We’re adding another ICON to the Matrix Partners family! Our Co-founder and CCO Dennis Abelson is the latest MP award winner in the latest round of Pet Age ICON Awards.

For more than three decades, Dennis has launched and revitalized successful brands across a range of categories, and says he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Before immersing himself in the pet industry, he got his start as a copywriter at Leo Burnett Advertising where he collaborated on national advertising campaigns for clients like Kellogg’s, Oldsmobile, Heinz, Nestlé and KFC.

In 1987, Dennis joined forces with co-founder and managing partner Don Tomala to form a multi-disciplinary, Chicago-based marketing consulting practice that would evolve into Matrix Partners. Today, we’re engaged in every aspect of building pet-centric brands, from research and public relations, to digital and social media marketing.

Among the industry contributions he is proudest of, Dennis led the team that transformed Swheat Scoop alternative litter into a nationally recognized brand. In the dental care aisle, he and his colleagues were responsible for introducing Tropiclean Fresh Breath Made Easy! and Nylabone NutriDent Complete. His creative efforts for Stella & Chewy’s (he coined their “only the good stuff” slogan) turned it into one of the raw diet category’s fastest-growing brands.

More recently, Dennis was deeply involved in naming and launching Look Who’s Happy! treats. He guided the redesign of over 150 packages for Bravo pet foods, as well as rescripting a 175-page web site. And for Caru Pet Foods, he played an instrumental role in launching this innovative, super premium line of “just like homemade” stews and treats.

When asked if there was a trade secret behind his track record of success, Dennis replied, “Creating marketing campaigns is like making free-form music in the sense that you have to be disciplined but comfortable playing with words and images. Sometimes, all it takes is one serendipitous idea to bring a lackluster brand to life.”