Purina Focuses on Dogs’ Brains
BRAND: Purina Pro Plan
KEY INSIGHT: Most dog owners are not aware that older dogs suffer cognitive deterioration.
ACTIVATION: Nestle Purina and Dognition combined forces to educate dog owners and increase sales of Pro Plan Bright Mind formulas through digital and in-store promotions.
St. Louis — Nestle Purina Petcare had a goal: to help dog owners gain a better understanding of their dogs’ cognition and the important role nutrition plays in canine brain health. It also wanted to give dog owners the tools they need to help support physical and cognitive health in their pets.
So the company partnered with Canines Inc.’s Dognition to promote Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind dry dog food formulas along with Dognition’s cognitive assessment tool. The online Dognition platform offers science-based games that reveal the unique way each dog sees the world. Pro Plan Bright Mind dog food offers brain-supporting nutrition for adult dogs.
The campaign, which launched in March 2016, runs until December. The target audience is huge. “There are 54 million households in the U.S. with a dog; that’s approximately 87 million dogs, and an estimated 44% of them are 7 years old [or older],” says Lisa Pacatte, senior brand manager for Purina Pro Plan. “Most dog owners are not aware that dogs are considered 'senior' at age 7. That's when the glucose metabolism in a dog’s brain begins to change.”
Among the partnership initiatives, Pro Plan and Dognition launched a co-branded landing page at Dognition.com/BrightMind that serves as a hub for redemption of the free Dognition assessment code (a $19.00 value) that comes with a Bright Mind purchase as well as a resource for information on canine cognition and nutrition. The site also allows consumers to play Dognition cognitive games.
Pro Plan also leveraged Brian Hare, the founder of Dognition and a canine cognition expert, to educate consumers about the partnership. Pro Plan sponsored a six-episode podcast series hosted by Hare that raised product awareness, highlighted canine cognition topics and promoted purchase.
The assessment comes with the purchase of any Bright Mind dry dog food formula. Retail partners PetSmart, Petco and Pet Supplies Plus have exclusive time windows to market the promotion to their customers. From August to December, specially marked bags of the dog food contain a free access code inside.
Flagged stickers call out the in-pack offer and integrate Bright Mind and Dognition messaging. This includes a call to action for consumers to “discover your dog’s unique genius” alongside instructions for redemption and the importance of nutrition to support canine brain health.
Pro Plan shopper marketing teams worked with the retailers to create customized promotions and e-blasts to distribute to their subscriber bases. In addition, Pro Plan identified the retailer partners on the co-sponsored landing page to drive customers to stores. Among the activity:
- PetSmart used a targeted email campaign, external digital media banners and Facebook posts as well as ads on Coupons.com.
- Petco used instant redeemable coupons applied by the territory manager, external digital media banners on Bazaarvoice.com, and media banners and newsletter features through Adopt-a-Pet.com.
- Pet Supplies Plus used targeted emails to nearby consumers, social posts, shelf signage and external digital media.
To support the national promotion in stores, Pro Plan developed a series of creative assets, including shelf danglers and magnetic shelf signs that are available to retailers.
Key metrics for evaluating program success include social media engagement, earned media coverage, sales and landing page visits.