Philippines’ Burgeoning Pet Culture is Shifting Lifestyles—and it’s Creating ‘Paw-Some’ Opportunities 

Philippines’ Burgeoning Pet Culture is Shifting Lifestyles—and it’s Creating ‘Paw-Some’ Opportunities 

Philippines pet culture

 

Trexy, an adorable golden retriever, recently captured people’s hearts as videos of him joyfully playing with neighborhood kids in a town in the Philippines went viral on TikTok and sparked media interest. The heartwarming scenes reminded many of not just the nostalgic memories of a carefree childhood but of the pure affection between pets and humans. 

This is just a glimpse into a growing trend known as pet humanization, where pets are no longer viewed as mere animals but rather cherished companions or even integral members of the family. This shift is not only reshaping attitudes towards pet ownership but also fueling growth in the pet industry worldwide. In the Philippines, the evident shift in pet parenting culture and lifestyle choices presents unique opportunities for brands to connect with pet owners on a deeper level.

Changing human-pet dynamics is driving pet industry growth 

During the pandemic in 2021, people sought companionship while confined to their homes, leading many to turn to pets for solace and emotional support. There was a noticeable surge in the demand for pet adoption in the Philippines, as indicated by Google search volume data obtained by Vero’s Data and Insights team. In 2021, this trend grew significantly, with a year-on-year growth rate of 30%. Subsequently, in 2022 and 2023, the trend recorded a stable growth rate of 5% annually and reached its peak in 2023 with over 7.7 million total searches. 

This is further substantiated by recent findings from the Social Weather Station, which reported that 64% of Filipino households now have pets, with dogs (78 %) and cats (50%) considered the most popular. 

This rise in pet ownership has fueled substantial growth in the pet industry in the Philippines, with a promising outlook. According to Mordor Intelligence, the pet food market alone is projected to expand from an estimated P16 billion (USD292.20 million) in 2024 to P37 billion (USD681.32 million) by 2029, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 18.45%, compared to 16% from 2017 to 2023. 

While the pandemic undoubtedly highlighted the pet culture in the Philippines, momentum was already building even before then. For instance, a 2014 study predicted that although Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia dominated 80% of the pet care market in Southeast Asia, the Philippines was poised to emerge as the most dynamic market by 2020, growing at 8.4% annually. Additionally, a survey by Rakuten Insight revealed that the Philippines already boasted the highest pet ownership rate in Asia in 2018 at 83%. 

This trend has also prompted businesses outside the pet industry to increasingly adopt a pet-friendly approach. Over the past decade, a noticeable shift has occurred across malls, resorts, hotels, and various public venues, where policies have evolved to accommodate the rising presence of pets accompanying their owners. These establishments have tailored their offerings to include amenities and services designed specifically for fur babies. From the introduction of dedicated pet parks and pet-friendly dining options to the emergence of specialized pet stores, businesses are actively enhancing their appeal to pet-owning clientele. 



 

Filipinos are taking pet parenting seriously 

Survey by Vero Philippines

Vero conducted an informal survey in March to delve into the nuances and rising appeal of pet culture in the Philippines.

We found that 83% of the respondents consider their pet as their “child” or “baby”, while another 8% think of pets as their “sibling.” 

In addition, 64% say they want a pet mainly for companionship, while more than 55% say they feel a sense of responsibility to look after animals. 

As pets become an integral part of the family, their owners also invest in their health and welfare. 48% of the respondents spend between P1,000 and P5,000 monthly on their pets, with some spending as much as P15,000. 

82% of the respondents rated food quality and dietary needs as the most important pet budget priorities, followed by veterinary care and grooming. While pet insurance and training classes aren’t quite common among household pets, respondents still rated them as part of their top six priorities, along with accessories and toys. 

These findings reflect the dual nature of pet ownership, perceived by respondents as both a necessity and a luxury (49%). Pets “bring love and priceless joy” but also demand special attention and care. For the pet owners in the survey, pet parenting entails responsibility and the willingness to allocate additional resources. 

