1995 YEAR IN REVIEW;ALL THE BASICS: BEER, PIZZA-AND ANTACIDS;TEN PRODUCTS THAT MADE NEWS ALSO SURFED HIGH-TECH WORLD OF WINDOWS, NETSCAPE, SATELLITE TV

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Breathe Right

Thanks to its appearance on the gridiron, the butterfly-shaped Breathe Right bandage scored a touchdown with consumers in '95.

Marketed by medical equipment marketer CNS, Breathe Right sales were only $1.5 million annually until a promotional program engineered by Chairman-CEO Daniel Cohen came into play. Dr. Cohen mailed the bandages, which allow easier breathing during exercise and sleep, to National Football League players.

Although publicity centered on athletes using the product to breathe easier, the big potential lies in easing snoring. The company's ad budget is only $600,000 at Seitsema, Engle & Partners, Minneapolis, but some say sales could eventually reach $2 billion.

"My American Journey"

The hyper-hype of the novel "The Horse Whisperer" notwithstanding, the hands-down book event of the year was publication by Random House of Colin Powell's 600-page, $29.95 memoir, "My American Journey."

The retired general, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and erstwhile presidential hopeful, used his five-week, 20-city promotional tour to gauge public enthusiasm for a possible run at the White House.

With a first printing of nearly 1 million copies, the book almost immediately vaulted onto The New York Times non-fiction best-seller list in October and has remained at or near the top of the list ever since. Included in the marketing and publicity blitz were numerous network TV interviews with Mr. Powell and a lengthy excerpt of the book in Time.

Direct broadcast satellite

It's quite a dish.

The direct broadcast satellite dish stormed the consumer electronics market in 1995. In fact, the field's dominant entry, DirecTV from GM Hughes Electronics, racked up sales of 1 million units in 13 months, faster than any other consumer electronics gadget-including color TVs, VCRs and CD players.

The device has found a receptive audience among rural households not covered by cable companies, and urban/suburban households looking to enhance their TV viewing options. These markets led to a three-prong distribution strategy, through rural utility companies, satellite dish retailers and consumer electronics retailers.

Advertising for the devices mainly stressed programming options, rather than technology advances. The most notable campaigns came from DirecTV, through Campbell-Ewald, Los Angeles, which highlighted the system's pay-per-view movie and sports programming.

Netscape Navigator Last December, Netscape Communications Corp. started giving away its software product. One year later, Netscape is worth some $6 billion in the stock market, second only to Microsoft Corp. among PC software companies.

Netscape's signature Netscape Navigator virtually overnight became the hottest World Wide Web browser, used by some three-fourths of Internet surfers.

The company's revenues for the first nine months were just $37 million. Netscape to date has made only 4 a share, mainly from interest on money raised in its sizzling August stock sale. But Internet-crazed investors bid the stock up earlier this month to about $150 a share.

Perception may become reality on the Internet: PC users are picking Netscape Navigator because it's the leader. Netscape, too, is forging alliances with an ever-growing roster of big names in technology, including IBM, AT&T, Sun, Intuit and Novell. Meanwhile, Microsoft, far from taking over the Internet, finds itself following a new leader.

Ford Taurus

When it first became the top-selling car in the U.S. in 1992, the Ford Taurus emerged as a symbol of the resurgence of American automakers. But in an effort to appeal to younger buyers, especially baby boomers, Ford Motor Co. gambled on a radical redesign for the 1996 Taurus, which made its debut in October.

To sell the elliptical styling and keep Taurus No.*1 in sales, Ford division budgeted an estimated $110 million, its biggest ad launch ever. J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, put together a big-impact media plan that included auto exclusivity on ABC's "The Beatles Anthology," and sole sponsorship of special issues of Sports Illustrated, Life and Elle.

In both October and November, Taurus sales were below their year-before levels, but it was too soon to determine whether the redesign was a bust. Ford officials blamed the sales decline on depleted inventory, a reduction in sales to rental-car fleets and fewer Taurus lease expirations compared to the year before.

Snapple But the road ahead still looks difCol 4, Depth P31.08 I5.28 ficult. New Age remains a crowded category, and the category growth rate, though still above 10%, continues to decelerate from nearly 100% three years ago.Stuffed Crust Pizza

Just when it seemed there wasn't another angle on tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and dough, Pizza Hut tossed a winning pie.

Stuffed Crust Pizza, with cheese inside the outer crust, has ballooned into a $1 billion brand since its launch 10 months ago, breathing new life into the pizza category and boosting Pizza Hut's monthly same-store sales 15% to 20%.

The PepsiCo unit levied more than $80 million this year to advertise the pie and its line extensions, including Pepperoni & Cheese and Meat Lover's Stuffed Crust. Ads from BBDO Worldwide, New York, featured a motley crew of endorsers, from Rush Limbaugh to John McEnroe to Donald Trump.

For the first nine months of 1995, Pizza Hut's systemwide sales climbed 14% to $3.5 billion, while operating profit rose 40% to $282.5 million.

OTC antacid wars

The escalating battle of over-the-counter antacids is becoming heated enough to give marketers heartburn.

In 1995 two H2 blockers, which prevent the formation of stomach acid, made the leap from prescription-only form to OTC product. Their conversion, along with others forthcoming, also marked the start of a marketing war.

Johnson & Johnson/Merck's Pepcid AC hit the marketplace first in May. Network TV spots from Compton Partners, New York, began airing May 21 and signaled the start of a $100 million effort.

Soon after came SmithKline Beecham's Tagamet, first introduced as a prescription in 1976. SKB also said it would put $100 million behind the brand.

Red Dog beer

Years after Anheuser-Busch Cos. abandoned Spuds MacKenzie as mascot for Bud Light, Miller Brewing Co. in 1995 again proved that the picture of a dog works well with a beer.

A campaign for Red Dog beer originally created by BBDO, Toronto, for a Molson Breweries specialty beer in Canada was launched in the U.S. in 1994 for a different beer. The campaign proved the foundation for the beer industry's biggest success in 1995-at least sort of.

Red Dog, a beer that's not red, grabbed shelf space and consumer trial based on a combination of bold graphics, featuring a caricature of a dog, and an ad campaign with a non-conformist dog's voice-over from Tommy Lee Jones.

Some observers claim that Miller, in focusing on Red Dog and ice beers, may have strayed too far from main brands and hurt Miller Genuine Draft. They also note that Red Dog has lately seen growth halt.

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