The strategy marks a departure from the brand's "mystery" campaign featuring a Sam Spade-like character.
That three-year effort focused on both heavy Miracle Whip users and those who switched between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip.
Senior Brand Manager Tim Calkins said that since 20% of U.S. households account for 80% of the product's usage, the decision was made to "celebrate our relationship" with these prime Miracle Whip users.
"It's our challenge to get them excited about the brand and use all parts of the marketing mix to do that," he said.
As a result, the company will put the bulk of its budget into the TV, radio, print and direct-mail "zip"-theme advertising running throughout the year.
The product's label has been redesigned, and the brand is getting consumer promotions beginning in the spring and its own page on Kraft's Web site (http://kraftfoods.
The first in the series of TV spots shows two kids disappointed when one's mom doesn't make sandwiches with Miracle Whip.
J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago, is the ad agency; direct mail is handled by Ogilvy & Mather Direct.
Mr. Calkins said commercials will run in spot TV, primarily in Chicago, Dallas, Cleveland and Denver-what he calls "the heartland"-where the most avid Miracle Whip consumers live.
Print starts in April and radio, a medium the company hasn't used for a few years, will start Feb. 10, primarily to showcase a new jingle, Mr. Calkins said.
In targeting heavy users, Miracle Whip is going after a group with households that consume 550 servings, or 17 pounds, of the product a year, Mr. Calkins said. While the "mystery" strategy to target dual users of mayonnaise and Miracle Whip was successful, the company decided it would be better served for now to place more emphasis on its most loyal consumers.
According to Information Resources Inc., Miracle Whip sales for 1996 were up 2.1% to $305.1 million. Miracle Whip is the biggest contributor to Kraft's overall $446.9 million in sales for the mayonnaise/sandwich spread category, where the company has a 45.5% share.
CPC International's Best Foods/Hellmann's brands hold second place in the