BRUEGGER'S NEW IMAGE ADS WILL OFFER NEIGHBORLY VIBE

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Following a troubled year, Bruegger's Corp. is readying a new image campaign for its Bruegger's Bagel Bakeries, to be launched in May.

"This is kind of our second chance in life," said Holly Alves, VP-marketing for Bruegger's, the first major U.S. bagel chain. "We have renewed vigor, and part of that is enhancing our marketing activities."

The advertising will include an umbrella campaign with TV, print and radio that can be used chainwide and tailored for regional use.

"We want to allow for the creative flexibility for franchisees and operators working in their specific neighborhood," said Ms. Alves, who was hired in January to lead the marketing efforts; she formerly worked for another Vermont food company, Ben & Jerry's Homemade.

`UNCHAIN-LIKE'

The goal is for the campaign to capture the chain's feeling of being a neighborhood bagel bakery.

"We want to be an unchain-like chain," she said.

Lotas Minard Patton McIver, New York, was awarded the estimated $5 million to $6 million account earlier this month. Previously, Richards Group, Dallas, handled.

The spending marks a substantial increase for the 15-year-old chain. Last year, Bruegger's spent a mere $20,000 on measured media, primarily outdoor, down from $1.5 million the prior year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

The chain, mostly run by franchisees, was sold back to its founders last October by Quality Dining, a Burger King franchisee. The move came at a time when many bagel chains have been struggling to find the right recipe for profitability.

MOWER AD IN FOUR MARKETS

While the new agency prepares the image campaign, a 30-second TV spot breaks today in Boston, from local agency Eric Mower & Associates, Syracuse, N.Y. The spot, which features two old friends ice fishing, also is running in Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y.

"Bruegger's bagels. The hottest thing 'round" is the tagline.

Ms. Alves said there are several new products in the works, and that the chain plans to continue emphasizing its signature coffee program.

"Totally completely obsessed with freshness" has been the company's theme line, which may or may not appear in the new creative, Ms. Alves said.

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