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Baskin-Robbins doesn't want to keep its customers up at night. That's why the ice cream chain is introducing Decaf Blast, a caffeine-free version of its popular coffee slush drink Cappuccino Blast.

And because many Americans are still unfamiliar with the fully loaded version, the chain will offer free Cappuccino Blast samples in its 2,500 U.S. outlets this spring.

The marketer expects to give away 4.7 million 8-ounce cups of the coffee and ice cream concoction, enough to fill two Olympic- size swimming pools, a spokesman said.

Cappuccino Blast is the focus of a new 30-second TV commercial from Deutsch, Marina del Rey, Calif., slated to break in 40 spot markets including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, during the next several weeks. That commercial, and a second :30 touting two-scoop sundaes, will run through the summer.


Missing from the estimated $15 million campaign is the chain's signature pink spoon as pitch-utensil. The talking spoon was the star of last year's commercials, Deutsch's first work for the marketer.

Kathy Perea, director-market research, said the spoon proved distracting.

"It was a great device and consumers definitely connected it with Baskin-Robbins," she said. "But we wanted to focus on the message and not have consumers thinking why the heck is the spoon talking."

Here to stay is the theme line, "Happiness served daily." It's a phrase Bill Zinke, director-marketing, said aptly describes the Baskin-Robbins experience.

"Baskin provides a special emotional break in the day. Happiness served daily is really what we're trying to do for our consumers," he said. "We try to add value in what can be a pretty busy life."


The Blast spot shows a massive traffic jam with frustrated drivers, except for the one guy with a Blast. He sips contentedly to the nursery tune, "The Wheels on the Bus Go 'Round & 'Round."

The music borrows a page from rival Carvel Corp., which uses nursery songs in its TV and radio advertising. That company, operator of 400 ice cream stores, earlier this month launched a new :30 for holiday promotions featuring cute kids singing to "Camptown Races." That spot is from Della Femina/Jeary & Partners, New York.

Baskin's second new spot shows beleaguered parents having a bad day at the park, save one man, who, fortified by a sundae, has a great time rolling down a hill in a big cardboard box.

"We tried to focus on the creative strategy that Baskin-Robbins is a great place to go to make yourself happy," Ms. Perea said.

Baskin-Robbins is a division of Allied Domecq Retailing USA, parent of sister brands Dunkin' Donuts and Togos Eateries. The chain posted $571 million in U.S. sales in 1997, a slight dip from the previous year, according to researcher

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