Humour plays a big part in Pet Poets Club and CEO Marc Todd, so the story goes, kick started all this when he couldn’t sleep one night. He woke up and wrote some poems written by various pets. He then posted the poems onto Myspace and Pugsy Malone went onto You Tube and various other digital viral marketing campaigns. Within a few months, it became the third biggest MySpace site in the world.
Pet Poets Club is the first property to come out of the year-old company, Lavish Rights. Set up by the Lavish Group in November 2008, the company was set up to develop its own IP and take it to the commercial arena.
Prior to founding Lavish, group CEO, Marc Todd was creative director at some of the UK's leading integrated marketing agencies including TA&A, Dynamo Marketing and Brewer Blackler, and worked on campaigns for global brands including Coca Cola, Nestle and Cadbury's. Todd is responsible for strategy and business development at Lavish, with a focus on creating innovative, brand driven initiatives.
Ignition was then appointed as UK licensing agent for the Pet Poets Club brand, which now has almost 20 licensees. The company’s properties are represented in Australia by Grahame Grassby and Stella Projects as well as Newman International. In North America, the properties are represented by Jewel Branding and the company is looking to expand further in the near future.
Todd explains: “We are looking to expand our representation internationally and are focussing at the moment on Europe, South America and South East Asia, so we are interested in talking with agencies wishing to represent The Pet Poets Club property in territories overseas.” The firm is about to simultaneously launch Pet Poets Club in 11 new European territories, in multi languages.
The Pet Poets Club is a multi-platform, character driven, social expression brand. The property utilizes leading edge technology, and the most contemporary digital media channels to engage with consumers, and provide commercial partners with innovative support tools, including an online virtual light box for licensees to have unique access to design their bespoke ranges.
Through this single property, the company manages to reach a wide range of consumers and uses some innovative marketing techniques to do so.
Todd explains: “The Pet Poets Club has two core demographic of girls six to 16 and grown-up girls of 16 to 99. Little girls fall in love with Fifi the Showbiz Chihuahua which has a sparkly, pink colour palette, is fun and fashionable. Fifi writes one of the most widely-read dog blogs on the planet, a celebrity and showbiz (canine) gossip column and is a regular feature in Pink magazine.
“Grown-up girls love the PPC because the graphics are contemporary and it is a fusion of over 10,000 high-quality pet images with uplifting, funny verse for any occasion and product is created based around contemporary graphics and colour palettes.”
Todd concludes: “The various brand extensions, such as the Pet Poet Club Film Parodies, including Pup Fiction, etc and The Soccer World Pups, are also popular with men and retailers, especially Pugsy Malone, or 'The Dogfather' to you, who can be seen on You Tube… and in Clintons for Christmas.
Overall, the firm has managed to fare the economic downturn extremely well, partly because of its effective combination of two of the most powerful formulas used in gifting - cute pet imagery and touching verse.
Marketing techniques as described earlier, along with other strategies including partnering with various print media titles and working closely with specific retailers, have meant the company has enjoyed steady growth and raised awareness over this past year, with more approaches from European agencies, with an increase of interest after the Las Vegas show.
Over the next year, there will be more to come from Lavish Rights, as Todd comments: “We love fun brands, and there are some great character licensees out there. There’s nothing quite like developing and nurturing your own idea and seeing it grow and come alive, that’s the advantage and joy of having some great design talent in-house, so dare I say it, our new brand, Manic Monkeys is going to a cracking one to break into the market next year. The marketing is going to be a lot of fun. Watch this space.”
It’s likely that for this new brand, he will apply a similar principles to that which the team used to make PPC into the success story it is. He describes the essential elements for a successful licensed brand:
“Watching the market and developing new visuals and brand extensions in keeping with customer and licensee demand. Working with retailers and marketing departments with your licensees is also a key feature of keeping your brand afloat.”