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The Perfect Purebred Partner: Pedigree vs. Purina

by Emily Taylor
  
15 02 2012

I’m a HUGE dog fan.  In fact, I’m currently sitting on my couch with my computer and my beautiful Weimaraner dog. Though 75 lbs of beautiful grey fur, it’s not completely clear which has won the luxury of being in my lap… So when I heard about the sad split of the Westminster and Pedigree, I had to dig deeper.  After 24 years of a solid partnership, they have “broken up.”  That kind of partnership duration feels a bit more like a divorce than a cordial separation, and I can’t help but see Purina as the “younger woman.” 

Even I have to admit though, that there are some good reasons this was a smart move for Westminster.  For one thing, they are clearly highlighting purebred dogs – sort of the “red carpet dogs,” vs. the everyday house pet.  What a perfect play on the target to have Purina step in as the perfect purebred partner.  Pedigree has, through several efforts, defined themselves as a product for all dogs.  For the mutt or the shelter dog; the every-day dog.  This newly distinguished difference in focus makes it clear that the two were going their own separate ways, and perhaps they were not complementing one another’s focus any longer; or maybe just not as well as another partner might do.  Just a guess. And speaking of shelter dogs, Pedigree has had ads out focusing on the topic of adoption, which pulls at your heartstrings over very sad situations.  To animal lovers anywhere, it’s heart wrenching, and apparently Westminster’s primary audiences were tempted to change the channel when they came on, according to an article by Ad Age.  Now, whether or not turning away from a problem that causes you to ache and pretending it’s not there is a good thing or not; ultimately business is business, and Westminster needs to do what it takes to keep their target audience interested in staying tuned and not going anywhere.  I’m also always toting up longevity in sponsorship relationships, especially cause related, but after 24 years, it’s quite possible they maxed out any of the long term benefits of the partnership.  Perhaps fresh and new was what they needed. And who knows, maybe Purina had some ideas and dollars up their sleeve that Westminster couldn’t refuse… but now I’m speculating.

Here’s what’s interesting to me; the split has probably done both parties more good.  It highlights Westminster even more as the exclusive, high society, event that they are really going for; and it brings Pedigree fans running to their side.  Again, according to Ad Age, Pedigree is seeing tremendous support on social media communities for one, and I would imagine; the loyalty to the underdog has only climbed since the unfortunate break up.  It underscores their cause, and it better prepares to align them with partners who have similar visions.  Purebred is not their focus; they have not defined themselves a red carpet exclusive, so why partner with an event that does?

The applicable truth is this: there are times that we all need to take the time to answer some questions: Are you doing what is best for your partner?  Is your partner the best fit for you?  Are you doing everything in your power to support your property/brand in order for it to become the place it was made to be? What would take things to the next level?  These are all questions that we are digging into here at SponsorPark, and we have some really exciting ideas on the horizon which will be implemented sooner than later… on that note, more to come!

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