Petbarn & Greencross Vets Create Live Parasite Tracking Tool Via Howatson+Company

Stunning high angle aerial drone view of Balmoral Beach and Edwards Beach in the suburb of Mosman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. CBD, North Sydney and Chatswood in the background left to right.
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Petbarn and Greencross Vets have partnered with Howatson+Company to launch PetWatch, a digital tool that uses live data to make parasite threats across the nation visible for the very first time.

In Australia, up to 100,000 pets every year are affected by paralysis ticks, while thousands more suffer from other deadly parasites like heartworm and roundworm. Despite this, new data shows that pet owners often leave their pets unprotected from this invisible danger for 5-8 months of the year.

The new digital tool allows pet parents to check the threat level in any suburb, learn more about the parasites around them, and find the appropriate preventative treatment.

“To create our parasite threat level heat map, we cross referenced four years of clinic and hospital data from Greencross Vets and Petbarn, with information from external sources that correlate with ideal parasite breeding and activity conditions. This includes Greenspace satellite data, temperature, rainfall, and humidity data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. This was only possible because of the existing data from the Greencross team, and our close working partnership,” said Hoang Nguyen, chief technology officer at Howatson+Company. “It’s a sad reality that too many pets die or become severely ill from parasites when they could have been protected through affordable preventative products. For the love of pets, we were determined to put our minds to how to fix this,” said Nick Adams, COO at Greencross Pet Wellness Company.

“Parasites are often out-of-sight and out-of-mind until it’s too late. In the past, this kind of information could only be accessed via a vet visit. PetWatch is one of the world’s first comprehensive resources for this information. I would encourage Australians to stay vigilant, check the PetWatch risk level in their area, and in the areas that they are travelling to over the holiday period,” said Dr Magdoline Awad, chief veterinary officer at Greencross Pet Wellness Company.PetWatch is a full end-to-end customer journey, alerting people to the tool when the threat level has increased in their area through Social, CRM and text messages. There is also a product finder for flea, tick and worm treatment included in the experience to guide pet parents through finding the correct treatment for their pet.  “Australia has warning and alert systems for almost every other natural danger in Australia, from riptides to fires. But when it comes to our furkids, there was nothing. And that lack of knowledge was leading to preventable deaths,” said Jared Wicker and Elaine Li, creative directors at Howatson+Company.

PetWatch also gives fresh, real-time insight into the severity and frequency of pet parasites. It’s revealed, for example, that paralysis ticks are a year-round threat, by tracking their seasonal fluctuation over the last several years.


Client: Petbarn

Chief Customer Officer: Nick Adams

General Manager: Jessica Donovan

Head of Retail Marketing: Rachel Beeton

Retail Marketing Executive: Lauren Smallman

Agency: Howatson+Company

Founder/CEO: Chris Howatson

Executive Creative Director: Gavin Chimes

Creative Directors: Jared Wicker, Elaine Li

Chief Data and Technology Officer: Hoàng Nguyen

Chief Experience Officer: Nicole Flinton-Ferraro

Planning Director: Georgia Pritchard

CX Planning Director: Aneeta Sharma

Head of Production: Holly Alexander

Design Lead: Reece Lawson

Senior Experience Designer: Chloe Schumacher

Digital Designer: Brock McConnell

Creatives: Brandon Nee, Eliza Katsourakis

Designer: Sam Reiher

Senior Copywriters: Kiri Wheaton, Deb Frenkel

Senior Front End Engineer: Scott Zonneveldt

Engineering Director: Brendan McKenzieTechnical Director: Stewart Leach

Senior Marketing Automation Specialist: Leon Guo

Marketing Automation Specialist: Trung NguyenQA: Loc Nguyen

Digital Producer: Ivy Bi

Group Business Director: Katy Ward

Senior Business Manager: Lucy Stock

Head of PR: Ben Handberg

PR Senior Account Director: Melinda Durston

PR Account Director: Natalia Katsionis

PR Account Executive: Isobella Hayes

Editors: Kel Gronow, Marke Broome

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