CPC ROLLS SALAD DRESSINGS AS OTHER COMPETITORS STIR: MARKET LEADER KRAFT STARTS NEW ADS; LIPTON UPS $ FOR WISH-BONE

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CPC International is rolling national with Hellmann's and Best Foods brand salad dressings, just as Thomas J. Lipton Co.'s Wish-Bone branded gets increased ad spending and market leader Kraft unveils new advertising.

Also adding four new no-fat varieties, CPC started a network TV push this month and is expected to at least double the $8 million spent for the dressings while in regional distribution on each coast.

TV spots for Hellmann's and Best Foods' No-Fat dressings show a large Italian family that gets confused by the mother's explanation that their dressings were made by Hellmann's/Best Foods, brands associated with mayonnaise.

A spot called "Breakup" for regular dressings depicts a man so impressed with what he believes is the salad dressing his girlfriend has made for him that he thinks she has changed her mind about breaking up with him.

KRAFT ADS FROM BURNETT

The CPC campaign is going up against Kraft Foods' first advertising for salad dressings from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, since the agency retained the business in a review earlier this year.

Executives familiar with the review said Kraft had charged those pitching to find a strategy to make the Kraft name far more prominent and convince consumers not to just look for Italian dressing but Kraft Italian dressing.

Burnett's solution is evident in a 60-second spot showing all sorts of people-a little boy favors Kraft Ranch dressing; seniors race-walk beneath a super of Kraft Free Honey Dijon; and a dad and his son cavort in a pool under the words "Kraft Catalina." The theme: "Everybody's got a taste for Kraft."

While Kraft wouldn't discuss ad spending, the new effort will have a hefty budget. The company poured out $33.9 million in measured media for its dressings last year and could up the ante given the new competition from CPC.

NEW ADS FOR WISH-BONE

Unilever's Lipton, the No. 2 player in the category with its Wish-Bone brand, also is breaking new advertising from Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York. Details weren't available at press time.

Lipton spent $14 million for Wish-Bone in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and a company spokesman promised more spending this year.

According to Information Resources Inc., sales in the $1.1 billion category were up 4.7% for the 52 weeks ended March 2, but Kraft's sales, at $416.8 million, were down 0.9%. The brand has a 36.9% share.

Lipton's sales rose 7.5% to $205.7 million, good for an 18.2% share. Clorox Co.'s Hidden Valley Ranch came in third, with sales of $163.4 million, up 0.8%, and a share of 14.5%.

While in regional distribution, the Best Foods/Hellmann's dressing racked up

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