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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Chewy Claus

Finalist in Pets & Animals


Holiday is the busiest time of the year in the Pet category. In addition to advertising, Chewy’s goal was to stand out with an ownable “brand act” that enabled pets to experience the magic of the holidays. Our objectives were to engage customers, generate earned media buzz, and drive cultural conversation. Our intention was to build on our equity of surprising and delighting customers by creating a WOW moment for as many customers as possible.

The Chewy Claus program was a digital experience that invited customers to submit a letter from their pets, asking for anything their furry, feathery or scaly hearts desired, in exchange for a curated gift delivered to their doorstep by Chewy Claus. For every letter submitted, we promised to donate 1 lb. of food to pets in need so their bellies and bowls would be full during the holiday season.

Chewy Claus was built on the insight that pet parents already give their pets human experiences around the holidays, with 94% of pet parents holiday shopping for their pets and more than 80% including their pets in holiday family photos. But what didn’t exist was a way for pets to truly participate in the holidays themselves, until Chewy Claus.

We also factored in the natural connection between the holiday timing and “give back” mindset of consumers to build an idea that not only benefitted the customer, but also had an altruistic payoff for shelters and rescues, a key passion-point of the Chewy customer.

Strategy and Execution

Sending holiday lists for coveted gifts was previously a tradition reserved for humans, with pets taking a backseat in the sleigh. And even if pets could get their paws on pens and paper, they had nowhere to send their holiday lists, until Chewy Claus came to town.

Chewy Claus was a national program - positioned as a letter writing campaign – in which pets submitted their Holiday Lists to Chewy Claus. During the program, Chewy randomly selected and fulfilled 5,000 big and small wishes from lists submitted by pets across the country; from boxes of toys, treats and apparel to meaningful individualized gifts. In addition, we fulfilled two large wishes (a sizable donation and cleanup day at a local animal shelter impacted by Hurricane Ian; and a new wheelchair for a paralyzed pet) to give back, showcase the program, and generate breakthrough, emotive earned media coverage.

Leveraging Chewy Gives Back, we donated 1lb of pet supplies for every letter submitted, helping pet parents feel good about their contribution. We amplified through a press release, localized and national pitching of List Fulfillment, pushing brand and user generated content through our owned social handles, engaging influencers (including Peloton instructors), and driving traffic through Chewy email inclusion + employee engagement by highlighting on LinkedIn and running a Chewy-employee Chewy Claus sweepstakes.

Our Letter Writing campaign was an engaging and emotive entry form. The program’s theme centered around a large holiday season & retail moment (winter holidays) and provided pet parents a “Santa Claus” equivalent for their pets. Instead of merely asking for a name and email, we created an initiative people wanted to participate in by putting the pet at the center of the experience with customized gifts based on their individual personalities. No matter the outcome, pet parents were rewarded for their letter with a special give-back moment via Chewy’s commitment to donate for each submission.


Chewy Claus exceeded all marketing objectives by generating: 70,000 letter submissions (outperforming our initial goal of 5,000 letters by +1,283%); 23.7M impressions (representing a value of $13.70 cost per thousand (CPM)); and 143 media placements (reaching 10M readers and viewers) across lifestyle, regional, marketing, pet and news outlets with top hits in Mashable, Newsweek, and PEOPLE.

Chewy Claus outperformed every Chewy historical engagement benchmark by creating positive sentiment and capturing the largest social media share-of-voice (40%) amongst competitors during the holidays (+12pts vs. nearest competitor). The campaign also significantly increased aided (+40%) and unaided (+37%) awareness of Chewy, and made people feel good about purchasing from us.

Most importantly, we fulfilled 5k pet holiday lists and recognized the other 65k letter-writers by donating a total of 80k pounds of pet supplies to Greater Good Charities.

Ultimately, Chewy Claus broke through the holiday messaging clutter, specifically amongst competitors, and generated thousands of leads (potential new customers) through a clever spin on an age-old holiday tradition. This created an enjoyable customer experience that also gave back to the community. All in the spirit of the holidays.


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