NAMA'S BEST OF SHOW: SPECIALTY
PURINA PRO PLAN'S "EVERYDAY HEROES" CAMPAIGN IS A WINNER
The stories of people and their pets have been expressed in many ways — rarely in a form that accurately depicts the unique relationship between human and animal.
Consider, for example, a competitive breeder and dog. From the discipline and care needed to train a champion to the emotional bond required for solidifying this "team" that also recognizes what both bring to the "partnership."
It's defined by hard work, but begins with good health. World Class winners place a premium on the nutrition of their dogs, as it's the very fuel that gives extraordinary dogs what they need to finish on top. In fact, Purina Pro Plan is fed to more of the top 100 dogs in AKC all-breed competition than any other brand.
WE GET THE TEAM CONCEPT HERE
In this assignment, the opportunity for Colle+McVoy was to develop a campaign that would broaden the awareness of the benefits of Purina Pro Plan.
"Breeders and enthusiasts are a very important market for us,". said Candy Caciolo, Marketing Director, Purina Pro Plan. "The challenge we set before Colle+McVoy was clear — we wanted a campaign that would resonate with all breeders, not just those competing in top circles."
The creative team set out to immerse itself even further into the world of canine competition. Even though Purina Pro Plan has been a client for five years, the Colle+McVoy team insisted there was more to learn.
"In my time here, I have attended dog shows everywhere on the map from Westminster, NY, to our local Minneapolis — St. Paul Bulldog Club Specialty Show," said Michelle Frys, Account Supervisor.
Collectively, the team has attended more than a dozen conformation shows and related events to gain a better understanding of the sport and how positive outcomes could be achieved with the campaign.
"We learn something new each and every time we are assigned to a project, and work diligently to apply those key learning's in a way that provides results and favorable outcomes for the client," said Christine Fruechte, President of Colle+McVoy.
BRAND IDENTITY INSIGHTS
Taking this information to heart, the Colle+McVoy team began to conceptualize the building blocks for a successful campaign that would tie its audience to Purina Pro Plan; something competitive breeders and dog enthusiasts would respond to that was distinctive, visually appealing for Purina Pro Plan and revealing for those who had not been exposed to the products' attributes.
Account Planning Director Amy Myers adds that "by immersing ourselves in the Purina Pro Plan brand's history and breeder mindset, we gleaned a variety of insights such as; the belief among breeders that their dog has championship potential (even if that potential isn't recognized in the ring) — potential that can be nurtured with the right nutrition. In fact, a common question breeders ask themselves is "Am I getting the most out of my dog with the food I'm feeding?"
So, the team worked to identify the "scientific story" of Purina Pro Plan formulas and then craft concepts to highlight a dog's natural potential — in and out of the ring. Because dogs are judged against their individual breed standards and then against their overall performance in the ring, it was critical to link how nutrition could help enhance the qualities judges look for most — clear eyes, toned muscles, a lustrous coat and an exuberant vitality that says "pick me."
On the subject of visual importance, the Colle+McVoy team also knew that when it came to capturing the attention of those in the ring, a few different paths could be taken creatively to reinforce the brand positioning — the outcomes of winning, bringing a dog into perfected form and highlighting the product directly.
"We were looking for something that would not only stand apart from other ads but also be meaningful to the audience," comments Mike Fetrow, Executive Creative Director for Colle+McVoy. "It was important that the visual representation of the dogs matched how competitive breeders feel about them."
In order to bring that idea to life, the photography needed to be visually arresting. A photographer who could capture pretty backgrounds wasn't enough. The campaign called for two unique needs — distinctive landscapes that were rich in both color and perspective, and photographic images that captured dogs in all their glory.
The agency performed an exhaustive search to find a photographer who was brilliant at photographing still landscapes, but also had experience in-studio — preferably working with animals. The agency found this person in Professional Landscape Photographer, Chad Ress. The added bonus was that Ress had also been exposed to showing and breeding dogs through his family. He understood what is valued by competitive breeders and was able to capture the essence of each dog. The photography was shot in multiple locations around the Los Angeles area including the private Tejon Ranch.
"What many people don't know is that we shoot the backgrounds first, so that we can match the light when the dogs are shot against a green screen in a studio. It makes the composition seamless and the look is something most never expect," said Ress.
The creative team worked closely with Purina Pro Plan in choosing the breeds for the campaign based on popularity, size and creative appeal. The final campaign showcases 14 breeds including the Miniature Poodle, English Bulldog and German Shepherd. Each dog was selected based on their magnificent representation of their breed standard. In fact, most were champions or on their way to finishing the number of points required for a championship title.
SPREADING THE WORD
The team knew the campaign would run in all-breed books such as Dog News, Dogs In Review and AKC Gazette — magazines published specifically for breeders and enthusiasts. However, plans to broaden the campaign's reach to those who don't regularly read breed specific publications was decided upon as production began to wrap. To deepen our penetration, books such as "Poodle Variety," "The Rottweiler Quarterly," and "German Shepherd Review" were added to the media plan.
The campaign continues to win praise among competitive breeders and dog lovers alike, yet nobody suspected the images would be so popular. In fact, posters produced for displays at shows and events have been known to mysteriously disappear.
"It doesn't matter what breed you have — the campaign has universal appeal to anyone who's a dog lover," said Maureen Salamone, Director, Breeder Group.
Efforts by the Colle+McVoy team to extend the campaign are ongoing. The campaign has been so successful; the Colle+McVoy team recently completed another photography series shoot in Hawaii with dramatic new backgrounds and additional breeds. New executions of the print images are anticipated this summer.