Purina dog food nabs Pedigree spot at Westminster

The Westminster Kennel Club dog show dropped longtime sponsor Pedigree, saying its pet adoption theme turned off audience.

Adriene Hill: We've got a new top dog this morning. A Pekingese named Malachy won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club. But one of the usual pedigrees was missing from the show -- Pedigree dog food. Westminster dropped the sponsor this year, saying Pedigree's ads that promote shelter dogs turned off its audience.

And while Pedigree may be out, it might not be the real loser. Sally Herships has more.


Sally Herships: Purina must feel like it's in doggy heaven. Up to five million sets of eyeballs were expected to watch its ads at this year's Westminster dog show. Every pair represents a potential customer. And here is the message they're getting:

Ron Goodstein: We know more about dogs than anybody else in the world. We judge dogs and take care of dogs and we believe in this brand.

Ron Goodstein teaches marketing at Georgetown. He says Pedigree has lost a major advertising opportunity, but Westminster's decision to dump its old sponsor may make it look snooty.

Michele Hollow is the author of the blog Petnewsandviews.com.

Michele Hollow: That was the one thing about Westminster that a lot of us liked. That OK, they are promoting purebreds, we understand that, it's a business, but they were doing something kind and talking about these shelter animals.

Now it's pet owners who are talking. Pedigree says since it was dropped by Westminster, the brand has received an outpouring of support on social media.

In New York, I'm Sally Herships for Marketplace.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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