Purina Agencies Line Up for $30 Mil. Account

CHICAGO–Ralston Purina is talking to roster shops about creative and media planning duties on its estimated $30 million Purina One high-end dog- and cat-food brand, sources said.

The brand, which Lowe Lintas & Partners in New York currently handles, accounted for 20 percent of St. Louis-based Purina’s nearly $140 million ad budget last year, according to CMR. The review is believed to be limited to roster shops.

Purina shareholders in May approved a sale to Nestle Holdings, maker of Alpo dog food and Friskies cat food, for $10.3 billion. That deal is still awaiting regulatory approval. The Swiss food conglomerate is currently in the process of reassessing its ad assignments at six global roster shops, including McCann-Erickson, J. Walter Thompson and Lowe Lintas [Adweek, July 2]. The Purina One review is not believed to be part of that evaluation.

Avrett Free Ginsberg in New York handles the client’s Cat Chow, Kitten Chow and Meow Mix. Fallon in Minneapolis handles Dog and Puppy Chow, some treats and is launching Beneful, a healthful dog food, this fall. Berlin Cameron & Partners in New York handles Tidy Cat litter. Purina’s media buying is done by Advanswers in St. Louis.

Dailey & Associates in Los Angeles, which handles Nestle’s pet-food brands, may also be involved, sources said.

Officials from Purina and Nestle roster shops either could not be reached or declined comment. Purina did not return calls.

Lowe Lintas’ recent work for the brand features a montage of pets and their owners, with a voiceover explaining why people love their pets. The campaign is tagged, “How great relationships are fed.”

Purina spent nearly $30 million on Purina One in 2000, of which about $20 million was for the dog food brand, according to CMR.