Kraft Campaign Solicits Dog Photos

NEW YORK Milk-Bone is the latest advertiser to ask for user participation in an online ad campaign, targeting “pet parents” with a photo contest.

The Kraft brand is promoting the relaunch of its dog biscuit with an Internet ad campaign that includes a 10-day promotion for users to submit photos to a “What Your Dog Would Do for a Milk-Bone” contest. The winning contestant receives a digital camera.

Ads promoting the contest will run on pet-related sections of Weather.com, AnimalPlanet.com and Oprah.com. CNET-owned Webshots is also carrying ads and hosting the contest. WebShots has run similar campaigns for New Line Cinema’s The Wedding Crashers that invited users to submit snapshots of hard-partying friends.

“Pet parents who love their dogs like children are taking a lot of pictures of their dogs,” said David Contract, Kraft’s Milk-Bone brand manager.

The promotion is a continuation of Milk-Bone’s ad strategy of establishing its dog snacks as not just a treat for dogs, but also as a special bonding tool for pet owners and their companions. It recently concluded an eight-month push that solicited dog photos to appear on Milk-Bone boxes. Of 47,000 entries, 55 percent were submitted through the Milk-Bone Web site.

Contract said Milk-Bone would overhaul its Web site early next year to include more community features for dog owners.

Advertisers are adjusting their ad strategies for campaigns that run on the most fertile ground on the Web: user-created sites like social network MySpace and photo-sharing services like Webshots. Rather than seeing these fast-growing sites as reach opportunities, some advertisers are crafting campaigns that invite participation by the site’s community.

“The key is you’ve got to find these people who are lovers of the brand,” said Martin Green, general manager of community at CNET. “The marketing campaign has to be based on the endorsement and engagement of the brand.”