Are pet influencers making more money than human influencers? 💰
Unlike human influencers, and no offense to you — pet influencers are loved by all internet users. But is this space also getting overcrowded with more pet parents trying to turn their pets into influencers? 🤔
With brands like Ralph Lauren, Mercedes Benz, Prada, and The Body Shop collaborating with pets, the time for petfluencers has arrived, and some of them are making more than human influencers.
But for a minute, let's crawl back to basics, and see where it all started. 🐾
Introduction to petfluencers
I discovered the fabulous life of pets when a friend showed me the Instagram profile of Buddy Boo Waggy Tails over 10 years ago. Boo, a Pomeranian was considered the cutest dog in the world, and when he died in 2018, he broke several hearts. I was so invested in his life that I vividly remember the moment his pet parents announced his death; I broke into tears. Years later, his pet parents have brought home more pets and run the same Instagram profile, but nobody has quite achieved the celebrity status like that of Boo.
Boo has been popular on Facebook since 2009. And, of course, there's Grumpy Cat (or Tardar Sauce, which is her actual name), which tasted fame when her photo went viral on Reddit. Known for her grumpy facial expression, she became an internet sensation, accumulating millions of followers across various social media platforms. Despite her death in 2019, she's still the center of viral memes.
Is this lucrative?
Beyond a doubt! 🐕
A study by OnBuy Pets Suppliers states that top animal influencers are expected to earn as much as $32K for a single sponsored post. According to Evening Standard, "Jiffpom, a cloud-like Pomeranian puppy, topped the list with his staggering 9.6 million follower count. Earning as much as $32,045 per sponsored post, brands including TikTok, Target and Nature’s Recipe have turned to the canine for adorable endorsement."
Have you heard of Hugo and Huxley? These Golden Retrievers reportedly make £100,000 per year from modeling and brand deals. The Guardian says, "Hugo, nine next month, and Huxley, three, are a part of a booming trend for pet models, with advertising agencies capitalizing on the internet’s love of anything animal-related to promote everything from wellies to ferries."
Read the full feature. 👇
The insane surge of pet influencers has led to agencies and pet managers — a new wave of jobs nobody anticipated. For instance, look at The Dog Agency, which calls itself the home to the most influential animals in the world. Founded by Loni Edwards, The Dog Agency hosts PetCon, and the pets on their roster work with brands such as Netflix, Meta, Disney, Google, Spotify, and Sony Music, to name a few.
👉 Check out: Tatum Comes Home, a book published by The Dog Agency
In an interview with Fast Company, Loni Edwards said, "Dogs are becoming more popular with advertisers because they’re a safe alternative to controversy-prone humans. Pets are universally loved, they make people happy. And they’re safe. They’re not going to say politically charged things or get drunk at a party. So they have all the benefits of traditional, human influencers with all these extra plus factors.”
A study by Statista states, "In 2022, China’s urban pet market reached approximately 270.6 billion yuan, increasing by more than 20 billion yuan compared to the previous year. The urban dog market contributed to 147.5 billion yuan of the market value, while the cat market took up around 123.1 billion yuan.”
Is the demand for certain breeds causing illegal breeding?
Now, here comes the bigger concern! 😒
In 2018, Jennifer Savin for Cosmopolitan reported how influencers are offered free puppies. The piece says, "Former Love Island contestant Olivia Bowen has spoken out about the worrying trend of influencers and reality stars being offered free puppies in exchange for a post on social media. The companies willing to swap puppies for promotion are often dangerous breeder farms, who treat the dogs incredibly poorly, leaving many with long-term health problems."
This report gets even more heartbreaking as you read. 👇
Earlier this year, the Dutch Government banned designer pets, explicitly stating, "flat-faced dogs and cats with folded ears, which look sweet but suffer "miserable" health problems."
This rule closes the loopholes in its 2019 regulation, which banned breeding dogs whose snout is less than half the length of their skull. The new rule makes it illegal for citizens to own designer pets.
Adopting or buying pets that aren't suitable for your climatic conditions is yet another concern. Social media has made heroes out of Huskies, and I see many Indians adopting them. Imagine a Husky, which prefers under 50°F, living in a 100°F!
👉 Read: How influencers & celebrities use wildlife animals for photoshoots by Bellingcat
Wales is witnessing an exponential rise in investigations into illegal dog breeding. This report by BBC covers this.
Instagram trends are great for fostering a community — but not when you're trying to foster a pet not meant for your climate. Aspiring to make your pet an influencer is one thing, but bringing home a pet isn't a fleeting trend. Don't you agree?