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Petco Campaign Highlights the Company's New Pet Food Policy


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Petco has launched a marketing campaign that brings to life the company's recent commitment to becoming the first and only major pet food retailer to remove artificial ingredients in dog and cat foods by May 2019, said company officials. The Cleaning House campaign highlights the change happening now at Petco, and directly calls on pet owners to reconsider what they feed their pets by offering a gritty reminder: "If it doesn't meet our new standards, you won't soon find it on Petco shelves."

"Last year we put the entire pet industry on notice by introducing new standards for nutrition because we firmly believe it's the right thing to do for pets," said Tariq Hassan, Petco chief marketing officer at Petco, which has headquarters in San Diego. "This campaign breathes life into that decision and the journey that lies ahead for Petco. It's a departure from anything we've done before, and a direct reflection of our ongoing brand transformation to meet the evolving demands of pet parents."

Through referencing available guidelines provided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Petco defines artificial colors, flavors and preservatives as:

  • Color from artificial sources: any dye, pigment or other substance that can impart color to a food that is not derived from a natural source.
  • Artificial flavor: any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products.
  • Artificial preservative: chemical substances added to or sprayed on the outside of food to retard spoilage, deterioration, discoloration, or contamination by bacteria and other disease organisms. Does not include preservatives that are derivatives of natural compounds.

The Cleaning House campaign vividly defines Petco's new standards by showcasing dogs and cats brazenly clearing Petco shelves of products and ingredients that don't meet them. The campaign is designed to reinforce Petco's industry-leading stance on pet nutrition, while educating pet owners on the new standards and empowering them to act accordingly, according to company officials.

The national campaign, which includes TV, OLV, display, paid social, paid search, digital content and influencer components, will run throughout the company's fiscal year on Jan. 31, 2020, and marks the brand's first major project with Anomaly, the retailer's creative agency of record. Anomaly joined the company's agency roster in December of last year to help lead the pet retailer's marketing and brand transformation strategy.

"This bold gesture by Petco is part of an even greater mission to transform the brand and the category," said Eric Segal, chief creative officer at Anomaly. "This meant we needed to match their ambition with a campaign that looked and sounded like nothing else out there, filled with joy and momentum to make you undeniably feel the seismic shift coming and entice you to come along for the ride."

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