GLOBAL BRIEF: P&G acquisition heralds international pet project - P&G has a global push on its plate for Iams petfood. Lisa Campbell has details

Pampered pooches around the world are in for a treat. Following Procter & Gamble’s pounds 1.4 billion acquisition of Iams petfood, a very special spread is coming their way.

Pampered pooches around the world are in for a treat. Following

Procter & Gamble’s pounds 1.4 billion acquisition of Iams petfood, a

very special spread is coming their way.



Although the product and its sister brand, Eukanuba, are global leaders

in premium pet nutrition, they have not, up to now, been widely

available or had significant marketing or sales support. That looks set

to change since P&G bought the brands last month and last week appointed

Saatchi & Saatchi to formulate a global ad campaign.



Iams and Eukanuba are premium quality, high-priced dog- and catfoods

which have been formulated in conjunction with breeders and vets. They

are available in 77 countries throughout the world but have limited

distribution - at specialist petfood stores, clinics and grooming

parlours.



Eukanuba (pronounced you can noo’ bah) is the more specialist product -

the name an expression coined by the jazz musician, Hoagie Carmichael,

in the 40s to mean ’the best’. The range is tailored to specific health

needs - used to help treat infections or improve bones and teeth.



Advertising in the US was previously handled by W. B. Doner. The ads,

which are still running, focus on the emotional bond between pets and

their owners. A current execution features an old, lame dog and an owner

concerned about how best to care for it. According to Don Tassone, a P&G

spokesman, the company is likely to keep the emotional theme of

advertising but stress more forcibly the specific product benefits.



’We don’t want to lose the heart-warming side of the brand but we think

there is an opportunity to help consumers understand the differences

between this and other products,’ he says.



The idea of entering the relatively new market of global pet nutrition

was spawned by P&G’s latest creation, the corporate new ventures group -

part of the Organisation 2005 initiative.



The group believes that P&G’s scientific expertise in the fields of

nutrition, hygiene, hair and skin care, coupled with its global scale,

will help fuel Iams’ growth internationally.



The premium segment of the petfood market is the area of strongest

growth.



In the US, Iams has annual sales of dollars 800 million and has been

growing an average 16 per cent annually for the past four years.

However, P&G is likely to focus much of its efforts outside the US,

which accounts for two-thirds of the premium petfood sector. The UK and

Germany are particularly strong markets.



It is understood that P&G will use its famous distribution clout to

expand the brand into grocery outlets for the first time, and will

produce an advertising campaign of similar magnitude to the Sunny

Delight launch - one of the most successful grocery launches of the

decade.



This would revolutionise the market in the UK, which for years has been

the domain of just two companies, Mars/Pedigree and Spillers, the former

spending pounds 26 million on advertising last year.



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