New York, N.Y.—The Stainmaster brand has come onboard as an official flooring TV sponsor of the American Kennel Club (AKC)—the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for canines. As a sponsor, Stainmaster will be featured in the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin Broadcast. The brand will also be featured in AKC’s televised shows for the ESPN networks, including AKC Fastest Dogs USA, AKC Agility Premier Cup, AKC National Agility Championship, NADD Premier Cup and AKC Flyball National Championship. Stainmaster will also be a sponsor of five AKC Meet The Breeds Events in 2021.
“We are thrilled to have this new relationship with Stainmaster,” said Dennis Sprung, president and CEO, AKC. “At our shows, we have large quantities of dogs and having a flooring that is not only safe for dogs but also has dog-friendly benefits, makes for a better experience for our dogs and our exhibitors. We also look forward to sharing the Stainmaster brand with our constituency and dog owners everywhere.”
For the Stainmaster brand and its relevant campaign themes, the partnership is perfect match. “We are excited to be the official flooring sponsor of the American Kennel Club,” said Maggie Bidlingmaier, president of Invista Performance Solutions. “The AKC’s ability to connect with and educate millions of dog owners nationwide gives us an unparalleled opportunity to share the Stainmaster PetProtect carpet promise that it is the ideal foundation for pet-friendly adventures. We all believe our dogs are our family and belong right by our sides.”
Jenny Wilburn, director of marketing, Invista, told FCNews that the new Stainmaster initiative gives the specialty flooring retail a number of advantages in the market. “Right out of the gate it puts us back on TV, and that’s something our retailers have been requesting for a long time,” she said. “It boosts awareness and recognition, so when customers come into their store they know what to ask for.”
She added that there will be more than 30 hours of programming across the ESPN and ABC networks over the next year. Throughout, Stainmaster PetProtect will be featured on traditional signage throughout the courses, billboards and announcements.
“There are two additional things that I’m pumped about,” Wilburn added. “First, there is a waiting area for each dog and owner when they get finished with the course. I compare it to the Olympics when each figure skater gets done with their event and they wait for their scores in their own area. The same thing happens here. And we are going to be tufting a special 10-foot section for that area that will feature just the Stainmaster PetProtect logo every time this happens.”
On top of that, there will also be commercials within the broadcasts. “The first will be the Agility Championships where something always goes viral,” Wilburn added. “That will be airing at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, so it’s prime time. The show is also going to re-air several times and we look forward to seeing Stainmaster PetProtect commercials.”
While boosting brand awareness is a boon for specialty retailers, there’s more. Flooring retailers will also have the rights to the AKC branding in-store. “This builds up a lot of credibility with dog owners because the AKC is saying, ‘This is the flooring we recommend for all dog owners,’” Wilburn noted. “They will have the right to use those marks on signage and displays anywhere in their stores.”
The sponsorship benefits don’t end there. Moving forward, anytime someone registers a puppy with the AKC they are sent a registration package that will include a Stainmaster PetProtect insert with a QR code. Pet owners will be directed to a Stainmaster page with a list of the Stainmaster Flooring Centers and a lead point. This directly connects the people registering their puppies with their new flooring and where to get it. “Carpet is up and we are really trying to capitalize on that,” Wilburn explained.