The dog food market is very interesting. The premium end of the market is especially interesting. As more of us view he family dog as “part of the family” we are also more willing to spend more on what we feed our dog. Our textbooks have a great video on this topic – “Targeting the Premium Dog Market: Cashing in on ‘Doggy’ Love.” Many of our students have dogs (or cats, or other pets) and can relate to this market.
I have come across an article, a news story, and a spoof to offer you something to talk about when you cover consumer behavior, advertising, entrepreneurship, or legal issues (Lanham Act). An extended article in Bloomberg Businessweek “Dog Food Fight! Purina Says Blue Buffalo Is ‘Built on Lies’” (July 24, 2014) offers some insight into a legal battle between Purina and Blue Buffalo. The same article describes the very interesting rise of Blue Buffalo by a former ad-man who also founded beverage company SoBe which he later sold to Pepsi for $380 million.
For a short (2:37) take on the legal battle, see this video clip below from ABC’s Good Morning America.
If you want to have some fun, you could show this Saturday Night Live skit which spoofs Blue Buffalo.
Ideas for class include using this as an example of changing social and cultural values and its impact on consumer behavior. You could also use the first ad to discuss the Lanham Act and legal issues in advertising. The Blue River dog food story in Businessweek shows how important marketing has been to this upstart firm.