Veterinarians have long recognized the need to protect at-risk dogs from leptospirosis and Lyme disease. However, with more mammals now calling the suburbs home, more dogs are at risk than veterinarians might think. To demonstrate the spread of these new threats, we asked veterinarians to do the unthinkable: become these perilous diseases and infect the very doggos they are sworn to protect in a fully interactive 8-bit VR game called Pet Threat.
In a category of traditional marketing, Elanco needed a truly disruptive idea to inspire urgency around the spread of these two devastating diseases while explaining how Elanco vaccines can help. By having vets play from the perspective of these diseases and taking an active role in infecting dogs, we educated them on the rapidly changing threat and helped them realize it’s much closer than they think.
We launched Pet Threat at VMX, the world’s largest gathering of pet experts, immersing veterinarians in a VR edutainment experience that created five minutes of undivided attention with our audience. And even in the loud and crowded trade show environment, Pet Threat’s gameplay was so antithetical to the veterinary profession, the message was incredibly memorable and drew further attention.
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An 8-bit design was chosen to evoke a feeling of fun and to stand out at VMX. We utilized Elanco’s existing color palette to merge the game world with its brand standards.
We created collectible enamel pins featuring our Pet Threat characters. They quickly became one of the most sought-after giveaways at the convention.
Knowing veterinarians are a very competitive bunch, our leaderboard displayed their high scores once they submitted their contact information.
To underline the threat of leptospirosis and Lyme disease, we left players with classic game over messages that emphasized key risk factors.
“What separates good from great is taking risks. Pet Threat was a risk. But it paid off - our launch event saw significant customer engagement. Most importantly, it changed the conversation and customers left wanting to take action. That’s what I call a great campaign.”
Mary Jensen, Marketing Manager, Vaccines - Elanco Animal Health
Veterinarians left the Pet Threat experience with smiles on their faces, new facts and new attitudes about vaccination, revitalizing curiosity around two established vaccine brands.
Over the course of five days, 47,691 8-bit dogs were infected. But 3,391 were protected with ULTRA Duramune® and Duramune Lyme® in the game, emphasizing Elanco’s life-saving message.