MEET the petfluencers – the pup stars and super-meowdels earning up to £100 an hour by being the furry faces of brands!
With social media followings as high as human celebrities, advertising agencies are turning to animal models instead of people.
The ‘Power of the Paw’ is such that casting agencies are springing up all over the country to bring ‘household names’ in the pet world and marketeers together.
Melody Lewis is one of them and set up PetLondon Models ten years ago after the success of her PetLondon animal fashion range.
She explained: “This is a very new area and it’s amazing how quickly these animals take off. People are thinking ‘If I’m booking an animal for an advert, then maybe I should book a famous animal.’
“Just like with human models, if a pet already has a large social media following and is well known, it adds extra power to the campaign.
“Instagram has played a huge part in this as it’s friendly and so easy for animals to go global. If you have a dog of a particular breed you can reach people all over the world.”
Pre social media, pop stars and actors were paid millions to promote brands. Britney Spears earned £8 million from her Pepsi ad back in 2001.
Now, ads come in the form of YouTube videos, blogs and sponsored posts by ambassadors ranging from teens like Zoella to mummy bloggers, athletes and animals.
The recent Vitality campaign features Jessica Ennis Hill, Ellie Simmonds, and Alfie, a four year old Daschund from Devon who was flown to South Africa for the promo.
Layla Flaherty, a former reality TV star from Desperate Scousewives, is Alfie’s agent at pet casting agency Urban Paws and says that her clients do well because pretty much everyone loves pets.
She explained: “You’d be hard pushed to find an advert with a cute chihuahua or kitten annoying. They make people happy and that’s the effect that brands want their adverts to have.”
A version of this story appeared in the Mail on Sunday which you can read in full here.