BORDEN OFFERS WYLER'S AS MEAL-SOLUTION BRAND: SHAKERS' BOUILLON IS BEING TOUTED AS PROVIDING 'HOMEMADE' TASTE

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Borden Foods is out to make its neglected Wyler's brand a player in meal solutions.

Borden will introduce new Wyler's Shakers instant powdered bouillon and seasoning with the brand's first TV advertising in 20 years. The spot also will back a reformulated, faster-dissolving version of Wyler's bouillon cubes and a repackaging of the entire line.

The effort -- along with a second campaign supporting new varieties of its Classico pasta sauce -- marks the first step in a delayed strategy. The plan is to use Wyler's and Classico as the platform to establish Borden as a leader in meal solutions through technologically innovative products.

WAVE OF NEW PRODUCTS

"We went through a period of determining what businesses we wanted to be in and now, with a new wave of products and support, the investment is beginning to exhibit itself," said a spokeswoman. Borden wouldn't discuss how much it would be spending on advertising and promotional support for the new line.

The new Shakers, in five varieties including Southwest Chick- en & Herb, are aimed at extending bouillon's usage as a flavoring agent. The package contains a lid that allows the product to be both spooned and shaken out.

Advertising, from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, breaks in mid-November and is designed to convey a "Homemade made easy" theme.

Separately, TV spots will break in November from CME to support Classico's first-ever alfredo varieties coming this fall along with a reformulated Italian Sausage & Peppers variety. The new Roasted Garlic & Alfredo and Classic Alfredo aim to steal sales from Lipton's Five Brothers, which virtually owns the premium white sauce segment.

The ads will evoke the authentic Italian heritage of the brand with the continuing tagline "Made from scratch taste."

SALES DOWN 11.5%

Wyler's, while the No. 1 player in the $116 million bouillon category, has received little in the way of new products or advertising recently, as sales numbers reflect. The brand's sales dropped 11.5% to $42.7 million for the year ending July 18, according to Information Resources Inc.

Although the $1.4 billion pasta sauce category is basically flat, Classico saw sales rise 1.9% to $140 million for the year ended July 18, while Five Brothers' sales dropped 4% to $99 million, per IRI.

Borden spent $3.6 million in media against Classico in 1998 and has spent $3 million on the brand during January through May of this year, according to

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