EXHIBITION NEWS May 2017 - Page 26

COVER FEATURE 26 By 2020, the US pet industry is expected to reach US$96bn (£75bn) in sales, according to Packaged Facts, a market research fi rm. A number of other countries are emerging as global pet forces with to be reckoned with. Worldwide sales of pet-related products and services reached US$81bn in 2010, despite the global recession. “I think the last year there was a bit of worry, especially with the referendum at the Telford show, but things settled down,” adds Pope. “I think with pets it seems that the market is able to withstand periods of economic uncertainty. “Owners seem to keep buying products for their pets. Obviously they’ll still be buying pet food on a regular basis but clothing they’re buying as well, and beds and fashion accessories and toys. The pet trade seems to withstand recession quite well and that’s why I think exhibitions like PATS seem to work and attract visitor numbers.” When it comes to attracring visitors, a big pull for DogFest is its atmosphere, Cooper tells EN, and it helps that you’re tapping into a market where it’s all about responsible pet ownership. “People are incredibly good at things like making sure their dogs are on leads at all times, that they always pick up after their pets,” she says. “Believe it or not, it’s the cleanest site that you could ever see. The venues are always amazed because they think it’s going to be trashed at the end of the event, but not at all. “I think our message with DogFest is all about the animal being part of your family and you being responsible. I think if you weren’t that way inclined you probably wouldn’t go to the event in the fi rst place. I think we have just tapped into an audience of people who love that idea and love their dogs, so they’re going to act responsibly.” furry facts The idea of DogFest originally came about, says Cooper, when she approached Channel 4’s Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick to be a judge on the National Pet Show. “At the time, I also told him that I wanted to do a Great Dog Walk, which turned into DogFest, and at that stage, he said he wanted to be a part of it. And that’s how it formed. Right from the start it was a joint venture between Brand Events and FitzAllMedia, and from there, it’s been very successful.” FitzAllMedia acquired the National Pet Show and DogFest events from Brand Events in September 2016. Cooper also moved to the company, taking up the role of managing director of events. The popularity of DogFest (which promises ‘the paw-fect day out for dog lovers’) was partly due to Fitzpatrick’s involvement, even before he acquired the show. “Having Noel has added another dimension, because he is so passionate and he’s a big personality at the event,” says Cooper. “He’s very involved; talking on stage, leading the dog walk, he’s all over the place and I think that separates us from other pet or dog shows. We have something quite special there.” The relationship between TV programmes such as Supervet, Countryfi le and Pet Rescue with audiences are increasingly close, and could be another key factor in raising awareness of these successful pet shows. “TV has defi nitely helped with the rise of pet show awareness, especially working with the talent,” explains Cooper. “As long as it’s the • No two dog noses are the same. They are the equivalent to our fi ngerprints. • China made international headlines in March 2011 thanks to Big Splash, the red Tibetan Mastiff whose unnamed coal baron owner paid a record- breaking $1.5m for him. • Tarantulas are able to throw needle-like, barbed hairs at their attackers. • Horses use their ears to communicate with their peers. They use ear direction to indicate something worth paying attention to. • A human year is equal to 25 hamster years, meaning a hamster ages a year every 15 days. • Cats don’t typically meow at each other – that’s a communication tool reserved for their humans. May 2017 | exhibitionnews.co.uk creature features right talent and they have the depth, then it really does make a difference. You can see that in any of the major shows in this country; some might not need them depending on their industry, but for those who use talent, and use them well, it makes a huge difference. They’re an ambassador, they’ve got a platform of followers, so it helps.” In 2015, the National Pet Show London even featured in an episode of The Apprentice, when candidates tried to tap into one of the UK's biggest markets of products. “We zone the shows, so we have cats, dogs, small furry animals all separately. You can’t have cats and dogs right next to each other. We have a plan that works well,” Cooper assures EN. “The difference between the National Pet Show and DogFest is that you can’t take animals to the National Pet Show. You come to get i