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Pet-fluence: Adopting a New View of Influencer Marketing

Pet-fluence: Adopting a New View of Influencer Marketing

Let me tell you the tale of how I almost adopted a new cat because of an Instagram Story.


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A post shared by Bruno Bartlett (@theebrunobartlett) on

When @theebrunobartlett shared the above adoption plea on his Instagram Story, this week for a senior cat named Birdie, my heart broke and I was immediately invested. Here’s this sweet kitty, who likes the simple life of window-sitting and cuddling, but NO ONE adopted her at the brunch they’d hosted for her?! The injustice!! I, personally, have two cats (Laverne and Shirley), and couldn’t imagine something like that happening to my girls. Then, as I clicked through and saw that she was in Atlanta, right down the road from me, I felt an intrinsic responsibility to do something about it.

I was ready to adopt her, but with a vacation coming soon, it just wasn’t a good idea. But, I made a plan with my boyfriend that if we came back from vacation in two weeks and Birdie wasn’t adopted yet, we’d be adding her to the family. I saved the post on Instagram and was checking in on her each day. I even brought it to the attention of a few staff members and got them invested too.

This morning, when I logged into Instagram to do my daily check of Birdie, I was beyond ecstatic to see that someone mentioned she was getting adopted. I then went down a rabbit hole and realized that all of the sharing of Birdie’s story had essentially gone viral — it even reached Chrissy Teigen who was ready to adopt her.

Here’s Birdie, getting ready to go to her fur-ever home. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Influencer marketing is getting some flack these days. It seems like every week there’s a new scandal discrediting the industry. I get it, Fyre Festival was a complete sh*t show and Kardashians don’t disclose like they should, but these bad apples aren’t truly representative of our industry. Birdie is a reminder of the power influencers have to make good things happen. Without Bruno (who lives in Chicago btw), I wouldn’t have ever known about Birdie, but because of word-of-mouth, she became an overnight national sensation. Influencers’ audiences trust them, and when they stand behind a cause, people will rally around it. Birdie is proof.

The misconception of influencer marketing seems to be that brands just want to use creators with large followings to promote products and ultimately increase sales. Sure, that’s something you can do with influencers, but that’s not the full picture. We believe, first and foremost, in the power of influence to tell a story and spark or change a conversation.

And, some of our clients are evidence of how it can be used to spread a good message, not just to plug a product. We’ve partnered with American Cancer Society to source influencers who have personal ties to cancer, to educate their audiences about cancer prevention. We even set a Guinness World Record for the Most Widespread Social Networking Message, #beatcancer, solely through the word-of-mouth of influencers. Cox Enterprises invites influencers to visit their solar farms so they can help showcase the effort they are making to improve their impact on the environment. We also worked with Coca-Cola to reignite awareness of their 5by20 initiative that seeks to empower women across the globe.

Influence doesn’t begin and end with sales; it’s ultimately about infusing humanity back into marketing and transforming sentiment in timeless and lasting ways. True influence is rooted in inspiration, and that is the strongest driving force there is — proven true this week by a senior, homeless cat named Birdie.

Now you can follow Birdie on Instagram!

Birdie’s new family:

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