Millennials now have a new career option to chase. It’s called being an influencer. It seems relatively easy to achieve too. Just leave your Instagram account open, stick your butt out a little and click a few pictures. It will invite some creeps who will leave thirsty comments on that picture but it doesn’t matter since it builds engagement. Soon enough, you’ll have brands come up to you to endorse their products. They’ll pay you good money too. Nope, we aren’t talking about people. Welcome to the world of pet influencers.
Jiff Pom, a brown Pomeranian, is one of the biggest pet influencers with over nine million followers on Instagram and a line of merch and high-end advertising deals. Similarly, Doug the Pug has a massive following of over three million and endorses companies like Mercedes-Benz by just striking a pose in front of the car. Dogs are not the only pet influencers out there. Nala the cat, Juniper the fox, Jill the squirrel and Hamlet the piglet are also a big part of this pet influencer culture.
Apart from high-end companies, pet influencers are also a great medium for smaller businesses to promote themselves. For example, a pet toy manufacturer or a packaged meat-supplier can easily be endorsed by a dog by just simply posting a video of the dog chewing on their meat products. But the endorsements are also done in other creative ways by capitalizing on newer ongoing trends. A perfect example would be ASMR videos. The dogs are given various food products to eat, including the meat they’re endorsing, and viewers enjoy it as a satisfying ASMR video hearing them crunch and chomp.
Obviously, this creativity isn’t suggested by the dog, it comes from the human — or “hooman” as we are mostly referred to as — handling it all. A majority of pet owners are trying their best to promote their own pet on every social media platform out there. And why not? A lot of owners have left their lucrative and promising careers to simply shoot their pets and post pictures and videos of them, and have made a lot more money than they used to in the process. A good friend of mine recently bought a golden retriever and he almost instantly made an Instagram page for him. On asking him what made him do it, he said, “It is so much easier. I have seen my sister (who is a budding influencer) do a lot of hard work. But for a pet influencer, you just need to be home and just record things he normally does.” His golden retriever’s page already has over 10,000 followers and he is already being paid by an online pet store and has appeared in a few ads. Pet owners of some of the Insta-biggies need to constantly come up with new content, or risk being forgotten in a crowd of other tails and feathers who can easily replace them.
This four-legged influencer culture is only big in countries like America and Japan. And even though India does have its fair share of budding pet influencers, nobody has made their mark yet. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to. Who knows? Maybe my friend’s golden retriever might just be the first one to do that.