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
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
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
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.