Hill's Science Diet launches pet nutrition campaign

TOPEKA, KS: Hill's Science Diet has launched a campaign for its Ideal Balance pet food line.

TOPEKA, KS: Hill's Science Diet has launched a campaign to promote its Ideal Balance pet food line.

Cohn & Wolfe, which has worked with Hill's since January, is leading all outreach and communications efforts. The agency is reaching out to broadcast, radio, print, and online media outlets, as well as pet, nutrition, wellness, and lifestyle bloggers to promote the campaign.

“The thing that we always try to do from a Hill's perspective is humanize pet nutrition,” said Jay Laduca, VP at Cohn & Wolfe. “There's a lot of conversation out there about natural ingredients, but what people aren't talking about in the pet-food space is the importance of the right nutritional balance of those ingredients.”

To raise awareness and educate consumers, Cohn & Wolfe facilitated a partnership between Hill's and PetMD to create “MyBowl,” a nutritional guide. A core team of four agency employees is working on the account.

Everyone knows the nutritional guidelines that the government puts out for people,” said Laduca, “and there's nothing out there for pets that way, so we created MyBowl as an interactive nutritional tool.”

MyBowl showcases the amounts of each food group that dogs should consume on a healthy diet. Hill's and PetMD also developed a dog nutrition center on the site, featuring blogs, Q&As, a pet nutrition study, and a guide to understanding the pet food ingredients label.

Laduca said the companies will launch a five-question dog-nutrition quiz on the site where consumers can test their pet wellness knowledge and earn a chance to win up to $2,500 in gift cards for pet retail stores.

Cohn & Wolfe is promoting the quiz and campaign through Hill's Facebook page. Although the Hill's internal team and digital agency VML are managing social media channels, Cohn & Wolfe are ensuring PR messages are accurately communicated in the digital space, said Laduca.

The PR firm is part of an integrated group of WPP agencies known as “Team Hill's” that works for the company, collaborating on plans, promotions, and campaigns, Laduca added. These include Burson-Marsteller, ad agency Young & Rubicam, VML, and shopper marketing agency Mars Advertising.

A Hill's representative confirmed the campaign, but declined to comment further on it.

Cohn & Wolfe will help Hill's launch the second phase of its “Million Pound Pledge” in January with Allison Sweeney, host of NBC's The Biggest Loser. It will ask pet owners to make a New Year's resolution to help both themselves and their pets lose weight.

“The obesity epidemic that started in adults trickled down to kids, and now it's affecting our pets,” said Laduca. “Over 50% of the pet population in the US is overweight.”

In part two of the Pledge project, which is still in development, Laduca said the brand will give consumers more of a chance to engage with Sweeny and learn about her personal pet weight loss story.

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