Animal influencers: How pets earn big bucks as Instagram stars
Loni Edwards is an unusual agent with peculiar clients. Take Ella Bean: "She travels all over the world. We recently did a campaign within the Ritz Carlton."
Ella Bean is a dog. "She's the fashion blogger in dog form, So she's always traveling," said Edwards. As when Ella Bean posted pictures from Paris.
Edwards owns The Dog Agency. The name is a little misleading -- she represents all sorts of animal stars of Instagram, like Atticus the hedgehog.
Edwards has gotten Atticus starring roles in Instagram ad campaigns for Stainmaster carpet cleaner and Olympus cameras. When each one of the 117,000 people who follow Atticus logged on, they saw pictures like this:
And Stephanie Zheng (and her hedgehog) were in business.
"There were definitely a lot of benefits of getting an agent," Zheng said. "The biggest thing is the fact that they can read over the contracts for you and negotiate on your behalf."
Tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, even more than a million people follow some of the animals whose pictures are posted on the social network. A popular animal becomes what's called a "Pet Influencer," and few pets have as much influence as Diddy Kong and Yeti Kong, two monkeys from Miami.
Gabriella Katia and her boyfriend Matt Crown started posting pictures of Diddy and Yeti for their friends. And then, the monkeys went viral.
"We had no idea they were going to become so famous," Katia said. "And it's exciting -- I mean, we've never seen a famous monkey like this on Instagram!"
Laugh if you will, but sponsors are willing to pay for pets -- and the eyeballs they attract.
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