Kraft does the 'Twist'

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Kraft Foods hopes to conjure up sales for Kool-Aid this spring with the launch of Kool-Aid Magic Twist, a color-changing drink mix that offers a surprise flavor.

In an effort to capture kids' interest and capitalize on a trend toward interactivity, Kraft will put the bulk of its Kool-Aid marketing against the two-variety extension starting in April. While Kraft spent only $5 million of its $24 million in media on last year's new entry, Kool-Aid Blast-Offs, the company will "focus much more specifically [on Magic Twist] for the second quarter, when we do most of our advertising," said Mike Faherty, senior brand manager on Kool-Aid. He declined to discuss this year's spending level for Kool-Aid.

The reason for the increased attention is that Kraft sees Magic as a potentially "big idea" because it allows kids to participate in the experience. Changin' Cherry is a green drink powder that changes to blue although it is red cherry flavored. Grape Illusion is a gold powder that changes to red and has a purple grape flavor.

Philip Morris Cos.' Kraft owns a 90% share of the $673 million fruit-drink mix category, which declined 2.5% for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 3, according to Information Resources Inc. Last year's Blast-Offs extension held $20 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 3, according to IRI. But sales for previous years' introductions, such as Island Twist and Mega Mountain Twists, reflected kids' fickleness, with both posting sales declines of 25% for the period.

Kool-Aid spokespitcher Kool-Aid Man dons a cape and wand to reflect the color and flavor change in TV, print, packaging and in-store efforts. Kid-targeted TV ads from WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, begin in April and feature a Kool-Aid house that draws kids in with flashing colors and music. Inside, the kids witness Kool-Aid Man magically change a deck of cards into packets of Kool-Aid Magic Twist. The tagline: "Changes colors right before your mouth!"

Print ads beginning in late April target moms and will claim kids can be magicians with Kool-Aid Magic Twist. To further the experience, Kool-Aid will offer a Curiosity Kits' Magic PowerBall in exchange for Kool-Aid KoolPoints gathered from two canisters of Magic Twist. The PowerBall, which features a mold and colored crystals to form a ball, is touted on kool-aid.com, promotional tags on the TV spot and tear pads on in-store display racks.

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