Digital Dogs Promote “Marley” Movie, Animal Welfare
The canine-centric holiday movie “Marley & Me,” the pet food brand sponsors and non-profits aimed at animal protections are all getting a promotional boost from a virtual pet application available on the Web, on social networks and on the iPhone.
Using a team of Web game and feature-film animators, FooMojo has created a line of very realistic digital pets that need to be fed, watered, entertained and given medical attention.
Available on Facebook since February 2008 as Pokey pets, they have recently been re-branded and made available for free on MySpace, on a new beta Web site, and as a paid application downloaded to the iPhone.
To promote the Twentieth Century Fox movie that opens on Christmas Day, FooMojo has added a special edition “Marley & Me” pet to its stable of six adoptable virtual cats and dogs. The new puppy, a young golden retriever, is a virtual replica of the movie Marley, complete with animated sequences recreated from the film.
Adoptive owners in the U.S. can also “feed” Marley and the other FooPets using products from Nestlé Purina PetCare, including Purina Dog Chow and Puppy Chow. Those logging into social networks in European markets will be able to feed their pets using virtual food from Pedigree, a brand owned by Mars.
“The basis of the ‘Marley & Me’ story is the emotional attachment people form with their pets,” said FooMojo founder and CEO Ron Hornbaker, a former veterinarian, in a release. “We paid careful attention when creating the Marley FooPet and made sure he not only looks like the film’s Marley but acts like him too.”
“In the movie, Marley teaches his family about love and the strong bond that makes a pet so important in our lives,” said Twentieth Century Fox digital marketing vice president Bettina Sherick. “Whether you’re a longtime pet owner or have never had pet at all, we felt fans around the world should share in the positive experience of caring for their own personal Marley.”
In addition to the relationships with the movie and its pet-food sponsor, FooMojo also plans integrate donations to the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States into the online store of its FooPets virtual environments on the Web and social network sites. The 1 million regular FooPet users can now make easy contributions to those animal welfare organizations in the same place where they use credit cards or PayPal transfers to buy virtual food, medicine and toys for their digital dogs and cats.
All the net proceeds from donations made through FooPet applications will go to the ASPCA and the Humane Society. FooMojo already runs a non-profit FooPets Foundation, which donates 1% of its stock, 2% of its employees’ time and 100% of users’ net donations to charitable agencies engaged in animal protection.