For pet owners and anyone with a deep love and concern for animals, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is one of the most recognized nonprofit organizations in the country. As a household name in the pet world reaching hundreds of millions of people through online and television advertisements, the ASPCA name carries considerable weight and value, especially among cause-conscious consumers.
“There’s a growing demand among the public for more conscious consumerism,” ASPCA Vice President of Marketing and Licensing Elysia Howard says. “People want their purchases to have meaning – they don’t want to just purchase a product; they want their money to go further and support a cause.”
The ASPCA’s positioning as a national organization that brings both a cause and expertise to the animal world translates well to pet care licensees as well as apparel and gift makers. The New York City-based organization doesn’t just aim to brand products on which one would expect to see the ASPCA name or logo, however.
“We’re not afraid of taking risks,” Howard says. “We think by stepping outside of the box we can break through mediocrity, and that’s where the largest rewards for us will come from.”
The ASPCA seeks licensees that believe in its mission, have a positive reputation and are willing to be committed partners. “We’re not just looking to collect licensees – it’s important to us that our partners are engaged with us,” she adds. “We want licensees’ connection to the ASPCA to be authentic, and not just a logo slap.”
The ASPCA has some exciting and unique programs in development for eyewear and apparel for both humans and pets, as well as toys and greeting cards and stationary through American Greetings.
Additionally, the ASPCA has some Direct-To-Retail programs that it is looking forward to continuing and growing. These include holiday programs with Pottery Barn Teen, West Elm, Forever 21 and Banana Republic.
Promotions with cause-marketing partners are also a key element of the ASPCA’s 2012 strategy of leveraging its millions of supporters as a way to do well by doing good. Partners include Walkers Shortbread, Charitydine, We-care.com and LegalZoom.
All licensing deals are focused on the organization’s mission to prevent cruelty to animals, rescue animals from abuse, fight homelessness, pass humane laws and support shelters.
“We’re able to help both retailers and licensees become experts in pet care, and we can help brands drive traffic as well as be personal and customized,” Howard explains.
Several of the ASPCA’s newest licensees are an extension of the organization’s effort to reach children. The ASPCA Kids line includes apparel, toys and other retail segments. “For our new ASPCA Kids brand, we are excited to begin vetting and choosing licensees,” Howard says. “We also are excited about a new and growing partnership with Breyer, the collectible model horse makers, with whom we have already created a benefit set.”
In addition to licensing products, the ASPCA also spreads its message through service partnerships, cause-marketing programs and content licensing.
Service partnerships include pet health insurance provider Hartville Group Inc. and a recent debit and credit card program with Bank of America.
The ASPCA is working on expanding its participation in cause-marketing programs. These include the Subaru “Share the Love” event, a year-end sales promotion that gives consumers a chance to choose a charity to receive a $250 donation from Subaru, Howard notes.
Custom content creation is another strength of ASPCA. “Our organization is made up of the top experts in all areas of animal care,” she says. “We all consider ourselves a group of ‘passionistas’ – everyone here loves animals and does what we do because we’re passionate about the cause.”