It is also notable, albeit subject to debate that there is a growing inclination towards pet adoption over having children in the Philippines and globally. A Forbes article mentioned the changing family structures as “people choose to become pet parents, taking on a parental role and factoring their pets into major decisions about their career, housing choices, and romantic relationships.” 

 

‘Paw-some’ opportunities for brands 

The shifting dynamics of pet parenting culture offer significant insights for brands, marketers, and communicators in the Philippines. This evolving trend underscores the importance of catering to pet owners and their furry companions, and highlighting this unique relationship is key to connecting with this growing demographic. 

Pet-friendly businesses and brands are frequently lauded for their dedication to pet welfare and inclusivity, fostering a positive perception among customers. This portrayal positions the brand as caring, empathetic, and socially responsible, resonating positively with both customers and the broader community. 

  • Given the profound role pets play in people’s lives, pet parents make careful choices regarding their pets’ nutrition, health, and welfare. They opt for high-quality products and services, even if it sometimes means stretching their budgets. Brands should effectively communicate the advantages of their offerings for pets’ overall well-being. It is not surprising to see pet parents investing in products to ensure the happiness and health of their beloved fur babies. 
  • A sense of community enriches the pet ownership experience. Brands can foster this by creating or engaging in online forums and social media groups. They can also consider hosting physical events that allow pet owners to connect, share experiences, and learn from each other. 
  • Much like thematic advertisements in the Philippines, brands can highlight the deep emotional bond between pets and their owners. Storytelling can be a powerful means to show pets as integral family members, focusing on the joy, companionship, and love they bring into people’s lives. 
  • Beyond selling products, brands can consider offering value that enhances the pet parenting experience. This could include free pet care advice, training tips, or access to exclusive pet-related events, providing added value that can differentiate the brand and foster loyalty. 

 

At Vero, we are always intrigued by emerging trends in the region, such as the “budol” culture in the Philippines, Thailand’s soft power strategy, and the live selling phenomenon in Indonesia. Curious to learn how your brand can leverage the latest trends in the Philippines to achieve your business goals? Reach out to our team in the Philippines at manila@vero-asean.com to learn more. 

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Charmaine de Lazo is a writer, editor, and journalist with 12 years of experience working in newsrooms and crafting narratives for brands. Today, she’s helping to tell new and meaningful stories across Asia as Regional Editor at Vero. 

RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS 

Kim Donato  |  Carla Moreno  |  Nicole Briones   |   Paulus Soriano   |   Vero’s Data and Insights Team 

VISUALS 

Gella Gesultura 

 

 

Dell and EcoNest Philippines for ‘Business We Love’ Campaign
CASE STUDY BY VERO PHILIPPINES

Context

Dell EcoNest

Through its Business We Love campaign, Dell Technologies continues to support and highlight eco-conscious small businesses, promoting sustainability by empowering them with one powerful product—the Dell Vostro 15 3510 laptop. 

Its latest partnership is with EcoNest Philippines, the leading distributor of sustainable, technologically advanced packaging solutions for conscientious local and multinational brands. Their goal is to significantly reduce the planet’s reliance on petroleum-based packaging items and thrive in a circular economy. 

Execution

Vero produced a testimonial video featuring everything that makes EcoNest Philippines a sustainable business from their brand story, eco-friendly values, and vision of a future-proof world. The video follows co-founder Nikki Sevilla, the headquarters, products and people of EcoNest Philippines, using stop motion and documented footage to highlight the packaging materials while unpacking their story as a company and a movement. In doing so, we emphasized the shared values of Dell and EcoNest in promoting the idea that businesses should continuously evolve and innovate to provide more eco-friendly solutions through technology. 

The Impact

Dell Technologies’ support through the Business We Love Campaign went beyond providing media and channel exposure for the featured businesses. It played a significant role in encouraging people to patronize local businesses and educating them about sustainability practices. 

Through a business partnership with EcoNest Philippines, Vero: 

  • Increased awareness of, engagement with, and brand preference for Dell Vostro 15 3510 laptops among its target audiences; 
  • Featured the sustainable brand and business owner and boosted their social media presence via Dell SNS, and;
  • Activated and strengthened the Dell Enterprise Network FB group, increasing both participation and engagement within the group. 

