TBWA\Helsinki on launching ‘Biscuit’, an RFID-powered project for Musti Group that’s personalising dogs’ shopping experiences
Their owners may be the ones handing over the cash, but a pet shop’s most important customers are, well, pets. But, perhaps due to their inability to speak and an all round lack of thumbs and understanding of the ‘shopping experience’, focus is rarely shone on them when it comes to buying treats and toys. Until now. Nordic pet retailer Musti Group has launched the world’s first loyalty programme specifically for dogs. With the help of TBWA\Helsinki, they’ve launched ‘Biscuit’, a small smart device that clips onto a dog’s collar and uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to tailor man’s best friend’s in-store shopping experience.
LBB’s Addison Capper spoke with TBWA\Helsinki Vice President Juha-Matti Raunio, ECD Jyrki Poutanen, and CD Mikko Pietilä to find out more.
LBB> What kind of brief did you get from Musti Group and what were you thinking when you first saw it?
TBWA> The case was completely proactive from the start, so no briefs were given. We have a tendency at TBWA\Helsinki that when we get nice ideas internally, we find the right client and approach proactively. The initial idea came from Juha-Matti Raunio who has previously worked with RFID-based projects here at TBWA.
LBB> So what inspired the idea to focus on dogs as opposed to their owners?
TBWA> The fact is that a lot of pet brands claim to be for the animals (here dogs), but don’t really walk the walk like they talk the talk. Our most loyal companion deserves loyalty from us humans; especially the brands for which they are 'the end user'. So focusing on dogs was pretty clear from the get go.
LBB> So, you’ve set up a loyalty programme for dogs - what was the client’s initial reaction when you pitched the idea to them?
TBWA> Musti Group have always been animal enthusiasts on a brand, employer and employee level so the idea got a warm welcome from the start.
LBB> What kind of technology has gone into Biscuit?
TBWA> The current version 1.0 is only packed with a simple RFID tag that an in-store reader identifies then pulls up a dog’s name, gender, favourite treat and purchase history, etc. More data can of course be saved on each tag. A GPS locator (chip) and an accelerometer are in the talks for the next versions.
LBB> How does the scheme work and how can customers get involved?
TBWA> Customers can join in the pilot by visiting the two pilot stores in the Helsinki metropolitan area. This is an extension to Musti & Mirri's regular loyalty program, so all human customers in that register will have on option to have their their dog joined onto the Biscuit program. The scheme, as you put it, works better than anyone here dared to imagine. The press has shown great interest on several fronts; Biscuit and Musti & Mirri have now been noted by the technology, marketing and pet focused press. Most recently it was mentioned by Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest news outlet in Finland - equivalent to the NY Times in the U.S.
LBB> It launched at the World Animal Day gala in Helsinki - please tell me more about this and how I can get an invite.
TBWA> Unfortunately the gala already took place on 4th October. There are images at http://smartbiscuit.fi/gallery.html
that reflect the glamorous atmosphere perfectly. A whole bunch of distinguished gala guests were present that night, ranging from national celebrity dogs to social media stars / influencer dogs.
LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them?
TBWA> When working with animals, the trickiest thing is always to understand their behaviour so that both the system and the product works for them. We really needed to put ourselves into the perspective of dogs. Luckily our client has great experience, knowledge and insights from over the years so we managed quite well!
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
TBWA> Dogs rule! If you want to stay tuned and follow the project’s next developments you can check it out here