Freshpet introduces a new kind of pet food


Key Points

  • Freshpet needed to grow awareness and drive sales of their premium refrigerated pet food
  • They used TV for the first time to target health-conscious pet owners prepared to pay bit more for quality pet food
  • As a result, they grew sales by 15%

The Challenge

Freshpet, a U.S. fresh pet food brand with unique refrigerated pet food, had seen success in growing their sales in the U.S, largely through TV advertising. Until 2019, distribution in the UK hadn’t been enough for them to consider broadcast media. However, when distribution had reached critical mass, they felt it was time to take the next step to grow the brand.   

The UK pet food market had been flat for a number of years but is also highly competitive, with several well-established brands as well as some new, emerging challenger brands, making it difficult for Freshpet to grow sales. The challenge was made harder by the fact that the main players all had bigger budgets and that Freshpet were trying to establish a new category of refrigerated pet food at a premium price point.

Freshpet tasked their agency, Total Media, to turn around the fortunes of the brand and grow sales by 10%.

The TV Solution

When Total Media explored the market, they found that pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family and care a lot about their pets’ health. As a result, they are prepared to spend more on pet food to cater for their pets’ allergies and intolerances, so Total Media knew there was an audience for this product. After further analysis of the 15 million pet owners, they identified 5.5 million people who were both health conscious and prepared to pay more for pet food. This audience skewed towards women aged 35 to 54.

Total Media felt it was important that TV formed a key part of the media plan for the following reasons:

  • TV offers a premium environment which can prime viewers with the idea that Freshpet is a premium product that pet owners can be proud to give to their pets
  • TV is a medium that generates emotion and so is able to showcase the emotional connection between pet owners and their dog or cat
  • TV is the most efficient channel at delivering ROI on small budgets, which was crucial for a new brand with a new proposition as they need to make the budget work as hard as possible
  • TV’s ability to reach large audiences 

The Plan

For the TV campaign, Total Media selected the channels that indexed best for their target audience and were cost efficient. These included E4, Film 4, 4Music, Gold, Sky Cinema, Sky Arts, Sky Atlantic and Animal Planet. Channel 4 was the key coverage builder channel in week one with spots in peak programming such as The Supervet, Jamie’s Quick and Easy Food and Hollyoaks.

Total Media identified that, to maximise sales, they should optimise the plan for 1+ reach because for new brands, the response is greatest on the first exposure. They adopted a pulse strategy which allowed them to build cumulative reach over time.

To reach their core audience of women aged 35 to 54 and to ensure they had access to the programmes they wanted, they bought a blend of ABC1 women and 16-34 adults.

Total Media’s research had shown that VOD over indexed for their target audience. Therefore, they opted to use BVOD strategically, focussing on upmarket female programming on All4 and Sky On Demand during the breaks in the TV airtime. This allowed them a continuous presence when combining the TV and BVOD.


  • Freshpet’s total sales grew by 15% overall, peaking at 21% during the campaign period
  • The campaign delivered over 230 women 35-54 TVRs with a reach of over 60% at a frequency of 3.8
  • The TV and BVOD campaign had a lasting effect on sales, with total sales revenue remaining above the base line and peaking at 18% after the campaign had finished for the remainder of the year, which is impressive as there was no other above the line media running during that time
  • Organic traffic to the website increased by 490% over the campaign period

Our issue is twofold – trying to educate pet consumers not only of Freshpet as a new brand, but as a totally new feeding concept…FRESH. Partnering with Total Media has been an absolute pleasure. They’ve become an extension of our marketing department. They’ve recommended the right media channels in order to maximise our reach. The results have been fantastic

Hannah Edwards Head of European Marketing

Since their TV launch in 2019, Freshpet have gone on to sponsor Crufts on Channel 4, as well as significantly increasing their investment into TV for 2020.


Sector: Pet food

Brand: Freshpet

Campaign objectives:  To increase awareness and grow sales by 10%

Target Audience: Women aged 35 to 54

Budget: c. £700,000

Campaign Dates: The campaign ran from 4th March to 9th June 2019

TV Usage: 30” spots

Creative Agency: Creature

Media Agency:  Total Media

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