Keebler is moving Carr's into first nat'l campaign

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Carr's crackers, a brand that attracts a loyal but small group of consumers, is ready to break out.

Carr's, the leading specialty cracker with 15% in sales growth last year, is found in roughly 5% of U.S. households. To introduce the crackers to a larger group, Keebler Co. will launch the first-ever national campaign for Carr's this fall. Keebler markets and distributes the brand in the U.S. for U.K.-based United Biscuit. Previous efforts targeted known users through direct mail, event marketing and account specific promotions.

"We want to bring the Carr's message to consumers who are not currently in the franchise," said Christine Peggau, marketing manager.

And the first step in doing that is a new print effort from Decker, Glastonbury, Conn., the agency Keebler hired last January to develop an estimated $3 million integrated marketing campaign. Previously, Keebler has worked with a variety of promotion agencies.

NO CONSISTENT PROGRAM

"Carr's is a very successful brand with a very strong and loyal following, but it's a brand that hasn't had a consistent, integrated brand communications program," said Craig Cheyne, president-CEO of Decker.

The print initiative -- which will first appear in epicurean magazines including American Express Publishing Corp.'s Food & Wine, Conde Nast Publications' Bon Appetit and World Publications' Saveur -- is the inaugural piece in the new overall effort to position Carr's as a central element in successful entertaining.

The first ad in the series features an elegant picnic scene where the package of Carr's crackers has been cut out to reveal an unsightly hole. The copy reads, "Carr's crackers complete the perfect picnic." Other executions will likely show similar situations where Carr's completes the perfect social gathering.

The ads target young, upscale and self-confident consumers that currently use Carr's; according to the agency's research, those are people who like to entertain and are involved with classical music, boating and tennis, Mr. Cheyne said. But, more importantly, Keebler hopes the ads will reach out to "people who act like Carr's users but have not incorporated the brand into their lives," Ms. Peggau said.

FULL REBATE OFFER

To further encourage trial among the likeminded demo, the ads will include a full rebate offer for a box of Carr's.

Though the initial ad buy targets those with an epicurean bent, future ads will identify other "lifestyle bandwidths where we will be able to become a significant player," Mr. Cheyne said. Targeted media buys as well as supplemental special events and loyalty programs associated with golf, polo, yachting or other lifestyles will help Carr's develop a dominant presence without the ability to compete dollar for dollar on a mainstream basis, he said.

The print ads will run year-round in an attempt to drive frequency of purchase among some consumers who think of Carr's only for yearend holiday parties, Ms. Peggau said.

The specialty crackers category grew 10.8% to $123 million for the 52 weeks ended May 21, according to Information Resources Inc. Carr's sales totaled $33 million for that period.

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