Business Week explained a fundamental shift in the way consumers spend on their pets. Americans are treating their pets like furry little humans and the pet industry is currently at $41 billion a year which is greater than the GDP of all but 65 countries. The yearly cost of buying, feeding, and caring for pets is greater than the yearly cost of movies, video games, or listening to music.
The humanization of pets causes owners to buy products that fulfill human needs for their pets such as medical care, self esteem, and self actualization. Eli Lily makes a drug for Separation Anxiety and Phizer for Obeseity. People are buying strollers, nudicles, and treats shaped like eggs and bacon. One third buy gifts for their dogs on their birthday!
In the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries, he uses the example of icecream for dogs to show how no amount of marketing can make a stupid idea work. I don’t think this is a bad idea anymore because of this shift in our culture.