Halloween or ‘Howl’oween?

As Halloween approaches, children and adults have been preparing for the holiday by buying costumes, decorations, and candies. Halloween is known as a night for children to walk around dressed up and get candy. However, recently the holiday has expanded to include all family members, even the pets

This year, PetSmart has taken to Halloween just as much as other retailers, such as Walmart and Party City, usually do. The pet retailer advertises everything from pet costumes and collars to Halloween themed treats and toys. They also offer Halloween events such as in-store trick-or-treating, pet photo contests, and even Halloween “pet camp” for those that don’t want to leave their pets at home that night.

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The home page for PetSmart’s website features everything a pet owner could need for their pet to be a part of the Halloween festivities. While the majority of their advertising is for their own products, the site also advertises at home do-it-yourself recipes and costume ideas. This form of advertising says to consumers that the retailer truly cares about the pets and wants them to be just as much a part of the holidays, therefore making pet owners trust their brand more.

The communication design that PetSmart implements makes pet owners believe they need these Halloween items just as much as any other pet necessity. The company is making consumers buy into their narrative and purchase costumes for their pets. PetSmart holds a brand image that presents itself as a company for everything pet related. The company is seen as a go-to for food, toys, training, grooming, and in some stores, even veterinary services. By offering pet supplies and events for the holidays, even Halloween, PetSmart solidifies its image as still being the one-stop-shop for pet owners.
One of the main aims of Integrated Marketing Communication is to affect behavior and not just attitudes. PetSmart has turned a once silly idea of dressing your family pet up for Halloween into a business opportunity to make a larger profit. The creation of not just products, but events too, draws customers in so that they feel they have a reason to buy character costumes for their pets and Halloween themed toys. For most pet owners, their animals are members of the family, and should be included in family fun. PetSmart allows that to happen with their holiday apparel and pet-oriented events.

The pet Halloween industry has grown significantly to the point that CNN even offers the top 5 dog costumes of 2015 in their recent online article about Halloween Fast Facts, which can be found here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/us/halloween-fast-facts/  The top five costumes were as followed: pumpkin, hot dog, Batman, devil, and a bumblebee. Of those five, PetSmart offered every single one, some with multiple options, even for different sexes of dogs. Is it a coincidence that PetSmart sells the top five costumes? Probably not.