whiskas kitten kollege

Sales: £202.5m (-12.7%)

It’s enough to make you cough up a fur ball. Britain’s number two petfood brand has had £29.4m swiped from its sales in the past year as Felix (19) has continued to rise up the ranking in leaps and bounds.

Unlike most of its fellow petcare brands, Whiskas has not managed to scratch its way out of the supermarket price war, with average prices down 3.1%. To help restore value, the brand is pouring £10m into TV ads, PoS materials and in-store activations to promote newest formulation Whiskas Pockets - crunchy parcels with a soft filling for moggies who like a variety of textures in their diets.

The move follows a major reformulation that hit shelves last summer in an attempt to turn around the decline. The brand says the refresh resulted in a wave of repeat purchases and low rates of money back guarantee redemptions, but despite this the brand is still some way from returning to its former glory.

For the year ahead, Whiskas is sinking its claws into a raft of NPD and lighthearted marketing campaigns. Most recently, the sickeningly cute digital campaign Kitten Kollege was designed to help owners learn more about their feline family members by watching cats go to college.

“As part of the brand’s shift in communications strategy, focused on engaging with consumers through mobiles, Kitten Kollege has gone from strength to strength since launch,” says a Mars Petcare spokeswoman.

“Developed to share Whiskas’ expert knowledge, it is a hilarious combination of satire and charming kitten chaos.”