Making a global brand feel local
Founded in 2011, Rover is currently the largest network of premium pet caretakers in the world. Rover recently entered the Canadian marketplace, but awareness remained low, with little brand consistency across markets.
Rover’s goal for the Canadian sector was to develop cohesive advertising that would drive awareness and promote pet owners to sign up for the service. They came to Electric Pen needing a test market campaign in Winnipeg. While Winnipeg is the seventh largest city in Canada and an up-and-coming area, it is slow to adopt the gig economy. Its low-tech, high-touch approach has residents unfamiliar with services such as Rover.
There was also a significant barrier to overcome; Winnipeggers are wary of big brands and prefer ones that feel local. Since pet owners are more likely to use services offered by their vets or regional companies, Rover needed to feel like a small, local brand to gain their trust.
1. It's All About the Pets
Adorable animals will always capture attention, but our focus was to find photos that were thoughtfully composed and aligned with our strategy.
2. Colors / Copywriting
The color palette was created for an Autumn campaign launch and to evoke a warm, homey feel. Each of Rover's services was highlighted while the corresponding body copy aimed for lighthearted wit.
Simplify is our primary message; supported by a smooth, handwritten font and a no-nonsense sans-serif.
With pets considered members of one’s family, we addressed how emotionally hard it is to leave them, whether to go out with friends for a couple hours or out of town for a week. Speaking to their pet’s well-being, we created a connection between the numerous everyday moments where someone requires pet care and aligned those with what Rover offers. Messages illustrated ways Rover can allow customers some freedom and provide comfort to their dog or cat through a capable, trustworthy sitter.
We used close-up images of the pet from the human’s point of view. This enabled potential customers to see themselves in the picture. Since being local is important to Winnipeggers, the messages emphasized that Rover pet sitters are part of the community, thereby lending a sense of familiarity.
Ads were designed to work across platforms—out-of-home (on bus panels, in the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport) and on social media—to generate awareness of its various services.
With no national competitor in Canada, Rover competes mainly with regional brick-and-mortar outfits and hyperlocal independents. Rover built an appreciation for a whole new service category in a market that was still coming into the gig economy workforce and its use of digital platforms. The success of the Winnipeg test campaign opened an opportunity for Rover to expand elsewhere in Canada.
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