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Major media brand partners to launch 'webi-soap' featuring dogs in soap opera dramas

Meredith, a top US media and marketing company, has partnered with animal health company Merial to develop and distribute "As the Dog Barks," an original video series that is meant to engage pet lovers across Meredith Digital's network, the company announced today.

Meredith Corporation

"As the Dog Barks" is a humorous spoof of the classic daytime soap opera genre, featuring animals in the leading roles. The four-part "webisoap" will air across Meredith Digital sites with a custom hub on Better Homes and Gardens, and organically via the publisher's social channels. The custom hub features bios and behind the scenes footage of the characters.

The video series was created and developed by Meredith Digital, written and directed by Gregory Abbey, and uses voiceover talent to bring the canine characters to life. The series features character types found on a typical daytime soap opera (e.g., the mysterious stray, the doggie diva, and the wise pooch), and parodies recognizable elements from the daytime drama genre, including: extreme close-ups, tight reaction shots, slow-motion running sequences, overly dramatic music, and "tune-in-tomorrow" cliffhangers.

Meredith serves 102m American women and three out of four millennial women. It's brands include magazines Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Family Circle, Parents and Fit Pregnancy among others. Additionally, Meredith Digital engages nearly 50m pet owners each month, according to comScore. The series is designed to engage millions of pet lovers across Meredith Digital's network of properties and social channels, while growing awareness for Merial, the maker of Frontline Gold Brand Products.

"Meredith Digital and Merial partnered together to create original video content that is fun, fresh, and purposefully designed to best engage consumers on our owned-and-operated sites and the 60 million consumers who follow us across social platforms," says Marc Rothschild, senior vice president, Meredith Digital. "Because it is designed with our audience in mind, the Merial custom video program will be entertaining to our consumers and drive real business results for Frontline Gold."

"As the Dog Barks" has already garnered strong social engagement, with thousands of views for the trailer alone. Meredith will continue to leverage its large social footprint of more than 60 million fans and followers across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to drive organic video views of the series.

"We work collaboratively with our media partners to continually reinvent how we reach pet owners," says DJ Perera, director of consumer marketing of Merial. "The 'As the Dog Barks' 'webisoap' concept was an inventive, clever way for Merial to engage with consumers while building awareness for our Frontline products. We're pleased with the series' initial success."

Meredith also features robust brand licensing activities, including more than 3,000 SKUs of branded products at 4,000 Walmart stores across the US. Meredith Xcelerated Marketing is an award-winning, strategic and creative agency that provides fully integrated marketing solutions for many of the world's top brands including Kraft, Lowe's, TGI Friday's and NBC Universal.

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