line extension

Revitalizing a Legend through Science and Strategy – Big Heart Pet Brands and Deep Relevance

Courtney Moore, VP, Consumer & Customer Strategy Insights at Big Heart Pet Brands and Bob Woodard, Founding Partner at Deep Relevance Partners started this session mentioning some of Milk-Bone dog treats challenges such as category commoditization and stagnant growth.  Milk Bone had a 100 year history of leadership, trust and was #1 in the category, and needed to recapture that leadership.  There was a need for a differentiated and emotionally compelling narrative to allow these treats to re-assert category leadership and ignite new growth.

Specific research techniques including, ZMET Mindmap and IAE were selected to understand the dog owners’ feelings associated with dog treats and the role treats play in their lives with their dogs.  Research aided in the development of new brand positioning, and served as the basis for a planned innovative extension.

Approach by Deep Relevance:

  • Development of advantageous and inspiring connection.
  • Translate into creative campaign strategies.
  • Precise communication assessment and optimization.

The research enabled the brand to be successfully revitalized, and the first line extension to be successfully launched.

Key learnings:

  • Separate development of 15 seconds; do not cut down from 30 seconds.
  • Test early creative.
  • Brand positioning important.


  • The base Milk-Bone brand gained +3.4% in sales vs. the prior year exclusively from TV advertising.
  • The brand extension, Milk-Bone Brushing Chews, had an extremely successful launch, driven by effective advertising, a strong retail presence, and excellent performance of the product.

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