Purina ONE Makes Out Like a Fat Cat With Live Streaming

There’s a new frontier of mobile marketing: live streaming. Most social media users have at least heard of Meerkat or Periscope—two live-streaming apps that some brands are using to fuel real-time engagement with current and potential customers. “It’s incredibly important to connect with a consumer on a meaningful level,” says Niky Roberts, spokesperson for Purina ONE, a Nestlé brand. “Especially when you’re talking about pet owners, because it’s such a great bond—an emotional bond. So, I think that connecting with them over their pets is priceless.”

That connection through live streaming is priceless, as well as powerful and potentially profitable, for brands like Purina ONE. Nearly two thirds of Americans own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information, and for staying connected to the world around them. So, brands need to be at the fore of mobile trends to stay relevant.

Live streaming on social media is one of those trends. It’s captivating target audiences and as a result is grabbing the attention of brand marketers. Meerkat became a media darling earlier this year after its SXSW reveal. Persicope burst on the general public scene with its acquisition by Twitter in January—which, by the way, cost Twitter a reported $100 million.

“It allows you to cast your nets wide so that everyone can get involved,” Roberts says. “Having streaming video is really helpful [to viewers], especially since not everyone is in the immediate vicinity of your physical events, but they still want to interact with a brand.”

Purina ONE Cat is following in the footsteps of other Nestlé brands, such as ice cream brand Drumstick—which claims to be the first to run a sponsored Periscope stream. Roberts says that marketers from Purina ONE Cat wanted to tap into that passion for pets, include fans across the globe, and push the brand’s ethos centered on a cat’s whole body health.

“The incentive of streaming video is that you can experience something from far away,” Roberts says. “To really be able to see it and get an idea of what’s happening and what’s going on at the site. That’s the allure in general. It connects us.”

So on July 31 and August 1 in New York, Purina ONE Cat tried its hand at Periscope with “ONE Cat Camp,” 16 hours of purr-fection. The marketing team live-streamed lessons on pet wellness and pet care, physical activities—like cats playing with digital fish and wall climbing—pet adoptions, and other cat activities. Some 1,350 visitors came to the Mulberry Street pop-up shop over two days, and five cats were adopted. But for the brand, Periscope enabled Purina ONE Cat to make a bigger impression on social media fans who watched the stream from across the world. The Periscope event generated nearly 10,000 live views and more than 60,000 likes.

“People were lined up outside the door before we even opened; so we know there was a demand to interact with the brand. And we extended that through Periscope,” Roberts says. “People asked questions through Periscope, and we were able to answer those for them. They were asking about their own pets and questions about the event. We would address those on camera. We had viewers around the world; Denmark, Mexico, Brazil are just a few of the ones that we saw.”

Roberts says with the success of this event, marketers at Purina ONE will always consider live streaming as an effective branding and engagement tool. “To have people engage with you in a meaningful way, it’s a really helpful tool to cast your nets a bit wider,” Roberts says. “It’s a great way to make sure people can engage with you, no matter where they are. A lot of marketers are realizing how important engaging is. If you can’t do that in person, do it virtually.”

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