Mailer Helps Make Fat-Free Dog Treats a Hit With Distributors

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A direct mail campaign to launch a fat-free dog treat helped sell 3,500 units in the first three days of availability, Pet Ecology Brands Inc. said yesterday.


Days before the Jan. 31 release of K-9 Fat Free Dog Treats, Pet Ecology sent a postcard to its existing database of 4,000 specialty pet retailers, veterinarians and distributors. The postcard introduced K-9 Fat Free Dog Treats, the first fat-free dog treat to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards. It also included an introductory discount offer.


The mail effort is just one component of a fully integrated marketing campaign. Pet Ecology has set aside a $3 million budget for marketing and media this year. In-store product demonstrations and displays, as well as advertising to retail consumers through print, radio and television will complement the direct mail strategy. It will follow last week's mailer with a separate one going to all specialty retailers and distributors, said Deborah Wadsworth-Evans, marketing director at Pet Ecology.


"Although we are targeting the entire specialty pet market, a focused effort will be taken to ensure that our existing customers are specifically notified and provided the opportunity to be among the first to offer our unique products to their customers," Wadsworth-Evans said.


The K-9 Fat Free Dog Treats will be advertised in Dog Fancy and Dog & Kennel magazines in March.


The company supplies both distributors and retailers directly. In January, it shipped orders to 11 new retailers, bringing the total number of directly-supplied-retailers to 180. It also has contracts with nine distribution companies and is in talks with four more. Most recently, Pet Ecology signed the Western Drug Distributor Center Ltd., which supplies more than 650 veterinarians across Canada.


Pet Ecology also developed a patented cat litter that destroys urine odor, is environmentally friendly and changes color to alert owners of certain feline diseases.


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