Further to my earlier hurried update (approx 11am) (sorry I was leaving for a meeting and heard the news from someone at the Times and just had the time to post the barest details), Pedigree have indeed pulled their sponsorship of Crufts 2009. Less than six months before the show and after they had only recently pledged their support for the event.
The KC say the show will go on, but as profit on the event is said to be £500k and the Pedigree sponsorship was rumoured to be a lot more than that (I heard 3x as much but that may have been a few years ago), then this has been the biggest blow so far. The amount of money Dogs Trust and RSPCA spent at Crufts will have been a tiny fraction of the money lost today.
Odd timing too - to go just as reform is starting, but perhaps if the KC had acted a little quicker they might have avoided this. Big firms tend to change direction very slowly - a bit like cruise ships. If they'd taken it on the chin and started reforming the very next day instead of that damaging period of complete denial maybe they now wouldn't be in this mess.
The show press are saying the Pedigree pull out it's not because of the documentary - but it's got to be a huge coincidence if not. Pedigree pulled their breeder and show service just a few days before the documentary aired - when everyone was running scared of what was going to be aired. Having a brand name of Pedigree must mean any negativity about pedigree dogs might reflect very badly on the how their brand is perceived by the public - and as the Pedigree brand is mainly a supermarket one, the public rather than breeder opinion is probably king.
Could we see a rebranding in the future - perhaps to Mongrel?
What next? Will any other sponsors follow?
Coverage in the Guardian click here
From Our Dogs:
FRIDAY OCTOBER 24TH:
Our Dogs can confirm that PEDIGREE have pulled their sponsorship of Crufts, for commercial reasons.
More details here later or read next week’s OUR DOGS newspaper for full details and analysis.
Pedigree has taken the surprise decision to withdraw its sponsorship of Crufts 2009, soon after withdrawing support from all breed Championship Shows in the UK and also recently reaffirming its support for Crufts. Many people have already expressed surprise at Midland Counties show (on this weekend) that the decision has been taken with only a few months to go before this hugely popular event which had an attendance of 155,000 dog lovers in March 2008.
A Mars spokesman stated: “The Pedigree brand has evolved and we are prioritising initiatives which support the broadest possible community of dog owners, such as our successful programme to help homeless dogs, the Pedigree Adoption Drive, and our online service for breeders, pedigreedirect.co.uk.
“We look forward to working with the Kennel Club on other projects in the future.”
From the KC:
The Kennel Club's Response to Pedigree's Decision to Withdraw Sponsorship from Crufts 2009
Following the decision by Pedigree to withdraw sponsorship from Crufts 2009 as part of a review of its business priorities, the Kennel Club has issued the following statement:
Rosemary Smart, Chief Executive Officer for the Kennel Club, said “Clearly we are very sad to lose Pedigree from Crufts. We have had an excellent relationship with Pedigree for many years and we wish them well and look forward to working with them in the future.
“Crufts will go ahead as planned in March 2009.”
Plus here's Dog World's coverage too: Click here