The Challenge: For a quality pet food brand such as James Wellbeloved, with a trusted heritage in providing natural, healthy, hypo-allergenic animal products, this poses a challenge. The sector has attracted many new players, so getting James Wellbeloved’s message across to owners in such a noisy market isn’t easy. The Times already had an excellent relationship with James Wellbeloved thanks to a successful 2016 dog food partnership, which included a bespoke website and a series of print features. So, we were the natural choice in 2018 when it looked to expand its branded content to include both cats and dogs. Our challenge was to drive increased awareness of its premium products, which are not available in supermarkets.

The Solution

Pet owners love to share stories, pictures, tips and insider knowledge, and this trait resonates with the Times audience. Owning a cat or dog also instantly puts you in a club, where you have an automatic affinity with other pet owners.

We decided to use this emotional connection to produce a campaign fronted by pet-loving celebrities talking about what their pets means to them and how they make sure their cat or dog gets to reconnect with nature.

Alongside this, we featured a variety of content across online, print and video. We covered nutrition, pet obesity and dealt with nutrition-related issues such as allergies – all perfect material to ally with James Wellbeloved. We had articles on dog walks and cat games, and arranged for the brand to sponsor the popular Times editorial podcast Walking the Dog.

We interviewed four celebrities from very different fields with their pets, with the aim of maximising the appeal to readers. All were deeply committed to reconnecting their pets with nature, but had their own story to tell about being an animal owner:

Naturalist Chris Packham spoke movingly about how his poodle Scratchy saved him from depression and about their twice daily two-hour walks around the New Forest

TV presenter Dr Christian Jessen described how he makes sure his cheeky chihuahua Max stays fit and slim despite his love of treats

Singer Ella Eyre explained how she and her mum share care of her cats Frank and Edward to fit around her busy touring schedule

Model and actress Gemma Atkinson shared her favourite walks and admitted that she couldn’t imagine life without her two pups Ollie and Norman.

Expert advice, interviews, competitions and ideas – each of our content pieces was designed to engage, inform and inspire our readership while at the same time showing the important of quality nutrition.

The Results: Top line

  • A Successful Campaign

    A Successful Campaign

    Both statistically and anecdotally our campaign was successful. We generated a genuine emotional response and a high level of direct engagement from our audience. For Instance, Chris Packham’s interview delivered more than 2,000 social media reactions and hit 10,000 views in just four days. One reader posted: “We’ve recently found ourselves a one dog family instead of two and we all still miss him. Dogs bring so much to our lives. Made my eyes leak reading this.”

  • What We Delivered:

    What We Delivered:

    A total reach of 583,000 via our four print supplements 132,854 unique views across online content, a 32% over-delivery 305,038 views on tablet replication

  • The Direct Result

    The Direct Result

    As a result of our campaign, consideration of James Wellbeloved significantly increased – there was a 60 per cent uplift in readers who said they were likely to consider buying its products for their pets, and an impressive 73 per cent uplift in those who would recommend James Wellbeloved to their friends. In a post-campaign survey, an amazing four in five readers said they had taken some form of action – clicking on a link or visiting the Wellbeloved website – as a direct result of campaign exposure.