The Power of Giving Back

JP Stoops, the director of licensing at Discovery Communications, LLC, talked to Pet Business about Animal Planets R.O.A.R. initiative and it’s impact for retailers. Animal Planet media is a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications

Pet Business: How does Discovery Communications' donation to these numerous animal organizations benefit retailers?

JP Stoops: R.O.A.R. (Reach. Out. Act. Respond.) is our campaign to help make the world a better place for animals. By selecting Animal Planet branded products, retailers can share in the vision to improve the lives and habitats of the animals people love so much. Our targeted initiatives, including the broad campaign to raise $200,000 in 2010, will be underway through each quarter of the year. Retailers seeking to be a part of the R.O.A.R. campaign will benefit from our multi-platform promotion to drive awareness of the program and traffic to the retailers carrying our Animal Planet products. ?

PB: How can carrying licensed Animal Plant products help retailers and improve sales?

Stoops: Consumers are looking for products that give back to their communities and the environment. Not only will carrying Animal Planet licensed products come with the recognition of an international brand, but the R.O.A.R. campaign and messaging will be the trigger that helps make the purchase decision a "yes." These products help animals and the environment by giving a portion of the proceeds to the R.O.A.R. network of charities, letting customers feel good.

Consumers connect with us through our television network available in over 96 million homes. R.O.A.R. is just one other way in which Animal Planet seeks to engage with viewers and consumers to deliver the message. Consumers will respond positively to our brand, which they know and trust, as well as the R.O.A.R. campaign to make the world a better place for animals. ?

PB: Are there advantages to carrying these products other than in terms of sales? If so, what?

Stoops: Each Animal Planet product that is part of the R.O.A.R. program features a short message on package describing the benefits of the program. Many of our products include fun trivia facts and messaging that educate the consumer about animals.

And every product in our mind has a story. R.O.A.R. helps round out the story to communicate the wide range of animal needs today. Beyond the on-package marketing, retailers can benefit from our press and communications initiatives throughout the year.

The benefit of R.O.A.R. is that it does not support one single organization or type of animal and it is not a single event. R.O.A.R. is a network of charities that allows us to support the wide spectrum of animals needs from wild to domestic. ??

PB: How can retailers get involved with R.O.A.R.?

Stoops: Animal Planet works with retailers to help spread the R.O.A.R. message. We sit down with the retailer to discuss the multitude of programs underway, to find a good fit for a partnership. R.O.A.R. charities include a wide variety of options including the American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Earthwatch Institute, EcoZone at South Shore Natural Science Center, National Wildlife Federation, Petfinder Foundation, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and Wildlife Warriors (Steve Irwin’s foundation). These R.O.A.R. partners range from small to large and local to international.

Together, we can identify a cause that is important to the retailer and their region and leverage our platforms to promote awareness of the initiative. For example, this summer the Petfinder foundation will be transporting a number of pets to the North to help the overpopulation problems in southern shelters. Petfinder is the largest pet adoption website and network of shelters in the nation. We will be working with student groups and shelters to transport these pets. Retailers can easily become a part of this initiative in a multitude of ways. They should contact us to find out how!