Milk-Bone Sponsors Documentary on Service Dogs

Pet treats brand Milk-Bone wants to show the world “through a dog’s eyes” in a documentary airing on the Public Broadcasting Service’s network of TV stations this spring.

“Through a Dog’s Eyes,” as the documentary is called, shows what happens when service dog recipients are matched with their canine companions for the first time. The one-hour episode, a collaboration between production houses TPT and Partisan Pictures, chronicles the two-week journey of several people: Bryson Carey, a 30-year-old former National Guard captain who suffered a debilitating car accident; 6-year-old Aiden Young, who uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy; Destiny O’Brien, who battles epilepsy; and twins Chase and Connor Wilson, who were both diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy.

Milk-Bone, a 12-year sponsor of Canine Assistants (a nonprofit that provides service dogs to physically disabled individuals), is not featured in the documentary. But the brand is running a 30-second spot at the beginning and end of “Through a Dog’s Eyes,” which airs on April 21.

Christie Fleming, vp of pet snacks marketing at Del Monte Foods, said the partnership stemmed from Milk-Bone’s work with Canine Assistants, including a campaign, called “It’s Good to Give,” that’s now running. “Every time you give Milk-Bone, you give more than just 12 vitamins and minerals,” say the spots from Draft FCB, Irvine, Calif. (Milk-Bone donates a portion of all sales to Canine Assistants.)

“The Milk-Bone brand, at its core, is all about being genuine and nothing is more genuine than service dogs providing benefits to people who need them,” Fleming said of the “driving force” behind the documentary.

“Through a Dog’s Eyes” will feature segments like a visit from Dr. Adam Miklosi, the “world’s expert on human-canine bonds,” said Naomi Boak, an executive producer at TPT National Productions, the production arm of PBS affiliate, TPT, which worked on the launch. To promote the launch, PBS will also feature the Milk-Bone logo and the documentary on its site, Boak said.

Del Monte Foods upped its ad spending on Milk-Bone from $600,000 in 2008 to $7.6 million through the first 11 months of 2009, excluding online, per the Nielsen Co. The increase is partially attributed to the brand’s return to TV advertising with the “It’s Good to Give” campaign in September.