The campaign exceeded the set KPIs. The thematic video content garnered enormous success, receiving a high volume of impressions, views, and clicks. These metrics indicate that the video narrative particularly captured the attention of the local audience. 

Dell EcoNest
THE RESULT
14.4M+
Impressions
470K+
Engagement
467K+
Total Clicks
238K+
Total Views

Genderless creativity

To celebrate Women’s Day, we advocate for genderless creativity in the Philippines’ PR and advertising industry.

 

TL;DR

  • Despite reduced objectification of women, biases persist, affecting promotions and project assignments.
  • Systemic biases like gender-based assumptions and micro-aggressions hinder the creative process in the PR industry.
  • Effective marketing demands diverse perspectives. Let’s advocate for inclusivity that creates a level playing field for all talents, regardless of gender identity.
  •  

    Gender representation in the Philippine advertising industry has shifted significantly over the last decades. Overt objectification of women is no longer as prevalent, and we have seen ads boldly defying stereotypes (although sometimes overdone), reflecting more inclusive and progressive narratives. 

    But the scenes behind gender-empowering commercials and brand messaging seem to paint a different picture. 

    A liquor brand campaign deal that fell through because the client thought that “[the] all-women team might be a better fit to handle our make-up brand” was enough reminder of the persistent biases in the advertising and PR industry.  

    And this is just one facet of the issue: systemic biases encompass gender identities and come in different forms. A male AE leading a campaign for personal hygiene was suddenly removed from the project despite his vital role in shaping the campaign; a gay man’s idea was called “too gay;” a single mom was denied a promotion to a full-time copywriting position was held off because the agency wanted her to focus on motherhood. 

    Little things compounded 

    Here’s the problem. It’s the subtle gestures, the seemingly “harmless” side comments that quietly permeate the workplace and become embedded within the very structures of the industry.  

    These are not isolated incidents; they represent systemic challenges that often go unnoticed, unreported, or swept under the rug. We’re fairly certain the other parties didn’t perceive the real-life examples above as misogynistic or gender-biased, or at least not as something they feel culpable for.  

    Micro-aggressions may appear innocuous on the surface, but their cumulative effect is profound. They chip away at morale and hinder people’s ability to contribute their talents and thrive in the industry.  

    Even the most common form of advising a female AE to “wear a skirt and look pretty” for a pitch meeting or choosing someone for a client-facing role based on assumptions about their gender or appearance rather than their qualifications underscores the need for the industry, which prides itself on being the creative force behind culture-defying and ceiling-shattering initiatives, to take a critical look at itself. 

    We need diverse, not many, creative voices 

    Obviously, the problem extends beyond the walls of the PR industry. Clients and brands across diverse sectors come to the table with unique expectations and preconceptions, often shaped by societal norms and traditional corporate cultures. While briefs may not explicitly state a preference for “male- or female-only account executives and media planners,” subtle implications eventually infiltrate the discourse.  

    These nuanced cues manifest in the selection of team members, the allocation of resources, and the overall direction of campaigns. We believe these are not always intentional, but they reinforce gender stereotypes and inequalities. 

    Building an effective marketing strategy and brand messaging requires the contributions of many creative voices, each offering distinct insights and perspectives. Many minds are better than one, and by “many” we mean diverse voices that enrich the conversation with a variety of experiences and viewpoints. This leads to more well-rounded and impactful campaigns — and definitely steers brands clear of the pitfalls of gender-insensitive messaging and being the subject of a public backlash. Remember Subway Philippines’ blunder last year? 

    Whether an idea originates from a man, a woman, or any other gender identity, its value remains unchanged. Any team with the right expertise and creative flair can pull off an incredible brand campaign, regardless of where they see themselves in the gender spectrum. After all, creativity is – and should be – genderless. Brands and creative agencies are partners of innovation and progressive thinking, so fostering open dialogues, challenging implicit biases, and advocating for diversity and inclusivity together is crucial.  

    On Women’s Day, we call for allyship 

    As we celebrate Women’s Day, we rally for not just women’s empowerment and recognition but also gender equality and the liberation of creative voices from the confining constraints of societal boxes. 

