JAMES RIVER PUTS MUSCLE BEHIND DIXIE PAPER BRAND: FIRST NAT'L ADS IN 3 YEARS BACK LINE AS 'HOME CLEANUP REPLACEMENT'

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James River Corp. has launched the first national TV campaign in more than three years for its Dixie brand in hopes of positioning the plates as a "home cleanup replacement."

The campaign from DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, consists primarily of national cable and spot TV this year. In 1998, the regional focus will expand to a full national campaign, said Bill Schultz, VP-category manager of James River's tabletop category.

SPENDING LIKELY TO RISE

James River wouldn't disclose spending, but the plate campaign, and a separate effort for cups, are sure to boost spending significantly over the $1 million that Competitive Media Reporting said supported the Dixie brand last year.

With the plate campaign, "We're trying to leverage the concept of home meal replacement into the next generation, which I call 'home cleanup replacement, " Mr. Schultz said. "I think it's an obvious market, and no one else is talking about it."

The TV spot features a girl describing how her mom tried cheap paper plates and ended up cleaning the floor instead of the dishes, then tried Chinet plates that leaked and ended up doing the laundry instead of dishes. Dixie's triple-layer construction is offered as the true alternative to home cleanup.

"We put a very hard-hitting performance message in the context of time famine," Mr. Schultz said. The advertising tested in the top 5% of on-air TV ads in premarket testing, he added.

The plate campaign is Dixie's second this year, following a radio effort for the relaunch of Dixie Riddle Cups, a nostalgic return to a '60s product featuring riddles.

James River is testing an alternative ending to the plate commercial that also will mention Dixie cups, possibly breaking in the fall, Mr. Schultz said.

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