Cats Win as America’s Favorite Pet

Consumers weigh in on Nestle Purina PetCare and AFG& election-themed pitch

Forget about the donkeys and elephants. Nestle Purina PetCare and agency AFG& staged their own election this year, inviting consumers to participate in "America’s Pet Debate." Voting concluded last night and it’s now official: The U.S. is a cat country, with felines winning 55 percent of the vote versus 45 percent for their canine opponents.

The campaign, which kicked off in September, featured TV spots and a dedicated website, where animal lovers voted to decide the country’s favorite pet. AFG&, formerly known as Avrett Free Ginsberg, worked with its client to tie the pitch to both the U.S. election and Veteran’s Day this weekend: Based on the 112,860 votes cast, Nestle Purina donated $112,500 to Pet Partners’ veteran programs.

In the best negative ads of the political season, the pet candidates went after the opposition. Team Cat depicted a bloodhound drinking out of a toilet as a “potty mouth” while a retriever, soaking after a dip in the pool, shakes his way into barbecue guests as a “party crasher.”  Team Dog barked back in their ad: A cat jumping on its sleeping owner is deemed a “dream stopper”; another one is proudly nesting in a mound of unwound toilet paper and is a “home wrecker.”

What was never up for debate is the affection pet owners have for their animals. Consumers shared their pet stories, photos and videos which have been posted on the site, Instagram, Facebook—where the initiative generated 148,000 “likes—and Twitter, with 1,261 tweets.