    When we remove biases in campaign briefs, pitch meetings, and campaign executions, we create and respect everyone’s space in the industry, thereby leveling the playing field for all talents to thrive. 

    It is not enough to have seats at the creative table – it’s time for those who were shunned to be heard. The next time we hear someone speak in a mixed room, let’s recognize the value their voice brings to the conversation, not the gender attached to it. For to inspire creativity is to #InspireInclusion. 

     


    ABOUT THE AUTHORS 

    Nicole Briones is the Managing Director of Vero in the Philippines. Gella Gesultura is Vero’s Associate Creative Director for the Philippines and ASEAN.

     

    Vero leadership roles 2024

     

    Leading communications consultancy Vero announces key leadership appointments today, marking a solid start to the agency’s strategic plans and goals in 2024. 

    Nicole Briones steps into the position of Managing Director in the Philippines, a testament to the sustainable business she managed to build when Vero expanded its footprints in the Philippines back in 2021. Leading a team of 15 communication experts, Nicole has played a key role in spearheading campaigns for clients such as UNICEF, the Danish Dairy Board, and Prime.  In her elevated role, she will continue to provide leadership and guidance to the team, aiming to further strengthen the agency’s presence in the country and foster impactful partnerships with top-tier clientele. 

    Supreeyaporn Sihawong, who started as People & Culture Manager in Vero’s Thailand office in 2021, has now ascended to a regional position as the Vice President for Human Resources. With her demonstrated success in advancing the agency’s growth in Thailand, Supreeyaporn’s expanded role empowers her to supervise all HR initiatives throughout Vero’s office, promote progressive HR strategies, and cultivate robust programs for employee recruitment, retention, and professional development. 

    “Nicole Briones and Supreeyaporn Sihawong embody Vero’s forward-thinking culture and have been instrumental in our growth in Southeast Asia. With their elevated leadership roles, Vero is poised to make more meaningful work and take our work culture to greater heights,” said Vero CEO Brian Griffin. 

    Ranked among the Global Top 250 Agencies by PRovoke Media, Vero has strategically positioned itself as one of the most trusted independent communications consultancies in Southeast Asia. The agency boasts over 200 award-winning PR, influencer, creative, and digital consultants across Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and with a recent expansion into Singapore, Vero has forged strong partnerships with an extensive and diverse client base in the last 17 years. 

    Building on the launch of several business verticals and major brand campaigns last year, Vero is gearing up for an even more significant 2024. Besides these new roles, exciting new initiatives and bigger collaborations are in the pipeline.  

    “We will continue to deliver innovative work for our partner brands and organizations, helping brands strive in Southeast Asia’s complex media and consumer landscapes. It will be an exciting year for Vero,” added Brian.

     

    Vero Philippines sustainability

     

    This month marks the second year of Vero’s operations in the Philippines, and we’re celebrating this significant milestone with a stronger commitment to advancing sustainability communications in the country. 

    With the growing global focus on sustainability and the green economy, Vero is launching the Philippine edition of its “Greenwatching” sustainability playbook as well as an AI-based sustainability messaging tool to help businesses in the country combat greenwashing and craft authentic sustainability messages. 

    Addressing greenwashing with a comprehensive playbook and a smart bot assistant 

    According to the World Risk Index for 2022, which assesses the disaster risk for 193 countries, the Philippines is the most exposed to natural disasters. Despite this, the Philippines achieved a score of 41.9 on the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, falling below the average of 44.1. These facts underscore the impact of the environmental crisis in the Philippines and the need for businesses and the government to fast-track the country’s green growth by adopting sustainable practices and policies.   

    However, there are two relevant communications issues that demand urgent attention: helping Filipino businesses and consumers understand sustainability and addressing the prevalence of greenwashing, or the practice of presenting misleading, biased, or ambiguous information or claims in an organization’s sustainability messaging.   

    In light of these challenges, Vero is launching the Philippine edition of its “Greenwatching” sustainability playbook, titled Tree Planting Is No Longer Enough: Advancing Authentic Sustainability Communication in the Philippines.” 

