New EAS ads aim to attract women

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A company well-known by aspiring-Schwarzenegger types is turning to two slimmer celebrities, Christie Brinkley and Cindy Crawford, to build awareness outside the gym.

EAS, the Golden, Colo.-based company that established itself by marketing muscle enhancers targeted primarily at bodybuilders, launches an estimated $15 million effort today for its new line of nutritional bars and drinks. The use of the supermodels in the effort from new agency M&C Saatchi, New York, is a bid to get more women to try the products aimed at the mass market.

The women will each appear in a 30-second spot portraying them as soccer moms (both have kids) who must juggle fitness and nutrition needs with the demands of busy lifestyles. The national TV and print campaign for the AdvantEdge line of meal-on-the-run bars and drinks launches as the brand, which began its national rollout this past summer, moves toward what EAS terms full distribution. The line is expected to reach some 40,000 outlets by February, including chains such as Wal-Mart, CVS and Walgreen's. The rollout also comes as many Americans make New Year's resolutions to eat healthier and improve their figures.

The female-targeted campaign follows a fall AdvantEdge effort starring former National Football League teammates John Elway and Shannon Sharpe in a TV spot seen during sports telecasts, including "Monday Night Football." To keep awareness high among men, that spot will continue to air, along with another Elway-Sharpe collaboration yet to launch.

"Going with Elway and Sharpe was really an extension of who we were and what the origins and heritage of the EAS brand were," said Jim Heidenreich, EAS's VP-marketing. "And when we went into mass market, we wanted to build on the equity. As the brand has grown and we continue to get more distribution in these channels, we needed to extend our strategy to reach women; 70% of all shoppers in the drug, grocery and mass channels are women."

By using models of different ages (Ms. Brinkley is 46, Ms. Crawford, 33), EAS believes it can effectively reach women across a wide demographic range, from 20-somethings who know Ms. Crawford well to baby boomers who've followed Ms. Brinkley for some time.

In the separate spots, both Ms. Crawford and Ms. Brinkley assert that AdvantEdge is an ally in the battle to stay trim and healthy. "This body is the result of working out ... and having an AdvantEdge around when I'm tempted to polish the food off my kid's plate," Ms. Brinkley says in her spot. Ms. Crawford tells viewers: "Think of it as a little tool of the trade." The tagline throughout the campaign is "Change your mind. Change your body."

"It's intelligent use of celebrities," said Robert Fletcher, executive chairman of the London-based M&C Saatchi's New York office.

The major plank in the campaign's media buy is a $10 million-plus deal EAS signed this fall with Walt Disney Co. as part of its new ABC Unlimited sales unit. The sales unit promotes cross-medium deals ranging from a variety of ABC dayparts to the ESPN family of networks to Web sites and ESPN The Magazine. Print also will include female-targeted publications such as Hearst Magazines' Cosmopolitan and Time Inc.'s


AdvantEdge is positioned between strict diet products such as Unilever's Slim Fast and older-skewing nutritional supplement Ensure from Abbott Laboratories. AdvantEdge's liquid version generated $1.4 million in sales for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 3 (mass distribution didn't begin until the summer) in the $1.2 billion weight-control/nutritional category topped by Slim Fast, according to Information Resources Inc., and its bar version generated $644,000 in sales over the same period in the $1.4 billion snack/bars/granola bars category led by Quaker Oats Co.'s Chewy Granola Bars.

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