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October 16, 2019

BY KACIA HUYNH

The Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show is one of America’s oldest. The club’s predecessors actually staged An Exhibition of Dogs at America’s Centennial celebration in 1876. The National Dog Show Presented by Purina has become a household name as the NBC Thanksgiving Day two-hour special following the Macy’s Parade, attracting a total audience of more than 20 million people annually. As one of only three “benched” shows—the others being Westminster in New York City and the Golden Gate in San Francisco—Philadelphia now attracts some 2,000 dogs from the 200 breeds and 10,000 plus attendees over the National Dog Show weekend. It helps that Philadelphia is America’s fourth largest market and is readily accessible from all of the major population centers in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

As the Kennel Club of Philadelphia event enters its 19th year as The National Dog Show, there has been market growth in ticket sales, sponsorships and retail vendor booth sales over the past half-decade. The show attracts major media partners, key sponsors and now over 70 vendor booth retailers. Here are five ways pet specialty businesses can work with the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show. These tips can be applied to any of the 3,000 dog shows that take place around the country every year.

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The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks contains 240,000 square feet and five distinct halls. Every year, vendors line the periphery of the facility and are visited by some 12,000 consumers perfectly suited to buy their products. Spaces are available at 10 x 10 or multiples thereof at a cost of around $800 per unit. Floor space can come in varying sizes and prices across all dog shows. Contact the organization in charge of your local dog show to find out more.

Become a Sponsor

Every year, The National Dog Show is preceded by a series of events called National Dog Show Month in Philadelphia. Customizable sponsorships at varying levels are available for the National Dog Show Charity Walk, “The Perfect Dog” children’s musical, The National Dog Show Artwork Exhibit and The National Dog Show Gala. Premium exposition space is also available on the Expo Center main floor near the prominent Purina exhibit space for more ambitious endeavors. Among the categories of sponsorship already involved are a commercial real estate company, doggy day care operations, veterinarians and vet hospitals. Sponsoring a dog show puts your paw print on the map and increases your exposure to the public. Sponsorships come in all shapes and sizes and there certainly are opportunities with dog shows in your area.

Be a Media Partner

All major events need promotional advertising and marketing exposure, and that is where media partners can create beneficial quid pro quo arrangements. TV, radio and print outlets align with the nonprofit Kennel Club of Philadelphia while helping increase ticket sales for the big weekend. The show is a regional treasure because the Kennel Club makes sure ticket sales remain wonderfully affordable at $16 for adults, $7 for children 4-12, and free for ages 3 and under. Media partners promote the weekend and take advantage of trade exposition space to engage with the large crowds. With social media these days, the definition of media partner has expanded dramatically. Influencers and special interest websites also fit the mold and can help dog shows expand their reach.

Host a Promotional Event

Every year, The National Dog Show and the Kennel Club of Philadelphia bring elite agility dogs into town from Miami and North Carolina. The Purina Pro Plan Performance Team also comes to town to show off their skills to delighted audiences. As we all know, dogs attract eyeballs and foot traffic. Over the years, elementary schools, corporations, colleges and malls have hosted these talented canines in advance of the show for free-of-charge entertainment at their locations. Car dealerships, balloon festivals, community theaters and any number of venues can hold rescue/adoption events, photo sessions and mini dog walks to increase traffic and deliver direct interaction with potential consumers.

Support a Charity

The National Dog Show and the Kennel Club of Philadelphia have created National Dog Show Charities to support over 10 regional nonprofits, including the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. All events are not-for-profit and raise money for these charities, including multiple rescue and canine welfare organizations. Partnering with local charities and becoming directly involved in pet philanthropy shows dedication and commitment to your pet consumers. The reason you see so many “walks” is because they are inexpensive to produce and fun for all ages. Invariably, they involve charity fundraising and are easy to create or join forces with for the benefit of all.

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