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August 27, 2005

PetSmart Brand Name Change a Winner

PetSmart Logo

On September 6, 2005 pet lovers across America will witness the whelping of a new brand: PetSmart. If it already sounds familiar, it is. But, on the other hand, it isn’t. Leo Burnett will unleash millions in media and publicity spending to announce the new name for its client formerly known as PETsMART. This pet project is a pretty clever publicity ruse – as the entire re-branding effort hinges solely on a shrewd but subtle recapitalization scheme.

Key to the name change, according to CEO Phillip Francis, is putting less on being a mart, and more on being smart.

And indeed they are. American consumers have more than doubled their spending on pet products from $17 to $34.3 billion during the past decade. The new smart positioning implies that consumers too, are smart to keep scooping unprecedented amounts of their discretionary income into Buddy or Cleo's bowl, especially when they do it at PetSmart.

But could the new PetSmart brand be barking up the wrong tree? Although the new moniker helps distance them from discounters like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and 68 other U.S. “Mart” retailers, the move to “Smart” brings with it new retail associations. At present, there 114 “Smart” trademarks including the likes of CarSmart, ApplianceSmart, SmartMart and SmartPages.

Strange littermates not withstanding, the new name will still unleash a lot of publicity – most of it positive. And, two industry experts, Chomsky and Pushkin, our company mascots, who recently opined have given both the old and the new brand a vociferous “paws up.”

What does your pet think of the PetsMart to PetSmart name change?

Posted by Diane Prange at August 27, 2005 10:32 PM
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