Researchers conclude that adding dogs or cats to promotional ads makes people more eager to pursue a goal or product. They were also more willing to take risks when making a decision.
“These effects occur because pet exposure experiences remind consumers of the stereotypical temperaments and behaviors of the pet species,” explains Lei Jia, lead study author in a statement.
Other companies like Microsoft and Wells Fargo have also picked up on the secret to getting people’s attention. In 2020, Microsoft featured dogs in their holiday commercial about spreading joy and Well Fargo featured a cat advertising about suspicious card activity alerts.
The new study looked at consumers’ decision-making skills when they viewed an ad featuring a dog or cat versus recalling their experience playing with a dog or cat. The findings show people were more likely to take more risks such as a volatile stock option and bet more money when ads featured a dog or cat as the spokesperson.
Dog and cat ads were most helpful when they had a promotional message with an enthusiastic tone. Interestingly, the research team also found people who owned dogs were more likely to look up promotion-focused words on the internet and more likely to become infected from COVID-19.