Iams celebrates 10 years of holiday campaign for pet adoption

DAYTON, OH: Iams Pet Food is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its pet adoption campaign, "Home 4 the Holidays," with the help of Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman.

DAYTON, OH: Iams Pet Food is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its pet adoption campaign, "Home 4 the Holidays," with the help of Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman. The campaign, in partnership with the San Diego County-based Helen Woodward Animal Center, includes online outreach, traditional media relations, and a new sports-themed challenge.

Online, Iams is using Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and its Web site to get the word out about the campaign, said Kris Parlett, external relations specialist for Procter & Gamble Pet Care. Iams is also testing a partnership with two NFL teams—the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns—for the "Cats versus Dawgs" competition, monitoring completions on the field and adoption completions at local animal shelters.

For media relations, Iams and PainePR, AOR for "Home 4 the Holidays," pitched* Huffman's story of her adopted dog Tucker to outlets including The View, The Oprah Winfrey Show, USA Today, and Parade. Huffman also voiced two PSAs. This is the first time Iams has had a formal relationship with a celebrity, but actresses Diane Lane and Kristen Bell both helped in a lesser capacity in the past.

"Felicity's story was really cool and in line with the messaging of 'Home 4 the Holidays,' that a dog or cat finds you, you don't find them," Parlett told PRWeek. Outside of Huffman's story, the campaign will also pitch personal stories from successful pet adoptions.

Running from October 1 to January 5, the campaign encourages consumers to adopt animals from their local shelters, with a goal of providing 1 million homes during those 12 weeks. As of November 10, there were 291,394 adoptions.

However, Iams says it is realistic about the current state of the economy, that might cause an influx of abandoned pets at adoption centers. Partlett said the campaign's message is that "if the time is right for you and you can afford to adopt, a pet is a great companion."

In addition to PainePR, Iams is also working with Saatchi & Saatchi for communications, imc2 for interactive, and Optimum PR in Canada, among others.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Iams is currently pitching media outlets, however most of the media relations occurred in the months just prior to the publication date. We regret the error.

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