SAINT CHARLES, MO: Pet-food company Royal Canin U.S.A., a division of Mars Petcare that sells brands Royal Canin and Eukanuba, has started a review for a PR agency partner.
The company is looking for an agency that would primarily handle crisis management, integrated national PR campaigns, social media, influencer strategy and media relations. The firm would also help the brand with corporate social responsibility and entertainment support, including talent procurement, integrations and sponsorship activation.
The company issued an RFI on July 15; responses are due on Wednesday. Agencies that make the cut will be notified if they move to the RFP stage next Monday. RFP responses will be due on August 21, and agencies moving to the final presentation, which will be held in the company’s U.S. headquarters in Saint Charles, Missouri, will be notified on August 29, according to review documents.
The winning agency will be notified on October 2, and the contract negotiation and onboarding process will run through December with the goal of having the firm under contract by the start of next year.
In addition to asking about CPG and pet-food experience, the RFI queries agencies about sustainability practices and requires them to submit three case studies of various budget ranges, including a national PR campaign and a crisis situation. It also asks the firms to describe their standard team structure for a client such as Royal Canin, to provide a sample of media relations capabilities and to name the tools it uses for media monitoring and social media tracking and listening.
Jamie Ludwig, Royal Canin’s director of corporate communications, declined to comment on the review process other than to say the company has extended invitations to a handful of agencies. She said the brand works with a number of shops, but declined to identify them.
FleishmanHillard is listed as a contact on Royal Canin press materials issued as late as 2017. An agency spokesperson confirmed it has worked for the brand, but declined to comment further about its relationship with the pet-food maker.
A post on Grayling’s website said the agency was a finalist in a European PR award competition for work it did for Royal Canin in Russia. The agency declined to comment on its relationship with Royal Canin.
In 2013, Olson PR, which eventually morphed into ICF Next, won Royal Canin’s PR and social media account following a competitive review. However, the firm has not worked with the pet-food company for at least three years, according to an agency spokesperson.