Visions for Vacancy: Unleashed by PetCo Coming to Town?
New finding suggests the company may have been readying a guerilla marketing campaign for Charlestown.
PetCo may be headed to Charlestown—albeit in a smaller, more compact form than its banner stores.
Rumors about an Unleashed by PetCo store potentially moving into the Bunker Hill Mall—and just a short walk away from local pet store Durty Harry’s—started swirling shortly after we published our Visions for Vacancy about the empty former Friendly’s there in early March.
At that time, we tried to contact the pet store chain to get confirmation or denial of the rumors, but our efforts failed to earn so much as a return call.
We called PetCo again after a twitter account called @petscharlestown appeared and posted a single tweet: “Hey Charlestown, MA pet lovers - Breaking News - Unleashed by Petco is coming to your neighborhood – see http://unleashedby.petco.com/”
From previous experience, we know that corporations sometimes hire marketers to create online guerilla marketing campaigns meant to drum up interest in the company’s brand.
We asked the account owner if that was an official announcement, and received no response. We again called the company’s communications department several times, left messages and never got a response.
This week, a reader asked what we knew about the issue, which prompted us to take another look at @petscharlestown. The account now featured a few more tweets, including a few links.
One link pointed to a page with a pet photo—the same as the one attached to the twitter account—posted by Laurent LaFotaine. A second pointed to a photo contest which contained a photo that also appeared as the Faecbook profile picture for Laurent LaFontaine, a marketer living in Milton.
When we searched Laurent LaFontaine with PetCo, Google returned a handful of results.
Again, we called PetCo and left a message. That message went unreturned—as did an email asking for the same information and saying that we planned to publish this article whether or not they responded.