Marketer Looks to Reignite the Frozen-Food Line

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Nestle has selected J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, to handle its $46 million Stouffer's "Red Box" account, following a shootout with global roster shops, executives familiar with the move said.

Down to two
The choice was down to two finalists, JWT, part of WPP Group, and Fallon Worldwide, part of Publicis Groupe, executives said. Fallon and Stouffer executives couldn't be reached for comment and JWT Chicago's president, Barry Krause, declined to comment.

Other roster shops included Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe and McCann Erickson, both New York; WPP's Ogilvy & Mather; and Publicis's Publicis Worldwide.

Havas' Euro RSCG, New York, was the incumbent agency.

Reignite the brand
The Solon, Ohio-based marketer is aiming to reignite the Red Box business with a heavy emphasis on merchandising and point-of-sale tactics highlighting low-carb benefits in some cases, according to an executive close to the marketer.

The executive said the Stouffer line isn't growing at the same pace as Nestle's other frozen-food brand, Lean Cuisine, as people switch to more nutritional and low-carbohydrate meals. Under the Lean Cuisine brand, there are now 11 low-carb offerings.

Earlier this month, Nestle launched a line of grilled chicken entrees under the Red Box brand as part of the effort to offer healthier variety. Although the brand relies on a "great taste" position, that flavor profile has often been the result of high-sodium, high-fat recipes.