Effem Portugal Pets Food

Sheba: The Pet's St Valentines Day Pedro Quclhas Brito, Universidade do Porto, Portugal

PET FOOD SALES IN PORTUGAL rose from Eso480 million in 1988 to more than EseT.OOO million in 1996. The average growth of 22 per cent a year attracted more than 60 new brands from both local and multinational companies. The market leader, EFFEM-Portugal, with brands like Sheba, Wbiskas and Pedigree Pal, had half of the pet food market and played an important role in the expansion of the market, but the going was not easy for all the brands.

EFFEMs success came from understanding the behaviour of both pets and their owners. Cats are resolved animals. Cats eat what thev like and

leave what they dislike. A cat is selective and sensitive regarding his or her nutritional needs and taste. If given food it dislikes, a cat seeks an alternative. Dogs are different. A hungry dog will eat almost anything, and eats it quicldy. For cat food the main concern is to give pleasure and to provide variety. For dogs it is volume and ease of consumption.

Launched in 1988, Sheba is EFFEM's super-premium brand for cats. With its exceptional quality and its high priee, it aims to delight the most discerning cats and is particularly appropriate for special occasions. But Sheba was in trouble. After initial advertising and sales promotional support during its launch, it had been left to fend for itself in the increasingly competitive pet food market. By 1995 Sheba's market position and even its commercial existence was threatened by the absence of marketing support and the entrance of new competitors into its market niche. Only 9 per cent of the total market had ever bought a can of Sheba at least once. Sheba's low market share of just 2 per cent justified little promotional expenditure, but tor Sheba it was fight back or die.

EFFEM's answer was a two-stage point of sale promotion, with each stage costing as little as a 30-second prime-time TV commercial. Stage one was during the run-up to Christmas 1995. In-store demonstrators approached consumers and asked them if they owned a cat. If customers answered 'yes', they were offered a greetings card and a 100 g can of Sheba. In this way both owners and pets received a gift- This sampling raised customers' brand awareness and knowledge of Sheba. Besides giving information, the card encouraged the pet's owners to show their love for their eat by giving it Sheba because 'it deserves it'. The card and its message were designed to generate favourable feelings. After all, it was Christmas time and this 'Santa Claws' gave away 12,000 cans of very special Sheba.

The second stage of the campaign repeated the Christmas promotion, but with St Valentine's Day as the theme. The Valentine's cart) showed two cats, probably lovers, with the messages: Because today is a special day, Sheba has a gift for your cat' and 'Let it know how you love [your cat]'. During the campaign 11,900 cans were given to customers at the point of sale. The Valentine's card also doubled as a Cash-back coupon with a face value of EsclOO. The refund and the emotional appeal of the message helped customers to confirm their preference for Sheba while showing their love for their cat.

The promotions reversed Sheba's sales decline. The impact on brand awareness/knowledge and repeat purchase was evident and the percentage of consumers who had ever tried Sheba increased to 22 per cent.


1. Is Sheba based on the tastes of eats or their owners?

2. Do consumers behave more like cats or dogs in their consumption behaviour?

3. Does the consumer awareness and knowledge achieved account for the success of the Sheba campaign? If not, what does account for the success?

4. Is the campaign likely to succeed if adopted in other European countries?

5. Given that Sheba's safes promotion campaign was so much more successful than conventional advertising, why is it not used more often?

6. What sales promotions would you suggest to maintain the momentum of the Christmas and St Valentine's Day success?

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    What is the sale promotion preview?
    4 years ago
  • Gilly
    Is sheba based on tastes of eat or their owners?
    3 years ago
  • justin
    What sales promotion to maintain the momentum of christmas?
    3 years ago
  • carmen
    Does the consumer awareness and knowledge achieved account for the success of the sheba campaign ?
    2 years ago

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