Nestle Purina is suing competing pet food brand Blue Buffalo, and it wants the world to know about it.
Not only did the company issue a press release
Tuesday announcing its suit, in which it asserts that Blue Buffalo is falsely advertising that its pet food is free of poultry byproducts, but it has also started a website called “Pet Food Honesty
” to trumpet its allegations.
Purina’s suit partially hinges on a decision by the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ National Advertising Division, which found Blue Buffalo’s ads to be misleading. It also points to “independent testing” that found poultry byproducts in Blue Buffalo’s food, as well as rice hulls in food promoted as “grain-free.”
Tuesday afternoon, Blue Buffalo replied with a letter written by founder and Chairman Bill Bishop and posted on its website
. Bishop stated that “unlike Nestle Purina,” Blue Buffalo does not use poultry byproducts, ground corn, or artificial preservatives in its food. He said he and Blue Buffalo “categorically deny all of these false allegations.”
My sons and I founded Blue Buffalo with the mission of bringing transparency to pet foods, and made the True Blue Promise to our pet parents. Clearly, some of our major competitors, who have built their business using lower cost ingredients, are upset. We will always stand behind our promise and our products.
Bishop also made a guess as to why Purina filed the suit: “their inability to compete successfully with natural pet foods is the key motivation for this frivolous lawsuit.”
Purina offered a different reason: “We are invested in the quality of our food because we are a company of pet lovers. Our principles have guided us to take this action to stop misleading and deceptive advertising aimed at pet owners.”
This is yet another brand rivalry that has popped up in recent weeks, though there’s a pretty big difference between a major lawsuit and ads with guys named Ronald McDonald in them
. What do you think, PR Daily
readers? Once all the punches are thrown, will either Purina or Blue Buffalo come out of this battle looking good?
Blue Buffalo has launched a countersuit
against Purina, according to a letter from Bishop. In that letter, Bishop wrote, "The truth is on Blue Buffalo’s side, and we’re not about to let Nestle
Purina’s big-time PR team spin their false claims without responding."
Purina responded to Blue Buffalo's suit with a statement that says, in part: "We stand by our complaint. As detailed in our lawsuit, independent test results show that Blue Buffalo is not being honest with pet owners about the ingredients in their pet food."