Mars' Pedigree Fetches Role In Tonight's 'Apprentice'

Pedigree Food for Dogs, which has long been championing the plight of shelter dogs in its marketing materials, is hoping a group of low-level celebrities can help promote its four-year-old Adoption Drive.

The brand, owned by Mars Foods, will appear as a part of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" airing tonight. In the episode, the opposing teams--consisting of celebrities such as Gene Simmons, Vinnie Pastore (aka Big Pussy from "The Sopranos"), Carol Alt and "Apprentice" Season 1 Cast-off Omarosa--are tasked with creating a public awareness campaign. In the episode, the two teams visit a Manhattan shelter and view the previous communications developed in support of the program.

"We thought it was a great opportunity to integrate the brand and increase the awareness of shelter dogs," company representative Deb Fair tells Marketing Daily. "And that's great, because we want people to learn about the cause and act upon it."

The winning team will have its idea broadcast during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show when it airs in February on NBC's sister network, USA. While Fair would not say which team won the competition (which had already taped) and despite the fact that few of the celebrities had any firsthand marketing experience, company executives were happy to be a part of the program.



"We're excited about it," Fair says. "This is a cause we're emotionally attached to."

Pedigree has been promoting shelter adoptions since 2003. In addition to the "Celebrity Apprentice" tie-in, the company will also promote the cause through other print and television advertising and through other outlets, Fair says. She would not disclose details of the campaign, but said it would be different in "tonality" than previous efforts, which encouraged people to "Help us ... help dogs," and featured a voiceover by David Duchovny.

"I firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance and these dogs are no exception," said "Apprentice" star and executive producer Donald Trump in a statement. "This is an exciting partnership for us on the show and one that I hope will help do some good for all of the dogs in shelters and breed rescues nationwide."

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