Posted by Diane Farsetta on December 23, 2008

dog wearing glassesThe economic downturn is hitting the pet industry, too. To compete in a crowded and shrinking market, Mars' dog food brand Pedigree will buy its first-ever Super Bowl ads. But, rather than directly advertising their dog food, Pedigree will promote dog adoptions. Pedigree executives are convinced that "the cause-marketing approach is the way to go." Branding executive Eli Portnoy agreed: "You can't trust your investment banker, you can't trust the government. But you can trust your dog." Pedigree marketing executive John Anton said, "More dogs are going to end up in shelters because of home foreclosures. ... Every time we run this campaign, we see increased sales." The cause-related angle has the added benefit of not reminding football enthusiasts of last year's pet food recalls. Pedigree, in particular, "voluntarily recalled dry dog food" as recently as this summer, "due to possible contamination with salmonella." The Pedigree ad will be designed by Omnicom ad firm TBWA/Chiat/Day.