Hill's Pet Nutrition – Science Diet


Hill’s had tremendous market share and consumer loyalty with its dog food, but 80% of those customers choose a different brand of treats for their four-legged friends.


Swerve observed that emotional associations for pet owners were drastically different when considering a food versus a treat. Dog food is all about nutrition. “I place the bowl on the floor and walk away.” On the other hand, treat-giving is an emotional connection. “It is a way to share love and a way to reward.” As a result, pet owners saw a disconnect between the current white packs and the promise of a treat.


Swerve’s pre-design consumer insight highlighted the fact that the brand needed to examine its current equity if it wanted to play in the premium dog treat category. The sterile white pouches gave way to a black, premium backdrop. To help consumers establish an emotional connection to the brand, the dog’s eyes and salivating mouth became the focal point, as each eagerly awaited its treat. To help us achieve this result, we worked with Amanda Jones — the “Annie Leibovitz of pet photography” — to create strikingly adorable images. The success of the relaunch was staggering, with a sales increase of 1,700% by the end of the first month.