When Iams added prebiotics to its ProActive Health dog and cat food last summer, the Procter & Gamble pet food unit had its work cut out in explaining the benefits of the fructooligosaccharide fiber source that supports immunity health.
“Education was the barrier. Most people confuse pre- and pro- biotics. With probiotics, most people thought we added yogurt to our pet food,” said P&G Petcare rep Kris Parlett. “But when we talked to people, we found that digestion and immune system health are in the top echelon of their pet concerns. So we had to emphasize what is going on inside their pets [that] supports shiny coats and bright eyes.”
Iams decided the way to explain that was to use two beautiful spokespets well suited to deliver the message: “I am beautiful on the inside.” For Iams ProActive Health dog food, Munch, a jowly four-year-old English bulldog, symbolizes inner beauty. Meanwhile, an unnamed Cornish Rex, with oversized ears and a greyhound’s body, is the face of the cat food.
Munch is the star in Iams’ TV spots, promoting the benefits of prebiotics. He became particularly popular and now has over 1,200 friends on Facebook. Both Munch and the Cornish Rex appear in retail displays, tied to Iams’ identifying colors of green for dog food and orange for cat food. Omnicom’s The Integer Group, Lakewood, Colo., created POP promotion.
“This was particularly successful as a holistic campaign. We had this iconic figure in Munch on TV, who struck a chord with consumers,” said Parlett. “We were able to link our TV visuals with print and in-store, and utilize the same ‘I am beautiful on the inside’ communications for a very consistent message.”
The prebiotic message was launched primarily on the Internet and then moved to in-store education and TV, before Munch’s popularity “exploded online,” added Parlett.
Iams carries its educational efforts through retail efforts: An orbit-like symbol on the prebiotic packaging is similar to one on in-store displays with cat and dog figures, and a similar icon near their stomachs. The icon urges consumers to “look for this prebiotic symbol to support healthy digestion and strong defenses.”