Pet Food Recall Sparks Full-Page Ad Campaign In 59 Major Papers

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By: Joe Strupp

A leading pet food company took out full-page ads in 59 major daily papers during the past two days in a damage-control move aimed at keeping customers during the ongoing national pet food recall.

Proctor & Gamble, which owns IAMS and Eukanuba brand pet foods, began running the ads on Tuesday in about half of the papers, including The New York Times. The remaining papers, such as The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. ran them today.

The ads are in the form of a letter to “concerned pet owners,” which notes the recall of certain wet pet foods nationally that contained melamine, a chemical used in some Asian fertilizers that was in some pet foods processed through China. It has been blamed for numerous pet deaths in the past two weeks.

The ad states that any such tainted wet foods had been recalled and that none of the company’s dry pet foods have been affected in any way. “You can feel safe and confident in feeding all Iams and Eukanuba dry foods, as well as any wet foods that are not on the…recall list,” the ad states, in part. “You can go to Iams.com or Eukanuba.com to see the specific list of recalled wet pouch and canned products.”

A toll-free number for consumers to call with questions also is included.

“It is a place of record,” Kurt Iverson, a spokesman for P&G Pet Care, said about the use of newspapers for the message, in an interview with E&P. “We have been having a lot of individual, one-on-one conversations in the past two weeks, and this is a way to be in touch with [consumers], to reach that other audience out there.”

Among the newspapers running the ads are the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and the San Antonio Express-News. Iverson would not disclose how much the company paid for the ad space.

“We have been keeping our normal ad campaign, but this [ad] goes deeper and newspapers are a great way to explain it,” Iverson said.

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