UPDATE: A source close to the matter confirms that the business won by Team Detroit was, in fact, an assignment to refresh the larger Purina brand. There was no review, and Hal Riney remains AOR on Beneful. Purina representatives declined to comment on the news, telling us that they prefer not to discuss agency matters.
Multiple sources tell us today that part of the Purina business has gone to WPP–specifically, Team Detroit.
This one is a bit of a head-scratcher because Purina’s parent company Nestle did not announce a creative review and Purina was not included in the big Nestle consolidation of November 2014. But a certain creative at the WPP agency shared news of the win and some of the spec work from the pitch on his personal blog.
Here’s a screenshot.
The agency lineup for Purina’s multiple brands has been a bit of a mixed bag. Fallon long held a majority of the client’s business before a review was announced in 2014, and Leo Burnett worked on the Pro and Dog Chow brands. LB Chicago launched its most recent campaign for Purina Dog Chow two months ago, and IPG’s Avrett Free Ginsberg was already working on Purina One when the review concluded in June 2014 with Beneful going to Publicis Hal Riney.
This all went down before a big scandal hit the company last February: more than 3,000 dog owners filed suit, claiming that Beneful led to health problems and even death for their pups.
Since then, the company has released an internally produced PR campaign, a “how to take care of your puppy” effortby Night Agency of New York, a “Friends with Beneful”/”Dinner for Two”series and a bunch of sponsored content created by Deep Focus, which has been working on Beneful digital/social media for several years.
Unsurprisingly, most if not all of this work focuses on maintaining your dog’s healthy lifestyle with the help of Purina Beneful.
It would seem, then, that Team Detroit has won an assignment to solve the parent brand’s reputation and revenue challenges following the lawsuit (which has yet to be fully resolved).
Purina spent $52 million in measured media on Beneful alone in 2013.