    The playbook’s aim is to provide brands and communicators in the Philippines with guidance on identifying and addressing the pitfalls of greenwashing while encouraging the adoption of authentic sustainability messaging. It includes practical strategies that address the “7 Sins of Greenwashing,” which include No Proof, Vagueness, Worshipping False Labels, Irrelevance, Hidden Trade-Off, Lesser of Two Evils, and Fibbing, as well as local insights and case studies that demonstrate how businesses can use the framework to identify and rectify potential greenwashing in their own communications. 

    “Communication professionals play a central role in curtailing greenwashing and sparking positive conversations that help fight climate change. At Vero, we wholeheartedly embrace our role as an agency to drive positive change in sustainability. Testament to this is being the first agency in APAC to sign the Clean Creatives pledge to refuse all work involving fossil fuel companies,” said Nicole Briones, Operations Director at Vero in the Philippines. “We see a growing demand for sustainable practices and the need to increase understanding and awareness of sustainability among businesses and consumers in the country. We believe actionable tools like the Greenwatching playbook can empower brands, communicators, and our own team to develop more authentic narratives about sustainability.”   

    Aside from the playbook, Vero rolls out an innovative “Greenwatcher” AI chatbot, trained with the knowledge and framework for greenwashing analysis as outlined in the sustainability playbook. The Greenwatcher simplifies the complex task of identifying and addressing greenwashing in communications. It is powered by access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, where users can input prompts to help them analyze messages for potential greenwashing and receive recommendations on content revisions based on the guidelines provided in the playbook. The Greenwatcher is available for free here. 

    Greenwatching in the Philippines Vero

    Creating impactful work 

    Beyond identifying areas where Vero can contribute to sustainability, the agency has also celebrated significant milestones in the past year that emphasized its dedication to supporting the growth of both global and local brands in the Philippines through effective and inspiring work. These accomplishments include: 

    • Harnessing AI’s potential to craft bolder narratives: Recently, Vero has introduced Rover, an AI-first PR agency focused on empowering brands across the region to tell more impactful stories through AI. Rover’s goals include accelerating team learning and amplifying human creativity in areas like influencer collaborations, marketing strategies, trend analysis, and immersive experiences. The agency places a strong emphasis on upholding ethical AI practices, maintaining transparency, fact-checking, staying informed about AI-related regulations and standards, and fostering collaborations with AI thought leaders to ensure responsible and effective use of AI in communications. 
    • Educating brands and communicators on evolving market trends: As part of its thought leadership efforts, Vero published a white paper that delves into the health and wellness habits of Filipinos. This initiative has been instrumental in providing brands and communicators with valuable insights into the ever-changing preferences of consumers regarding their diets and lifestyles. By sharing market insights, Vero aims to equip brands and marketers with the information they need to develop more effective strategies that resonate with their target audiences. 
    • Training the next generation of communicators in the Philippines: In the past year, Vero successfully concluded the first iteration of its nextGEN internship program, which saw five interns gaining real-world professional experiences and invaluable insights into the communications industry. The interns also had the unique opportunity to collaborate with WWF-Philippines, contributing creative ideas aimed at helping the organization more effectively fulfill its mission. 
    • Driving compelling stories for industry-leading clients: Vero had the privilege of crafting compelling stories for industry-leading brands such as Dell, Prime Video, Royal Canin, TikTok, and UNICEF. Throughout a busy yet fulfilling year, the team worked on diverse initiatives, including organizing a Manila food crawl to help grow TikTok’s food content category, hosting high-profile press conferences to spotlight Prime Video’s latest shows, crafting expert content and media events for Royal Canin to educate Filipinos on responsible pet ownership, and driving impactful communications to amplify UNICEF’s critical work in promoting children’s rights. 

    “Over the past year, we’ve had the honor of running exciting and impactful campaigns that resonated with audiences and helped our clients fulfill their purpose. Looking ahead, we aim to continue pushing the boundaries of creativity and channeling our collective efforts into projects that not only communicate, but also inspire and make positive impact,” said Briones.

     

    If you’re interested in knowing more about our work in the Philippines, email us at manila@vero-asean.com or you can fill out our Contact Form.