Monday, October 20, 2014

What's with All That Kong-Brand Stuff at Petsmart?

Anyone who has set foot in a Petsmart store in the last year must be aware of the proliferation of Kong-branded products. Far from the usual toys and treats, these items include beds, crates, collars, leashes, and even life jackets. Meanwhile, the Kong Company website continues to feature their usual product line and fails to mention anything about these other items that bear their name and logo. So is that harness actually made by the same company as those beehive-shaped rubber toys or not?

Photo by Erin Koski
Technically, no. The harnesses, collar, beds, and crates bearing the familiar red KONG logo are produced by Petsmart. The Kong Company merely sold them the rights to slap the Kong name on everything. This was a brilliant move, as Kong is a household name that is practically synonymous with durability. When consumers see a dog bed or a leash with this trusted brand name on it, they assume it is another quality product by a familiar company.

The down side is, of course, that Kong designed the logo, and pretty much everything else was developed and manufactured by Petsmart and assorted third-party suppliers.
Photo by Erin Koski
While searching for the whole story behind the Kong-brand products, I happened upon this post on the Complaints Board website. The poster related an issue they had with a Kong-brand crate, and shared the reply they received from the Kong Company. Here is their explanation:

"We have licensed our brand name to Petsmart recently on a variety of products that fall out of our normal toy and treat lines. KONG has worked with PetSmart to develop these products. While these products are marketed under the KONG brand, PetSmart has retained the direct contacts with the manufacturers. Because of these contacts PetSmart would be better equipped to handle your questions with the specific products."

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