Use cats to promote services and products designed for single women e.g. insurance

A research study indicates that cats can effectively be used in what they call “prevention-focused” products and services whereas dogs are better employed to help promote services and products which are “promotion-focused”. The latter are products and services such as stock investment and sports cars whereas the former are services such as insurance and mutual fund investments.

Vanquis Bank use a cat to market their credit cards
Vanquis Bank use a cat to market their credit cards directed I would argue at single mums with credit problems. Image in the public domain.
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My interpretation is that prevention focused products are those products which are suited to people with a cautious approach to life while promotion focused products and services are more about taking risks and will appeal more to risktakers. I state that this is my interpretation because, the report on the study is difficult to interpret πŸ˜‰.

I can see the reasoning behind this though. But please know that I have not read the entire study. I’ve just read the abstract and the conclusion at the end. The reason? It is far too long!

The reasoning in my view is that cats are more likely to be linked to independent-minded single women who are predisposed to being more cautious than average. They are intelligent and sensible and surviving on their own and in doing so are inherently cautious. And also, perhaps, single mums.

Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum, there are men who are more predisposed to risk taking and they prefer dogs. If you link dogs to products which are built around risk-taking in one way or another you are going to enhance those products and services through that linkage. I think my interpretation is correct.

The researchers believe that their work offers “novel implications to marketeers”. They believe that marketeers e.g. those employed in the advertising sector and PR, should consider “crafting their advertising messages differently or recommending different products and services when they target consumers depending on their pet exposure situations”. You can see what I mean by being difficult to understand 😒. I don’t want to be overly critical but I think they could have written the report in a more understandable English.

They suggest that when advertising “promotion-focused goals” marketeers should use dogs and “dog-featured stimuli”. This marketing will be directed at dog owners, as I understand it.

And conversely, they should use cats in advertising and marketing when focusing on “prevention-focused goals such as losses and non-losses”. In this instance they are targeting or pursuing cat owners.

An example would be Vanquis Bank which used a cat to promote their credit cards. Vanquis is owned by Provident Financial Group, a business which loans to people who can’t get credit in the normal way. I suspect that they are targeting single mums with their credit cards. This is why they are using a cat to “walk tall” (see image at top of page). They are probably playing on the independence and ability to survive of the domestic cat to enhance the marketing of their services to women. Women are predisposed to liking cats as they sometimes perceive them as babies.

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Developed countries have citizens that can reasonably be divided into two groups: cat and dog owners. And their numbers are very considerable as mentioned in the study. They state that “pets are prevalent and play important roles in consumers’ daily lives”. And in America they state that you will find a companion animal in 84.6 million homes. They state that 68% of US households have a pet with dogs and cats obviously being the most common with 48% of US households (60 million homes) owning “at least a dog and 37% of US households (47 million homes) owning at least a cat”.

This is a very large market and the use of dogs and cats in marketing and advertising can be highly effective when used along the lines as they suggest.

They state that the objective of the research was to examine “how pets may influence consumers’ judgements, decisions and behaviours”. Their research focused on “the effects of exposure to pets” such as “viewing ads featuring a dog or cat as the spokescharacter”. They wanted to see how such experience “influences consumers’ judgement and decision-making through the lens of regulatory focused theory”.

The study: THE PET EXPOSURE EFFECT: EXPLORING THE DIFFERENTIAL IMPACT OF DOGS VERSUS CATS ON CONSUMER MINDSETS by LEI JIA, XIAOJING YANG and YUWEI JIANG*. It is published on the Journal of Marketing website.

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