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Pedigree to push adoptions in Super Bowl ad

A dog food company will join the ranks of Super Bowl advertisers — but not to sell dog food, at least not directly.

Pedigree, a dog-food brand owned by Mars, will be pushing pet adoptions in its Super Bowl XLIII ads.

The Wall Street Journal, noting that Super Bowl ads can cost as much as $3 million for 30 seconds, called it “a big investment for an oblique message.”

Pedigree, which has never advertised during the big game, says the cause-marketing approach is the way to go. “It’s the right message to send out at this time,” says John Anton, Pedigree’s director of marketing. “More dogs are going to end up in shelters because of home foreclosures.”

Besides, he added, “Every time we run this campaign, we see increased sales.”

The ad, according the Journal article, will show what life would be like if the world didn’t have dogs. A string of crazy pets is expected to appear, including an ostrich giving a mailman a hard time. The ad won’t show dog food, but will feature the Pedigree brand name.

Pedigree, the third largest dog food brand in the U.S., says it spends about half its marketing budget on pushing adoption.

Some industry watchers say the adoption message could be a smart move, given that the the dog food industry is still smarting from last year’s pet-food recall, when contaminated products led to the deaths of dogs and cats. As recently as this summer, Pedigree voluntarily recalled dry dog food due to possible contamination with salmonella.

One branding expert thinks the Super Bowl ad will be well received. “People are looking for security and love,” says Eli Portnoy, who heads the brand-strategy firm Portnoy Group. “No one has any trust left. You can’t trust your investment banker, you can’t trust the government. But you can trust your dog.”


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time December 23, 2008 at 2:53 pm

I think it’s great that they’re going to do that, and I hope it’s good for their business. I have to say that I’m not much of a crying type, but their “I know I’m a good dog” commercials will bring me to tears every time.