Purina Goes Upbeat at Westminster

Brand replaces longtime sponsor Pedigree with campaign from Leo Burnett

Nestlé Purina is bringing a new, upbeat message to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, thanks to ad agency Leo Burnett.

The brand launched a new campaign for its Pro Plan products, starting with a national television spot (below) airing during the competition, today and tomorrow, under the tagline “Inside every good dog is a great dog.” It’s more or less an appeal to the obsessive tendency of owners to anthropomorphize and idolize their pets—stringing together a series of stock images of cute pooches performing fairly banal activities like sitting and running—before escalating into a celebratory montage of the more impressive canine accomplishments. Like helping rescuers and serving as companions to the disabled. And surfing.

The soundtrack for the new Purina ad, which plays up the brand’s message in lieu of a voiceover, was written and performed for the ad by Tony Rogers, a creative director at Publicis-owned Leo Burnett’s sibling Arc Worldwide. The Facebook extension, meanwhile, promises to let users lionize their own animals by integrating their photos into an online version of the commercial.

The overall campaign is part of Purina’s new role as sponsor of the Westminster show, a surprise ending to the 24-year relationship between the high-profile event and rival brand Pedigree. The Associated Press first reported the change-up on Friday, noting the drastic shift in tone from Pedigree’s famously poignant adoption-drive commercials, which featured downbeat footage of dogs stuck in pounds. 

Despite their more upbeat demeanor, the dogs in Purina's new ad bear little resemblance to such real-life Westminster winners as Martha Stewart-owned chow chow Genghis II—more likely to be seen dining (impeccably) at the Plaza Hotel than jumping out of a helicopter to save some foolish human.

@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: February 13, 2012 https://dev.adweek.com/brand-marketing/purina-goes-upbeat-westminster-138230/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT