Zero Degress of Separation… Getting a New Dog Food Brand Directly to the Dog.

In Germany, a pet food is being launched by a company that needed an innovative way to launch a new product with a very small budget. They created a novel concept where a dog owner, standing in front of a billboard on the street, checks in by mobile device to Foursquare, and a dispenser instantly delivers the product, right there, at pet level. Dog eats, is happy, and becomes conditioned that this is a place worth visiting. What a brilliant idea to forgo the gatekeeper (pet owner) and get the product sample to the end user. The dog now “commands the owner.” Thanks to financial guru Peter Farnsworth alerted us to GranataPet.

But what is even more important is the “experiential” community that this idea can build. First there is the local/physical community of people seeing the pet reaction, and gravitating to the billboard dispenser. It is a gathering place and true brand experience. Pet owners walking by the billboard will be intrigued and will certainly become engaged. But imagine the scale of the community as Foursquare links the users experience to Facebook. Awareness will be organic because the idea is so interesting.

What this signals is the ever-evolving integration of technology with ideas. The technology is here to create an automated way to bypass the intermediary (the pet owner) and deliver product directly to the end user. Now think product sampling getting past any gatekeeper (like a parent), and the experience creating a virtual community. It is simply brilliant and only the beginning.

What technology is enabling is new ways to think about reaching end-consumers in innovative and highly efficient ways. Many of the barriers such as cost or time-of-day or control are eroding. Smart marketers will have to really open their minds to new and innovative ways to reach important audiences. In a sense, anything is possible. So the dependent variable is the ability to be able to ask “what if” and to actually find technologies that enable and experience and product delivery. In the end, the winners will be the innovators.

What other ideas have you seen integrating technology to introduce products to consumers in new ways?