Keebler ads tout variety in $5 mil cookie campaign

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Keebler Foods Co. is hoping new advertising will sweeten up sales for its chocolate chip cookies.

The company will break an estimated $5 million adult-targeted TV and print campaign for its Chips Deluxe lineup in February. Keebler hopes to encroach on Nabisco's leadership in the chocolate chip cookie segment by touting the cookie line's many unique varieties.

"The message will be that we have all these delectable, unique varieties -- seven in total -- and that's definitely a competitive point of difference," said Carolyn Burns, marketing director for Keebler cookies.

Keebler's Chips Deluxe line, which includes varieties with walnuts, chocolate chunks, coconut and peanut butter cups, ranked second in the chocolate chip cookie segment in 1998 with $150 million in sales. Leader Nabisco's Chips Ahoy! had double Keebler's sales with roughly $300 million, according to Keebler research.

AIMED AT ADULT WOMEN

The new campaign from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, will target adult women via TV shows during prime-time and daytime (including popular talk shows such as "The Rosie O'Donnell Show"), as well as on cable networks.

The TV effort, along with print ads breaking in March issues of women's service publications, will carry the message that Keebler offers chocolate chip cookies with all of consumers' favorite ingredients.

According to Ms. Burns, research showed that consumers are very interested in the many varieties Keebler offers but are not familiar with them.

Delivering the message will be the Keebler elves, which the cookie and cracker marketer has revived for use in all of its marketing communications.

"The elves say Keebler and instantly communicate our brand," Ms. Burns said.

Keebler's advertising for Chips Deluxe has been aimed at kids for the last few years, focusing on varieties such as original, chewy and rainbow that skew toward younger audiences. Keebler rotates between kid and adult targets every few years, Ms. Burns said, and has chosen to target adults with the new campaign because so many varieties in the lineup appeal to them. Kid-skewed varieties will also be included in the 2000 campaign.

SPRING PUSH

Keebler this spring will expand its promotional efforts that last year focused on Rainbow Chips Deluxe. For both Rainbow Wafers and E.L. Fudge Sandwich Cookies, Keebler will offer packaging featuring spring colors and on-package activities for kids. In-store displays and retailer advertising will also feature the spring theme.

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