Based largely on the runaway success of frozen yogurt-and-sorbet treats last summer, Haagen-Dazs is testing the same intense, European-style sorbets in pint form this year. The five sorbets-harvest pear, lemon, mango, raspberry and strawberry-will be marketed as "0% fat, 100% Haagen-Dazs" in outdoor boards in Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle, via BBDO Worldwide, New York.
"Sorbet sales are small, but it's the fastest-growing segment of the frozen dessert business," said Tony McGrath, who took over as VP-sales and marketing last August.
Haagen-Dazs found that out last year, when it had to ration supplies of its three varieties of 100-calorie sorbet-and-yogurt bars. The raspberry sorbet/vanilla yogurt bar is now the marketer's fastest-selling frozen novelty, topping even the classic vanilla ice cream bar with chocolate and almonds.
"It broke the rules in establishing a good-for-you, adult frozen novelty," Mr. McGrath said.
Haagen-Dazs is adding a new Orange Tango flavor to the sorbet-and-yogurt bar line, and building on the success of its Extraas premium ice creams with two novelties, supported with free standing inserts.
Ingredient-laden Extraas has helped blunt the growth of arch-rival Ben & Jerry's Homemade. Haagen-Dazs' supermarket ice cream sales rose 4.5% to $150.4 million for the year ended March 27. That gave it a 6.6% share of the $2.3 billion ice cream market, while Ben & Jerry's sales of $117 million and 5.1% share were flat.
As Haagen-Dazs tried to bite into Ben & Jerry's business with Extraas, Ben & Jerry's now is moving into classic Haagen-Dazs territory with the new Smooth, No Chunks ice cream line. But Haagen-Dazs next month unveils another weapon: Brownie a la Mode ice cream.
The marketer will support its entire brand franchise with a TV spot from BBDO that "speaks to the fun and playfulness of the brand," Mr. McGrath said. The commercial shows a young woman-in a satin nightie, in bed, biting her finger seductively-while telling consumers, "At 11:30 at night, there's one thing better than sleep, or television, or flannel pajamas: A pint of Haagen-Dazs." As a man clad only in boxer shorts anxiously delivers the coveted ice cream, a voice-over says, "Haagen-Dazs: It's better than anything."
Haagen-Dazs, traditionally a print-only advertiser, began using TV three years ago, and will run the new commercial in six key metropolitan markets-New York, Baltimore/Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.