PetSmart has selected Carmichael Lynch Relate as PR AOR, following a competitive national review.
The agency will also handle PR for PetSmart Charities, the company's nonprofit dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals. Carmichael Lynch Relate brought in fellow Interpublic Group agency Weber Shandwick Toronto to partner on PR for PetSmart Canada and PetSmart Charities of Canada.
The work started on March 1, following an RFP process that began in November. A combination of "big global agencies and strong mid-sized agencies" pitched, said Rob Litt, VP of corporate communications and public relations at PetSmart.
"Carmichael Lynch Relate will be providing support with strategy, research, creative media relations, corporate reputation and social media influencer work," he said.
The agency's job No. 1 is to develop PR and influencer programs to amplify the brand's activations and partnerships and fully establish PetSmart's new positioning.
"Last year, we launched Anything for Pets as our brand mantra to capture the essence of what we do as a company and how we relate with our core customer," said Litt. "It captures how we holistically provide services to merchandise to training, that we will truly do anything for pets and Carmichael Lynch Relate is a great partner for us to really amplify that message."
Litt said the agency is also working on a project announcement for PetSmart Charities related to an adoption milestone.
Carmichael Lynch Relate GM Grete Lavrenz is the strategic lead on the account, overseeing six core team members.
"We are so excited to work with PetSmart; we admired this brand from afar," she said. "We have so many pet parents, pet fosterers and lovers at our agency. So when this RFP came in the door, we couldn't wait to get started with the process and leverage all of this passion we have as an agency."
Golin was the incumbent on the account; the relationship ended in February. Litt said PetSmart is "grateful" for the work Golin did for the brand.
"As we look at our next chapter of growth, we were looking for a partner that was strong in research, strategy and creative and that had a strong passion for pets," said Litt. "Carmichael Lynch Relate separated itself throughout the process and made it an easy decision for us."
Budget information was not disclosed.
Litt joined PetSmart in early 2021 from General Mills, where he was senior director of corporate communications. He replaced Michelle Friedman, who was the company's VP of corporate comms in her most recent role in a 15-year career at PetSmart. She joined eBay as VP of global comms in September 2020.
PetSmart operates approximately 1,650 pet stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 200 in-store PetSmart PetsHotel dog and cat boarding facilities. The retailer provides a broad range of pet food and products, as well as services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp and pet adoption.
PetSmart, PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada work with nearly 4,000 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores. Through this program and other events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 9.5 million adoptions, according to a statement.