Venus Williams and Purina Pro Plan Sport Encourage Pet Owners to Get Moving for Charity 

The tennis icon’s latest partnership bolsters her alignment with purposeful brand initiatives 

Driving relevance means driving growth. Join global brands and industry thought leaders at Brandweek, Sept. 11–14 in Miami, for actionable takeaways to better your marketing. 50% off passes ends April 10.

Mondays tend to arrive with a special set of challenges—especially the ones that immediately follow daylight saving time.  

Now, Purina’s Pro Plan Sport brand and tennis icon-slash-dog mom Venus Williams wants to help pet owners nationwide adjust to the new time change alongside their furry friends—while turning those minutes into money for a great cause.  

During Purina’s “Monday Like a Pro” Challenge—which begins Monday and runs through May 21—Williams and the Pro Plan team will issue weekly challenges through the campaign’s website, where pooch parents can register and log in their active minutes with their canines.  

Each week in which participants collectively achieve 1 million minutes of activity will result in a $15,000 donation from Pro Plan (up to a maximum $150,000) to Athletes for Animals, a non-profit that focuses on the care and placement of homeless pets. Participants will also have a chance to win a year’s supply of Purina Pro Plan dry dog food, with one winner randomly selected each week throughout the challenge.  

“Let’s face it, Mondays are tough,” Kristen Beckerle, senior brand manager at Purina, told Adweek. “But not for active dogs and their humans, who always take challenges head on. That’s why we are excited to have Venus Williams, and her dog Harry, join Team Pro Plan, along with a roster of all-star athletes, to take Monday motivation to a whole new level.”    

Beckerle continued: “My favorite part is that [this challenge] is also an opportunity to give back to homeless pets in need through our partnership with Athletes for Animals for the second year in a row.”  

For Williams, it was a challenge she was more than happy to accept.  

“I’m really excited to help animals, help people get active, and help people to fuel their dogs and give them the nutrition that they need,” Williams told Adweek. “Whatever you love—dancing, walking, riding your bike, whatever it might be—there’s no wrong way to move your body. As long as you’re getting active, move your body and include your dog [in the process]. That’s all that we’re asking for.”  


image

As a still-active athlete, Williams regularly hits the gym and runs. But the tennis icon admits that Harry, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she endearingly calls “the best impulse decision I’ve ever had,” has a less intense workout regimen now that he’s 16 years old.  

“He focuses more on sprinting to the food bowl,” she joked. 

An ace of a partnership 

Williams’ brand partnerships are as intentional and purposeful as her game.  

In recent years, she has worked with Clif Bar to inspire more diversity in nature, conquer “Gymtimidation” with Stitch Fix, and call out gender bias in health care for Blue Shield.  

With Purina, the tennis’ goddess of “Love” gets to show some to her best friend and frequent travel companion, who stars alongside her in a promotional video shared by the brand.  

“Really, I like to do things I believe in. And also, I don’t have a lot of time. So, if I’m using my time, I want to use it with things that I’m passionate about. And I’m very passionate about pets and animals. So, this is really the perfect partnership.” 

She continued: “As an athlete, I’m also keeping my body strong and energized for my whole life. The [brand’s] formula has all these great ingredients that keep dogs active and lean, and filling your dog with the right nutrition is extremely important. And one of the things that I focused on in my messaging was what I want: for my dog to live the longest life possible for him to be happy. And when you feed your dog the right things, that is possible for them to live longer and be happy.”

Enjoying Adweek's Content? Register for More Access!