Currently, we are this (squeezes thumb and forefinger together tightly) close to starting to work with a lovely pet food company.
So in the name of research and relationship building, I went up to the NEC at the end of last week to watch hundreds of dogs and dog people do their Crufts thing. I used to go every year when I worked with a certain big corporate brand that top breeders recommend (or as the Dutch put it, "Top Vokkers"*) and back then it was a microcosm of doggie madness.
If asked, I could not imagine how it could have got any more ridiculous but it has. It's anthropomorphism gone mad.
Check this out.
A display in a teashop somewhere in the Lake District frequented by blue rinses and families on a day out? Or the Canine Cookie Company, who make brownies out of liver and popcorn for dogs.
They also make doggie wedding cakes. For, natch, when your dog ties the knot with that bitch from down the road.
Or Happy Barkday cakes? Tell me, if you're a dog, do you get 7 birthdays a year to keep up with your dog years? How does that work?
You can dismiss this as a cottage industry company catering for a very twee niche of dog owner. But then we'd turn a corner and be faced with much more corporate or retail savvy brands like these.
Mineral water for dogs? At £1.99 a litre?
Give me a break. I drink Eau de Thames, albeit filtered through my Brita water filter, but nevertheless it remains tap water. Apparently dogs prefer the mineral water to tap water because they can smell that the former has no chemicals in. Yup. That also works when you compare tap water to dirty, algae filled ditch water. My parents dogs will plump for the latter to sup from every time. It doesn't mean they would pay £1.99 for the privilege though.
*Even funnier when you know that the 'v' is pronounced as an 'f'.