(Frankie in a television commercial for Plush Sofas. Credit to @frankiethelilsausage)
By Dylan Vidal
From walking down the red carpet to taking selfies with an army of fans, move over Gigi Hadid and the Kardashians, a new Australian agency is on the lookout for the next furry, fun and fabulous frontier in social media influencing.
The rise of family pets transforming into overnight social media ‘supaw-stars’ has seen the launch of Power Pets at the beginning of 2018, Australia’s first agency dedicated to connecting the world’s largest brands with Instagram influencers. These brands include Xbox, Disney, Kmart, Kellogg’s, Optus, Universal, Petbarn and Samsung.
“What we do is connect our talent with brands looking to tell their brand stories through digital channels,” said Karan White, Founder of Power Pets.
“Some might be through Instagram, it might be through Facebook, it might be blogs, vlogs and YouTube that sort of thing. So, we’ve rounded up some of Australia’s top talent or celebrities in the pet space and we connect those pets with brands looking to cut through a really crowded market to use pets to tell their story.”
This ‘talent’ comes in many different shapes, sizes and species with ‘Nathan the Beach Cat’, ‘Kou the Kelpie Dingo’, ‘My Deer Little Pony’ and ‘Dexter the Rabbit‘ being among those that are currently signed with the agency.
When asked what separates a ‘Power Pet’ from your everyday run-of-the-mill pet, Karan said that it’s less about their follower count and more about how they interact with social media users.
“We know anecdotally that the larger an account becomes the less visibility they have with their community. So smaller accounts can have higher visibility and…intimacy with their community,” said Karan.
“We’re looking for different things. Do they produce beautiful content? You know, they might have a really strong skill in producing stunning photos or they might have a great skill in captions -telling really great stories through captions.”
With a modest 6,000 followers on Instagram, Hana the Toy Poodle proves that what she may lack in her follower count, she makes up for in adorable pictures and her friendly personality to what she likes to call her “fur-iends”.
The two-year-old pooch has a very active social life which she makes an effort to post about whenever she can. Most importantly, she models all of her favourite outfits for her followers to see and then links wherever she got them from in each post in order to let them know what she is wearing.
Hana’s owner, Rumiko, uses her background in photography to capture the precious moments of her golden brown, button-eyed canine teddy bear. She admits that she doesn’t think her dog is famous and said that she only recently began receiving free gifts and sponsorship for her posts.
“When I started, I just do it and [had] no plan. Now I realised people recognise her and it helped me to connect with people,” Rumiko said.
“I have so many Instafamous ‘fur-iends’ who is much more popular, so I don’t think she is that popular, but I’m enjoying posting and sharing my cute girl and love looking back myself.”
On the other hand, we have ‘Frankie the Lil’ Sausage Dog’ who is no stranger to the spotlight, having amassed over 70,000 followers on her Instagram. Frankie has brought her trademark “sassy personality” to brands such as Sunrise, Woman’s Day, Vogue, Disney and Plush Sofas, proving there’s nothing faux about this full fur model’s talents.
At just four years old, this prima-donna pooch has a resume that many humans could only dream of having. Frankie’s owner, Alex, said that teaming up with a social media agency for her dog is an attempt to take Frankie’s career to the next level.
“It definitely didn’t start intentionally,” said Alex.
“When we got her, she was a super cute puppy so we were posting photos of her all the time on our personal Facebook and Instagram pages. Then we thought let’s just start up her own Instagram page…and that way if our friends want to follow and see pictures of her they can and we’re not bombarding them on our personal pages all the time. And then it just sort of really took off very early on and started growing and growing.”
“Now, we’ve had probably about three and a half years of her Instagram account before [Power Pets] and we’ve been doing sponsored posts and sort of running it a bit more like a business for at least a couple of years.
Alex has even created a blog written in the tone of Frankie devoted to giving dog related tips and telling stories regarding the fun activities that she gets up to.
“I’m a teacher so I think I’ve always kind of been interested in writing and hadn’t really found what I wanted to write about, I guess. Then, when we started Frankie’s Instagram even just the caption was just sort of a creative outlet, I guess and then the blog just sort of naturally followed that,” said Alex.
One of these fun activities included the time Frankie attended The Dog Lovers Show in Australia, which is a celebration for all things canine.
With an assortment of attractions ranging from workshops, contests and other social activities, all pale in comparison to the ‘Furbo Insta-Pooch Red Carpet’ where Instagram’s most followed dogs walk down the red carpet and be available for a “cuddle and a selfie” with fans.
Frankie was one of the main attractions alongside Captain (@tomandcaptain) where they each sat on a throne while a long line of fans waited until it was their turn to stand in the presence of a celebrity.
Unfortunately, for dogs like Hana the Toy Poodle she was not eligable to be a part of the red carpet and was left to watch on the sidelines. However, she still had a heavy involvement with the 2018 Melbourne Dog Lover’s Show where she was a model for the Paw Principality stall (pictured below).
“I initially posted a picture of [Paw Principality’s] cute unicorn headpiece and I heard some customers came to the stall to ask for the one she was wearing,” said Hana’s owner, Rumiko.
“Also at the stall, there were a huge crowd wanting to pat her. I have worked at Dog Lovers Show as an exhibitor for a couple of years for the store I used to work and it always overwhelmed model dogs as people were non-stop. But Hana loved the attention and was happy the whole time.”
When asked if Hana was Instafamous enough to walk the red carpet, Rumiko remained optimistic;
“Hana wasn’t the part of the Instafamous, yet.”