Xbox tugs on the heartstrings of pet owners in its new ad campaign

Animals and marketing have gone hand-in-hand for decades. Big brands often utilize dogs, cats, horses, and other cuddly creatures in marketing in order to elicit a positive response among consumers with the hope that the positivity then extends to the brand.

For Xbox, the newest ad spots over the holiday season to promote the Xbox Series X/S (and other Microsoft products) showcased both dogs and cats, and they emphasized to viewers, “This holiday, find your joy.” One featured two dogs from neighboring houses longing to play games with each other, which they ultimately do in their dreams as they pilot aircraft in Microsoft Flight Simulator and play fetch with Master Chief in Halo.

Another commercial, “Lucid Odyssey” directed by Taika Waititi, put YouTube creator MoonLiteWolf in a hypnotic-like trance and tracked her dreams, which culminated in Master Chief being revealed as a cat in outer space. Adding to the wackiness, feline Master Chief is also seen playing music and dancing as a DJ.

One more dream-inspired ad spot, featuring NFL players and content creators, is in the works. The idea that game consoles can “power your dreams” is certainly clever as most gamers play video games as a form of escapism, but drawing on consumers’ love of animals during the holiday season is a solid strategy as well. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, 79% of Xbox One owners in the US have a pet at home. Of those who do own a pet, 63% are dog owners vs. 45% cat owners. These percentages are also higher than non-owners of Xbox One.