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Indulgence is back in vogue, bringing with it a resurgence in sensual advertising for the likes of Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream and Pillsbury Co.'s Haagen-Dazs.

Dreyer's today breaks a TV campaign in 60 markets that uses a new tagline, "What could be better?" to replace the 6-year-old "Evidently, it's not your normal ice cream" theme.


The new 60-second spot from Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, shows a woman in a bathtub listening to her answering machine when one message informs her there is some Dreyer's in the freezer. In the next scene, she's naked in the kitchen enjoying the brand, only to be surprised by a sudden visit from her in-laws.

"We are seeing a swing back to premium products vs. an experimentation with fat-free alternatives," said Tyler Johnston, VP-marketing of Dreyer's, which spent $18 million in measured advertising on its brands in the first nine months of 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Ice cream consumers "eat less but want better quality," he said.

That's also led to Dreyer's new claim that its product is "double churned," supposedly resulting in a "richer and creamier" product than competitive brands. Dreyer's also is tapping the trend in the Southeast with a new line, Edy's Homemade, produced in a way to be reminiscent of ice cream hand cranked on the front porch.

Another Dreyer's line, produced under license with Starbucks Coffee Co., will go the low-fat route in a launch of Starbucks-branded ice cream in supermarkets.


While also preparing a low-fat line, rival Haagen-Dazs has moved away from its blatantly sexual pitch of the early `90s with a more product-focused approach celebrating its rich quality. The company is continuing its "Beyond ice cream" campaign from last summer with lush product shots and an emphasis on premium ingredients for its main brands, said corporate VP Vivien Godfrey.

That will run in tandem with a $10 million effort for Haagen-Daz low-fat ice cream breaking April 1, from Partners & Shevack, New York.

The line, which Ms. Godfrey said will constitute the first nationally distributed low-fat premium brand, is expected to meet competition from Unilever's Breyers brand shortly.

Haagen-Dazs said its new product will bridge the gap between the consumer yen for lower fat products and a preference for premium.

"Premium and superpremium [sales in supermarkets] have both grown at the expense of economy products," Ms. Godfrey said, "Consumers have more disposable income and are more inclined to buy higher quality products."

Private-label product still dominates sales in the $2.9 billion category, according to Information Resources Inc., with a 20% share. For the 52 weeks ended Jan. 26, IRI said Unilever and Dreyer's are literally tied for No. 2 with sales of $395 million each, a share of 13.6%. Haagen-Dazs takes fourth place with $139 million in sales, up 2.3%, behind Blue Bell Dairies with $180.5 million.

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