Tag Archives: Pets

Sharing Happy Hour with Pets

Americans increasingly treat pets as more than just an animal or belonging – we treat our pets as important members of the family. Pet owners now look for healthier choices and lifestyles for pet care, fundamentally shifting consumer behavior and spending. The pet care industry represents more than $20 billion in the U.S., and, according to Nielsen Research, 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. This attitude carries over into shopping for food, treats, toys, and specialty items.

Therefore, it was just a matter of time for companies to develop new product so that humans could share celebrations and happy hour beverages with their pets. The newest category of product is faux wines for cats (and dogs, too)! With clever names and packaging, the category is expanding. People can buy their kitties bottles of “Catbernet,” “Pinot Meow,” and “Meowgarita” from Denver-based Apollo Peak. Or, buy “Dog Perignon” and “Dogtini” from Pet Winery in Fort Myers, Fla.

Of course, since alcohol can harm animals, these wines are actually alcohol-free. Using organic ingredients and catnip, the beverages are aimed at people who want to enjoy celebrations with their pets. But, as most cat owners know, cats can be quite finicky. In taste tests, some cats loved the products, while other cats simply showed their disdain.

Happy hour, meow?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have pets? How much do they spend on their pets?
  2. Show the Web site for Apollo Peak: http://www.apollopeak.com/
  3. Also show Pet Winery: https://www.petwinery.com/
  4. Videos can be viewed at:


  1. The Chew: https://youtu.be/4DiO8MZTmnU
  2. Divide students into teams.
  3. Using a market-product grid, have students develop target markets for pet owners. Then, put categories of products across the top (Ex: food, toys, treats, wine…)
  4. Which target markets represent the best opportunity for pet wines?
  5. How should the products be marketed?

Source:  New York Times, Nielsen Research

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Play with Your Pet While Away from Home


Busy people at offices who miss their pets now have a new way of staying connected with their furry friends during the work day. One company, Petcube, sells a smart camera that helps people watch and play with their pets real-time and remotely. It’s kind of like Skype, but the pet doesn’t actually have to answer a phone.

Petcube Camera is a four-inch stylish cube that has a microphone, camera, laser, and speaker. The $199 device plugs into a common wall outlet and connects to a home’s Wi-Fi. The Petcube app controls the camera’s laser pointer so people can interact with pets remotely.

Petcube is not the only product in this space. There are many new high technology devices that let pet owners remotely take care of tasks including booking dog walkers, GPS collars to track pets from a smartphone, and even pet cameras such as Petzi Treat Cam that dispenses pet treats when the owners are not at home.

Companies such as these help to illustrate how technology can be used for our four-legged friends to help relieve stress and inactivity.

Ready to chase the laser-pointer now?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the growing market for pets and pet products.
  2. List products that people commonly buy their pets.
  3. Poll students: Would they interact with their pets during the day remotely if it were possible?
  4. Show products from Petcube and Petzi Treat:

Pet Cube: https://petcube.com/

Petzi treat cam: http://www.petzi.com/

  1. Have students research the size of the pet care industry. Also, have them research new pet products on the market.
  2. Divide students into team and have them brainstorm problems that pet owners face. What products could be developed to solve some of these problems?

Source: Mercury News


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Subscription Boxes are Booming


It’s fun to get a package in the mail. There’s the excitement of opening the box and enjoying the contents. If you like getting monthly surprises and treats in the mail, then subscription boxes are just the ticket. And, they can make a fun and unexpected gift for others, too.

There is a wide variety of subscriptions for consumers: Doomsday prepping supplies, treats for dogs, treats for pet rabbits, Japanese snacks, food, meal components, personal care items, razors, make-up, athletic gear, books, technology and more. Think of a category – there is most likely already a company offering monthly treat boxes. Subscriptions range from the low end (Dollar Shave Club, BirchBox) to higher priced subscriptions such as Adidas’ athletic apparel ‘Avenue A’ subscription at $150/quarter. And, there are also subscriptions aimed at business offices as well as individual consumers.

While not all subscription companies earn large revenues, and face many problems with retaining both subscribers and suppliers, some companies are doing quite well. Company BlueApron, a three-year old company that mails recipes and ingredients to subscribers, estimates that it delivers three million meals per month. The company recently raised $135 million in funding, giving it a $2 billion valuation.

That’s a lot of boxes!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who gets monthly subscription boxes, what kind, and why?
  2. Next, bring up several companies that offer these boxes:

Purple Carrot: https://thepurplecarrot.com/

BattlBox: http://www.battlbox.com/

Bunny Box: https://getbunnybox.com/

JapanCrate: https://japancrate.com/

Blue Apron: https://www.blueapron.com/

Nature Box: https://naturebox.com/

Club W: https://clubw.com/

Bark Box: https://www.barkbox.com/

Faith Box: http://faithbox.com/

Owl Crate: http://www.owlcrate.com/

BirchBox: https://www.birchbox.com/

Plated: https://www.plated.com/

TheFeed: https://thefeed.com/

Loot Crate: https://www.lootcrate.com/

Avenue A: https://www.adidasavenuea.com/

  1. Discuss the benefits and problems with the subscription model.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team examine one of the current subscriptions and analyze the target market and product mix.
  3. Have each student team design a new subscription company that could be sold to college students.

Source: New York Times, Washington Post, other news sources

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