – dogs come in all shapes and sizes, their facial structure is far more varied and so facial recognition software for dogs had to be developed.

But the effort proved worthwhile, as 70% of people downloading the app captured and shared content; over 1 million filters were applied, the product rolled out in 32 markets and sales increased on average by 31%.

“The aim of DentaStix Studios is to extend the success of SelfieStix … but it embraces more of what humans get on the internet,” said Wright.

“We’ve got very big business ambitions for it,” Wakely added, pointing out that daily consumption of the product significantly reduces dogs’ oral healthcare issues.

“The best thing for a dog is to enjoy a treat every day but most pet parents don’t follow that regime,” she pointed out. “So the business objective is we use the creativity and the consumer engagement to also accelerate our effectiveness on the brand.”

Sourced from WARC