Packaging focus: Blue Dog Bakery’s mascot makeovers

Blue Dog Bakery’s blue dog got a refresh in 2012 and a new occupation in 2018.

Beaton Headshot New Headshot
photo by Christian Mueller,
photo by Christian Mueller,

In 2012, after 14 years, Blue Dog Bakery decided it was time to update both its treat packaging and its signature blue dog.

A packaging overhaul

“We always knew how important the blue dog was to Blue Dog Bakery,” says Eric Koppelman, chief revenue officer for the company. “When you walked down the aisle, he was a very visible component to the packaging. It’s the first thing you see. It’s a unique blue. And about six years ago we did a packaging and category assessment, and realized there was a big opportunity to modernize, evolve and update our packaging look and feel. It was time to do a little bit of a refresh.”

On the original packaging, the blue dog character can be seen situated more off to the side of the packaging, and comes across as more of a flat image rather than a three-dimensional mascot. It was time, the company decided, to bring the blue dog into the limelight.

blue dog bakery meat snacks old

The original meat snacks packaging, while featuring all the updates from the 2012 refresh, didn’t quite pull off what Blue Dog Bakery wanted to convey with its premium, real meat ingredients and all-natural status. | Courtesy of Blue Dog Bakery

“We made our blue character the centerpiece of the brand,” says Koppelman. “And what happened through that exercise was, as we looked at the sales data and as we watched the new packaging flow through, it immediately increased our rate of sale by 20 percent. Literally overnight. What we learned was, the consumer that was already buying our products either loved the new look or didn’t notice it, so we didn’t lose a consumer. In addition, we gained a whole bunch of new consumers who didn’t notice us before, but with the new, better packaging they picked up on us.”

A packaging revamp to highlight a new product

With that success in mind, at the end of 2017 the company turned its focus to another revamp, this time of its meat snacks packaging, and the company’s blue dog gained a new career.

Our blue dog is a baker (as evidenced by his signature chef’s hat and white apron), but that doesn’t make sense for meat snacks, so we had to come up with an additional personality,” says Koppelman. “We’d already dressed him up for other holidays, such as Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day. The blue dog is a very vibrant character and we already established that he can pull off different outfits, so for our meat snacks he became a rancher.”

The new meat snacks packaging features the blue dog, sans chef’s hat, with a red bandana to signify his rancher status. He still carries the look of the packaging, but the background is clearly meant to convey premium status, from its outline of the featured protein (beef or chicken) to its rising sun filling in the outlines’ coloring.  

blue dog bakery meat snacks new

The new meat snacks packaging provided Blue Dog Bakery’s mascot with a new job — rancher — as well as highlighting the meat inside. | courtesy Blue Dog Bakery

So far, says Koppelman, reception to the new meat snacks packaging, which began rolling out in February 2018, has been positive.

“We’re getting fantastic reception from the retailer community on the new packaging, and the nicely done positioning of our blue dog character as a viable solution within another subcategory which we hadn’t competed in before,” he says.

For the full companion article, "Blue Dog Bakery: premium success in the grocery space,” published in the July 2018 issue of Petfood Industry magazine, see

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