Power to the (Dog) People

Cameron Woo, today's guest blogger, is publisher of Bark, a must-read magazine for dog lovers. People Have the Power by Patti Smith Listen. I believe...


Cameron Woo, today’s guest blogger, is publisher of Bark, a must-read magazine for dog lovers.

People Have the Power
by Patti Smith

Listen. I believe everything we dream
Can come to pass through our union
We can turn the world around
We can turn the earths revolution

We have the power
People have the power

After more than ten years of publishing Bark magazinethe voice of modern dog cultureif Ive learned anything at all its that every dog has his/her day. And that day has arrived (hallelujah) for dog people. It seems every strategist from Wall Street to Madison Avenue is acknowledging the newest demographic to mark a territorypeople who love dogs.

Part of my job at Bark is selling advertising space in the magazine. Lately, the quest for reader demographics has been turned up several notches. Ad agencies representing companies large and small have been asking: How much do your readers earn? What kind of car do they drive? Do they vacation with their dogs? Buy organic? The interest is palpable. In a world where information is king, dog people are what they refer to as impassioned enthusiasts with a strong psychographic (attributes relating to personality, attitude, values and lifestyle). In short, we love dogsand that makes us highly desirable.

Youve probably seen those eye-opening stats in articles about the burgeoning pet industry75 million dogs, a third of American households owning a pet dog, $30 billion spent annually. Yes, thats you! Someone cares about you and your dog! Or, how your love of dog influences your spending and the social choices you make. Cue up those commercials with the adorable rescue dogs and their pet food, and the one featuring a lost dog and a credit card. These are aimed straight at the heart of dog people in a none-too-subtle effort to seize your sympathies and make that all powerful brand-consumer connection.

So, now that we have accepted our card-carrying membership in this new social group, whats next? How about using this newfound power to make a difference? Im reminded of the bumper sticker created by a few off-leash advocacy group: I have a dog, and I vote. Yes, its time to get involved and to let your opinions be known. Worthy causes abound. Not enough off-leash areas for dogs? The local shelter threatened by budget cuts? Is that anti-puppy mill legislation being stone-walled by special interests? Well, theres good news, as a dog lover, you are part of a special interest group 100 million strong! Thats some special interest!

So, like it or not dog people, you belong to a community and a greater cause. You have responsibilities. Embrace them and learn to love it. As they say in my hometown, the Republic of Berkeley, everything is political. Shop wisely. Vote responsibly. Exercise your freedom of speech (hey you, pick up!). And help us take a giant leap forward for all dog-kind.

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