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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Better when it's BONKERS

Silver Honor in Pets & Animals

Audience Honor in Pets & Animals


Terms such as “pet parent” and “fur baby” represent a significant cultural shift – we are in the midst of a transition from ownership to companionship, as modern pet owners redefine the traditional family structure to include their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Millennials and Gen Z represent nearly half of pet owners globally, and they are seeking new pet care brands that serve “family” over “function,” but are unable to find them within a stagnant market dominated by a few key players. They have different expectations of pet food brands than previous generations; expect greater transparency as to what goes into the products they buy for their pets; and are engaging with brands very differently through digital platforms. So BONKERS was built. A brand built first and foremost to foster the bond between pets and their people. A brand that understands pet parents use treats as a method to strengthen the bond with their pets. A brand that celebrates the individuality of our pets, and the changed dynamic across generations that now sees modern pet owners prioritizing connection over control. BONKERS delivers treats that are better quality for pets, better priced for pet parents, and with a brand experience that is more relevant and connected for its Millennial and Gen Z demographics, leveraging their digital fluency and desire to engage on digital platforms.

Strategy and Execution

BONKERS made it its mission to shake up a stale industry, dominated by two legacy brands, and create products to better serve modern pet parents and their furry family members. The strategy was built on a disruptive brand identity. A bold brand, with a strong, distinctive, consistent personality, designed to deliver customer delight. At an easy ‘add-to-basket’ low price point, with distinctive packaging, the product was designed to maximize every possibility of impulse purchase. BONKERS products deliver superior quality at a great value for customers: Under 2 calories per treat (cats), under 5 calories per treat (dogs), soy-free, wheat-free, no artificial colors of flavors. And it worked. From the initial ‘idea during lockdown’ to being ready to ship to 12,000 stores, with the largest retailers in the world, the timeline was only 10 months.

The foundational “Better when it’s BONKERS” story informs the brands' culture, product development and, marketing. The brand platform takes life’s mundane moments and supercharges them with a BONKERS pet – a playful celebration of all that is uniquely weird and wonderful about pets. Leading with emotion, BONKERS was ready to disrupt an industry by refocusing it on connection. 

For the brand to stand out, it needed to lean on bold creative to demand attention – every execution had to surprise and delight, both in-store and online. BONKERS incorporated four core elements on its packaging to build distinctive memory structures: BONKERS pink, the logo, brand and product taglines, and (most importantly) an endearing BONKERS pet. The fresh and fun packaging brought the brand story to life in a category lacking personality and inspiration.

BONKERS also recognized the limitless opportunities it had to connect with consumers through the digital space. BONKERS shifted from mass messaging to something that felt more personalized, using its social media channels to highlight people’s hilarious and heartwarming pets interacting with the brand. BONKERS found that humor, in today’s environment, is powerful – providing light relief with joyful and quirky pets was landing with its audience. Forging a strong brand association with feel-good content, with a digitally native audience who love to share funny animal videos, gave the brand an edge. BONKERS quickly became TikTok’s most-liked pet treats brand globally.     

Building on the momentum, BONKERS set out to create an entirely unique piece of content to bolster brand awareness, increase social virality, and drive incrementality. The Pet Jingle, a music video made by a cat and dog duo, captured and delighted audiences worldwide. The music video features vocals by Mishka the Husky, while Alfie the Cat plays a miniature piano. BONKERS worked with a composer to create the first ever jingle made BY pets, FOR pets. (They even recorded it at a world-renowned recording studio in London.) The Pet Jingle brought a new dimension to the “Better when it’s BONKERS” platform.

By 5 May 2023, BONKERS went from a non-existent brand to one sitting on shelves in 12,000 stores in 3 countries.


Since its launch in October of 2022, BONKERS has exceeded all projected outcomes, made itself a staple in major global retailers, and has become a viral sensation on TikTok. It has garnered the following accomplishments: 


Video for Better when it's BONKERS

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Rhodes Pet Science, BONKERS


Entry Credits