Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division plans to start selling Advantage Topical Solution for cats and dogs as well as K9 Advantix directly to pet specialty retailers and pet specialty Internet sites in March 2010 in order to compete in a rapidly changing business climate, the company said Feb. 9.
Bayer also plans to launch a multimillion-dollar national, consumer print advertising campaign to promote veterinary visits as well as a “March Back In” $20 pet owner rebate program to encourage return visits to veterinary clinics. Pet owners are increasingly demanding easier access to flea and tick products such as Advantage and K9 Advantix, the company said, and the diversion of these products from the veterinary channel remains a growing issue as consumers continue to change shopping habits.
The company said it continues to view veterinarians as “our most important partner in caring for pets” and remains committed to supporting veterinarians and their practices. However, market research shows how pet owners intend to increase their purchases of flea and tick treatments at pet specialty stores and websites.
Bayer’s upcoming national campaign includes print ads set to appear in magazines targeted to pet owners. Point-of purchase materials for pet specialty stores are also in development to educate pet owners about the importance of veterinary visits the company reports.