Purina Fights Controversy with Employee Testimonials

The brand is playing defense.

ICYMI, Purina is in crisis mode. Back in February, more than 3,000 dog owners filed a class action suit claiming the brand’s Beneful food had led to health problems or even death for their canines.

At the time, there wasn’t much to the response beyond a statement about how “Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation.”

That wasn’t quite enough for Purina. Yesterday the company put out a multimedia press release including this TV ad:

The company statement claims that the spot above “began as an internal rallying cry” but became so popular that they felt the need to share it with “fellow pet lovers, retailers and critics.” Coincidentally, Purina also ran a full page ad in The New York Times on Sunday to promote the campaign, titled “I Stand Behind Beneful.”

Hmm.

From the release:

“The class action lawsuit, filed in February, included false and unfounded allegations about a popular product that has never been the subject of recall. More than 9.5 million households feed their dogs Beneful each day and in 2014 alone, 1.5 billion Purina Beneful meals were served to 15 million happy, healthy dogs.”

The best line, though, describes the campaign itself:

“Purina associates share a ‘not on my watch’ sentiment that lives up to Purina’s long-standing values and standards…”

The idea is that Purina employees who own dogs feed their pups the food they make–so it can’t possibly be bad. This message obviously won’t sway the plaintiffs, but it does get to the heart of the matter.

UPDATE: Purina tells us that its PR agency of record Burson Marsteller had nothing to do with this particular campaign, which was led by the company’s internal comms team.

On a lighter note, here’s a dog jumping into a car: