Kraft shows affection for confection

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Toblerone marketer Callard & Bowser-Suchard plans to get serious about advertising its chocolate confections.

To capitalize on the growth of its specialty chocolate brands, which have quadrupled sales over the last four years, the Kraft Foods unit is following up its first-time national TV effort for Tobler Chocolate Orange with tests of advertising for its Toblerone and Milka L'il Scoops brands.

"We play in the specialty chocolate category, which includes mostly European, higher-price chocolates that are more about indulgence than a quick fix, and that segment has been growing phenomenally, by about 25% per year," said Neil Leinwand, senior brand manager-chocolate confections at Callard & Bowser. "With that kind of growth to be had, we need to invest in our chocolate brands and extend our portfolio."

As part of its expanded effort, the company in late January began assaulting consumers in Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Washington with out-of-home ads touting Toblerone as the chocolate "Made exclusively for everyone," a message it plans to expand to 20% of the U.S. in 2001. The campaign, from Y&R Advertising, New York, aims to overcome consumers' perceptions of the Swiss milk chocolate brand as hard-to-find, expensive and holiday-specific.

MASS APPEAL

The humorous executions present Toblerone as a premium chocolate with mass appeal. Much like Chicago-based Leo Burnett USA's highly successful ads for sibling brand Altoids mints, the nearly 20 executions carry a picture of the distinctive triangular-shaped bar underneath phrases such as, "Chocolate you'd sell your soul for. Available for considerably less," or "For every Tom, Dick and Reginald."

The media plan also resembles Altoids' in that it aims to reach 18- to-34-year-old active and style-conscious consumers who aren't at home watching TV, Mr. Leinwand said. "We're trying to be ubiquitous, in unexpected locations."

In addition to outdoor, Callard & Bowser will introduce new displays for convenience stores and unusual retail locations such as bowling alleys. The displays will introduce single 0.4-ounce servings of Toblerone called Tobler Minis for 25›. Additionally, the company plans to reach out to consumers by sponsoring free concerts and festivals, along with offering free limo rides to commuters.

EASTER EFFORT

For Easter, Callard & Bowser will continue the "Smashing good taste" TV campaign for its Tobler Chocolate Orange product. The new spot, which breaks in late March, also from Y&R, extends the quirky, offbeat positioning of the brand that consumers must whack then unwrap. In the commercial, a father-son Easter bunny duo break down a door with the orange-flavored chocolate.

Shortly after Easter, the Tobler name on that product will be changed to reflect the worldwide brand name, Terry's. Advertising surrounding the holiday season will launch the first-ever new variety of the confection, Chocolate Raspberry, also to be branded Terry's.

`EAT `EM BY THE SPOONFUL'

Callard & Bowser is testing 15-second TV spots in six markets for its third chocolate trademark, Milka L'il Scoops. The purple egg cartons for L'il Scoops contain two little purple spoons and four chocolate eggs, half of them filled with chocolate mousse and the other half with vanilla mousse. The first-ever advertising for the brand features two little girls who look down into the living room and see the shadow of the Easter bunny, who turns out to be their father with plant leaves behind his head. The tagline, for the ads, breaking the end of March, reads, "Eat 'em by the spoonful."

Sales for Tobler and Toblerone totaled $29.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 2, according to Information Resources Inc. Callard & Bowser spent $1.8 million advertising Tobler Chocolate Orange in 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting, not including the brand's December push.

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