Wonder Bread ad effort courts younger buyers

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Interstate Bakeries Corp. hopes to lure the under-35 set to its Wonder Bread franchise with a new $11 million campaign focusing on the specific health attributes of the bread.

Though Wonder's "Builds strong bodies" tagline has been around since the brand was first introduced in the early 1930s, Interstate will specifically tout Wonder as a good source of calcium and folic acid in a new effort that breaks Aug. 14.

"Wonder is very popular among older adults who grew up with the brand, and even among baby boomers. But with our newest campaign, we're attempting to reach out heavily to that `lost generation of Wonder users,' those 35 or younger," said George Lampros, VP-marketing for breads at Interstate.

Interstate last year introduced Professor Wonder, used again in this year's effort. But this time, "he's no longer just a spokesperson, he's an educator of moms, telling her how Wonder offers a way to get better nutrition for her children," said Lynne Robertson, VP-account supervisor at Wonder agency Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis.


In "Neurons," Interstate uses Prof. Wonder to tout Wonder's addition of 200% more calcium than regular enriched white bread. The ad plays off research that shows calcium helps neurons transmit signals in kids' brains by featuring a young girl able to better tackle her homework after eating Wonder. The tagline for the spot further extends the message with, "Builds strong bodies . . . and strong minds."

"We wanted to become even more focused on our nutritional reassurance, especially as 7 out of 10 kids are not getting enough calcium," Mr. Lampros said.

In "Germs," an actor portrays a germ trying to attack a boy on a bike. Prof. Wonder suggests moms can help support their kids' immune system with folic acid found in, among other things, "soft, delicious Wonder Bread." The 15-second versions of each spot will run on national cable, which Interstate is using for the first time; 30-second versions will run extensively in spot TV.


Wonder is the No. 1 fresh bread brand in the U.S., with sales of $327 million for the 52 weeks ended June 18, according to Information Resources Inc. But combined private-label sales far exceed those of Wonder, with sales in supermarkets of $1.4 billion during the same period.

Interstate hopes the new campaign can help differentiate the brand from the plethora of private-label and other branded offerings they encounter at the store.

"Consumers seem to choose their bread by rote," Ms. Robertson said, "but by showing them that there are true differences, we. . . give them a reason to think about it."

In addition, Mr. Lampros said, the campaign is intended to jump-start growth in the category, which has seen relatively flat sales over the last few years.

Contributing: Hillary Chura.

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