The Dog Dilemma: How Freshpet & DS Launched a Kid’s Book

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Written by James Dowd,
• 4 min read
freshpet kids book

If you’re reading this, you’re probably in marketing. And, as someone in marketing, you’re familiar with working on the same old stuff, over and over, with the sole goal of increasing sales.

Well, this is a rare story of the exact opposite.

Back in early 2021, our longtime friends and partners over at Freshpet looked to us for some new ideas. What made us so damn excited was they wanted to do something different in their marketing efforts. They wanted to try new things, engage with consumers in new ways, and offer something other than ads.

And they actually meant it.

How exciting it is to have a client who talks about doing something different — something that does good and connects with the world — and then actually does it!

They believe sales will come when they have great products, which they surely do, and when they engage with people and pets in authentic, meaningful ways, like supporting charities and truly helping with the life of a pet parent.

So, we got to work, brainstormed far and wide, and then shared some wild ideas. Of the many, one stood out: we would create a children’s book that offered an endearing solution to a real tension in potential pet parents’ lives — that eesh moment when your kids start asking to get a dog.

Freshpet Childrens Book

Since you’re a marketer, this is where you know things flip — where the client now wants to brand the hell out of it to sell more products, right? Nope, not Freshpet. They were insistent the book not be about them, but instead, be a good story that helps people and pets. And, to take it further, they pledged to donate 100% of proceeds to animal rescue charities.

What a rare treat in this marketing world of ours.

So, we got to work doing something we’ve never done before — not just illustrating and writing a book but also learning how the entire publishing & printing industry works. (Spoiler: it’s wildly complicated but thrilling.)

For the story, we turned to a friend of Freshpet, Peter Chiarelli, who’s mostly known as the screenwriter of the films Crazy Rich Asians and The Proposal, but we hope he’ll now be mostly known for this book, of course. The story came to life immediately because it was based on real life — it’s how his kids convinced him to get them a dog! We were on our way to something memorable.

To bring the story to life visually, we found an INCREDIBLE illustrator through an Instagram contest — Erica Chen. Having already created vibrant art of kids and animals, her style and experience were the perfect fit, bringing so much magic and energy to the book.

Together, we made “The Dog Dilemma!”, a rewarding book that is crafted with depth in story and experience. It helps parents and their kids, while also being entertaining, including fun little experiences like a hidden dog on every page so the kids could try to find them all.

Childrens Book About Dogs Freshpet Book

The heartwarming story is about two clever little ones as they cook up a plot to convince their parents that they just really, really, REALLY have to adopt a pooch. In “The Dog Dilemma!” Amelia and her brother Theo want a dog. Unfortunately, their parents don’t think they are ready for the responsibility. So, Amelia and Theo are on a mission to prove their parents wrong and convince them to add a furry 4-legged friend to the family. After all, how hard can taking care of a dog be?

It’s cute, informative, and fun. And now, it’s out in the world for everyone to enjoy, and it’s sure to be a bestseller.

The book is great for any parent to prepare their kid for getting a dog. And, you’ll feel good knowing that all the proceeds go to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center and The Pennsylvania SPCA.

You should buy it. It’s a great read and an even better gift!

Grab it on Amazon today to contribute to a great cause and help support a unique, daring, and caring brand we’re proud to stand alongside.