‘Chewy Claus’ Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving for Pets, Parents—and the Brand

The program has seen a 300% increase in letter submissions since its debut last year 

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This holiday season, ecommerce pet retailer Chewy has been in the giving spirit, fulfilling wishes for tens of thousands of pets across the country through its “Chewy Claus” program.  

But the popular campaign—now in its second year—has been a gift to the brand as well, providing it with real-life, heartfelt stories that have connected with an engaged community of pet parents and attracted throngs of new ones.

“Chewy Claus,” the retailer’s answer to Santa, began last year with “pets” submitting letters to a portal asking for treats such as food and toys. The brand fulfilled those wishes or donated a pound of food per letter to a nonprofit partner. The inaugural run garnered 80,000 letters, with many people sharing stories on social media of how “Chewy Claus” made their pets’ wishes come true. 

This year, the campaign returned with even grander wish-fulfillment tales for those with tails (and scales and feathers) and expanding its offerings to include special experiences with their humans.

Last month, the brand released a video featuring a rescued pitbull named Blue, whose wish for a reunion with his military dad stationed in another state was fulfilled to the delight of both.  

Another video features Riley, an 11-year-old great dane with cancer, whose human, Courtney, wrote a letter to Chewy Claus so he could have one last special Christmas celebration with his family.  

Most recently, Chewy released another video featuring Maestro, a paralyzed cat who was granted a new wheelchair for Christmas. (Warning: You might need tissues.)  

“Pets are a beloved part of the family and our celebrations year-round, especially during the holidays,“ Orlena Yeung, vice president of brand marketing for Chewy, told Adweek. “Writing letters to Santa is a cherished holiday tradition, and thanks to Chewy Claus, pets can get in on the fun now, too, and have the chance to have their wish fulfilled.” 

The brand conducted a survey that found 87% of pet parents felt the holidays would not be the same without their animal. Additionally, 84% of respondents give their pets multiple gifts and 65% would rather their pets receive gifts over themselves.

Chewy has so far received more than 280,000 letters, an increase of over 300% since last year. Like before, the brand has committed to donating a pound of food per letter to organizations housing pets in need, capping this year’s total at 300,000 pounds. 

The company is promoting the program, which will run until Dec. 25, through social media, YouTube and email marketing, while highlighting special stories through targeted media to encourage more submissions. Yeung added that pet parents have shared letters on their own social channels, some of which have gone viral

“We know pets love a surprise Chewy gift, which is a sentiment we captured in our holiday commercials – from a dog telling his mom to keep saving on more gifts to a cat sniffing out what’s in the box,” she said, expressing that the company hopes it becomes an annual tradition.