Seattle-based, “vet-centric” pet insurer Trupanion’s leaders often like to underscore that the company does not participate in “pay to play” marketing tactics.
Trupanion’s leaders enjoy talking about ethics, transparency, and more transparency. For the second year in a row, the company has decided to market itself to the veterinary profession, one of the most educated, sophisticated professions on the planet, in a way that seems more appropriate for a “My Pillow” advertisement.
One year ago, Trupanion President Margi Tooth’s big marketing hire, Tom Vaughan, joined the team, though not by actually relocating to Seattle from the UK, the only country where he’s ever lived and worked that TCR is aware of. Mr. Vaughan has, for example, never lived or worked in the United States, nor has he worked for an American audience. This may explain why Trupanion is unable to explain, promote its product, or otherwise message itself.
Trupanion CEO Darryl Rawlings told TCR last year that he believed the DVM360’s badge which his company had purchased was not deceptive or unethical because it was a reflection of what results would have been in a real, scientific survey. Therefore, buying something that conveyed to vets that Trupanion had won the survey was not misleading, Rawlings explained.
Still, Trupanion has never disclosed the dollar amount it paid for the badge to pet owners, veterinarians, nor to TCR. Nowhere is the fact that Trupanion even paid for the badge to begin with disclosed.
Trupanion founder and CEO Darryl Rawlings did not answer or return multiple requests seeking comment and the company’s spokesman, Michael Nank, was terminated in late June during the last round of layoffs.
Vets know best! At Trupanion, the veterinary community means the world to us, and we’re honored to be voted #1 pet medical insurance for the second year in a row. We wouldn’t exist without your incredible dedication to the health and well-being of pets and their families. Thank you for all you do.