Petsmart Taps Doner for Creative

Petsmart has looked beyond the West for a new agency to handle its creative account, choosing Doner in Southfield, Mich., to replace longtime incumbent Publicis in Seattle.

Doner’s retail background, which includes 12 years as the agency for Iams/ Eukanuba pet foods, figured prominently in the decision, said Marcia Meyer, svp of marketing at the Phoenix-based retailer. “We really felt they understood our customers the best and our customers’ commitment to their pets,” Meyer said.

The assignment includes Petsmart.com. Meyer said it is important that the stores and the Web site be represented with “a single voice.”

The other finalists were Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Los Angeles; The Richards Group, Dallas; and Leo Burnett, Chicago, in partnership with field marketing affiliate Moroch & Associates, Dallas. Publicis did not make the final cut.

Besides its experience with Iams, which Doner resigned last year, many staffers are also enthusiastic pet owners, said Doner CEO Alan Kalter.

Kalter breeds and shows bullmastiffs through his kennel, Happy Legs, in Ann Arbor, Mich. A clumber spaniel he co-owns won best of breed at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show.

Kalter led the Petsmart pitch himself and said the client was impressed when he told them he buys 10,000 pounds of dog food a year.

A separate review for media planning and buying began last week. Doner is competing, said Meyer, who declined to give a review timetable.