BY LOSING THE SPOON, GENERAL MILLS WINS BIG: PORTABLE G0-GURT A HIT EVEN BEFORE ROLLOUT

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Even before cranking up its national campaign for Go-Gurt, General Mills has built a $37 million must-have brand for kids.

Realizing that portable isn't convenient enough for today's fast-paced kids, General Mills' created Go-Gurt, which requires no spoon and no constant refrigeration.

Initially introduced into West Coast and Midwest markets last September, the tot-targeted yogurt-in-a-tube is the first slurpable brand.

The hope was to drive yogurt consumption among 8-to-12-year- olds. And, through too-cool-for-school advertising, flavors and packaging, it has.

$10 MIL NATIONAL LAUNCH

Now, to extend the popularity of the edgy lunch box treat with way-out flavors including Chill Out Cherry and Strawberry Kiwi Kick, Big G is kicking up marketing support for the Oct. 11 national launch with an estimated $10 million plan. The effort includes an eight-week run of TV spots with the tag "Lose the spoon" from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

In two TV spots, "The Beach" and "BMX," a Go-Gurt-toting kid shows up the kid stuck on a bench eating traditional yogurt with a spoon.

Newspaper inserts drop starting in mid-November offering 50›-off coupons. Sampling at kid-oriented events and locations is planned for late October through November in Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Washington.

"Go-Gurt has become the No. 1-selling kid-targeted yogurt in the markets where it has been sold," said Josh Resnik, marketing manager for Yoplait Kid Products. "And as we've rolled it out, we've seen the whole category grow."

General Mills is the top player in the $1.8 billion refrigerated yogurt category, according to Information Resources Inc., with sales up 19% to $565 million for the year ended July 18. Dannon Co. saw overall sales decrease 7% during that time to $544 million, while its Danimals kid-targeted line grew 2% to $35 million.

Big G's sales materials note that more than 70% of Go-Gurt volume is estimated

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