Del Monte Foods  broke its first major ad campaign for the Pup-Peroni brand on January 26, building on the notion that a dog really is a man's best friend, according to an  article   on  www.Brandweek.com .

Del Monte CMO Bill Pearce said the campaign reflects dog owners' sentiment toward their pets: "If you look at the evolution of the relationship between pets and pet [owners], it wasn't that long ago that the dog slept in the garage or basement . . . Now, the majority of Americans have dogs that actually sleep with them."

While  ads  contain a plug or two for the product, the campaign's core goal is to articulate Pup-Peroni's emotional benefits, said Hilary Hamer,  Draftfcb  sales vice president and group management director, who oversees Del Monte's petfood business.

Del Monte, which spent US$420,000 through November 2008 marketing its Pup-Peroni brand, said the company is spending UA$8 million on the television and online push. The Web portion includes a US$1-$2 coupon offer, as well as a "pup-gram" device on  www.Pupperoni.com that allows users to send a pet-themed message to friends. Previously, Del Monte relied on in-store marketing for its Pup-Peroni line of products.