Hartz pounces on Kirshenbaum

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Hartz Mountain Corp. awarded its $10 million integrated marketing communications campaign to Kirshenbaum Bond Creative Network, New York.

The Hartz Mountain pet-supplies company is the second J.W. Childs Associates company to sign with Kirshenbaum this year; Meow Mix awarded its $15 million account to the agency in the spring. The KB Creative Network, working through its units Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, Media Kitchen, Dotglu and Lime, is responsible for advertising, media buying and planning, public relations, promotions, guerilla marketing, interactive and direct marketing.

Bob Devine, president-CEO of Hartz Mountain, said the company is looking to reposition the brand."We'd like to resurrect the image of what Hartz was 10 years ago, when it was less boutique-y," Mr. Devine said.

The pet-services sector, which includes both pet food and pet supplies, is active right now with Del Monte's pending purchase of Heinz's pet-food brands and Nestle's purchase of Ralston's Purina pet food.

Pet services is an estimated $26 billion industry in the U.S., according to Marshall Meyers, executive VP-general counsel of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. Pet supplies, including rawhides and grooming tools (but not food) account for roughly $14 billion of that, he said.

"Hartz Mountain is clearly the No.1 brand in pet supplies, and we love working with No. 1 brands," said Richard Kirshenbaum, co-founder of the KB Creative Network.

Although Hartz is the market leader in pet supplies, the investment firm's Meow Mix is not top of the cat-food market, according to Pet Food Industry. John McMillin, food-industry analyst at Prudential Securities, attributes this to the fact that Meow Mix is dry, rather than canned.

"To gain market share, Meow Mix has to keep doing exactly what it's been doing: creative advertising as well as product and brand development," Mr. McMillin said. Kirshenbaum launched the campaign this past spring; it revisits an early `70s Meow Mix spot that featured a singing cat.

After the loss of Revlon earlier this year, Kirshenbaum has rebounded with a string of wins, including Verizon SuperPages, Beech-Nut and Vanity Fair Intimates.

contributing: lisa sanders

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