FOOD STORAGE BRANDS UNWRAP $80 MIL IN ADS: GLADWARE TO BATTLE 2 BIG BRANDS; REYNOLDS ROLLS OUT NEW HOT BAGS

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The once-sleepy food and household-storage business is suddenly stirring.

Several marketers are mounting new ad efforts -- totaling $70 million to $80 million -- to launch or expand new products or defend their turf.

New entries from First Brands Corp., S.C. Johnson & Son and Reynolds Metals Co. will vie in the marketplace with new ad campaigns for established products from Rubbermaid and Tenneco Packaging's Hefty brand.

COMES AT `PERFECT TIME'

"These launches couldn't come at a more perfect time in that 10% of the country every day is eating meals on the run," said Burt Flickinger, a consultant with Reach Marketing.

First Brands this month began a national rollout of its GladWare line after rolling the brand extension to around 30% of the country -- centered in the Midwest -- last summer.

GladWare, which comes in packs of four clear, plastic containers that resemble supermarket deli trays and sells for around $2.49, is the first crossover for the Glad brand from flexible storage bags.

The national rollout is expected to get $10 million in advertising support, using TV, newspaper free standing inserts and in-store materials.

The campaign, to kick off in May, focuses on the theme line, "Containers you'll love to use but can afford to lose." Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is the agency.

TUPPERWARE REPLACEMENT

Though the product will be merchandised alongside food bags, First Brands sees it aimed more as a replacement for Tupperware and Rubbermaid containers, said Julia Hobbie-Low, product manager.

Rubbermaid isn't taking any chances. One theme of a $30 million TV campaign by Martin/Williams, Minneapolis, that broke last week focuses on the durability of Rubbermaid products compared to disposable and lower-cost competitive offerings (AA, April 13).

Reynolds, meanwhile, is preparing launches of two new products aimed at improving convenience in meal preparation or away-from-home eating.

Its Hot Bags, designed for use on outdoor grills or in indoor ovens or on stove tops, will be backed by an estimated $10 million TV, print, FSI coupons and direct-mail campaign, breaking in mid-June from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

Hot Bags are meant to extend Reynolds' successful Oven Bags business into new uses, said Brand Manager Mark Whitfield, allowing consumers to cook while keeping their grills clean or to keep food from falling through grill racks.

A three-bag pack will retail for around $3.49.

Also set to roll later this summer are Reynolds Wrappers -- aluminum foil sandwich wrappers in a Kleenex-style dispenser. Ad plans aren't complete yet, a spokesman said, although Saatchi is the agency.

The contest for the $853 million market for food storage bags also is heating up, with the rollout of Dow Slideloc bags from S.C. Johnson, to compete with Tenneco's successful 2-year-old Hefty OneZip brand in the high-end "slider" segment, employing zipperlike seal technology.

Hefty OneZip has grown to a $125.7 million business, with sales up 45.6% for the 52 weeks ended March 1, according to Information Resources Inc. Dow Ziploc remains the top brand in the category with $295.5 million in sales, but was down 5.3% in the period.

S.C. Johnson inherited the Slideloc rollout, which began in January, from DowBrands, which it acquired. Plans for the launch have been scaled back to 40% of the U.S. from the original 60%, said an executive at a competitor, who added that ad plans also appear to have been scaled back.

TV ADS FOR SLIDELOC

A Johnson spokeswoman said the company is backing the rollout with TV ads from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, though the account has since moved to Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago.

"The sale of DowBrands to S.C. Johnson will continue to accelerate the activity in the category," said Tony Morakis, marketing director for Hefty OneZip.

Hefty also is planning to back OneZip with $10 million in ads and $10 million in consumer promotion, breaking in May and June from DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, which succeeded Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, New York, on the business earlier this year.

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