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Since the early 1970s, TV viewers have watched countless kitchen confrontations end with two hands gripping a waffle and one combatant whining, "Leggo my Eggo."

That slogan has been Kellogg Co.'s principal communication vehicle for its Eggo waffle brand until last year, when the breakfast giant decided to go with other creative techniques in certain situations.

"In those spots where we're trying to communicate brand equity, we use it," says Scott Relf, VP-equity development at Kellogg. "In spots where we have new information, we deliberately develop ads that keep the same spirit, but use different verbiage."

Kellogg had some new information to communicate in 1997 via advertising from agency Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

The company introduced banana bread waffles, began marketing cinnamon toast waffles to adults for the first time and repackaged its entire Eggo line. The result was a 4.4% gain in dollar sales to $299.3 million, according to Information Resources Inc. (The figure doesn't include Eggo's sub-branded waffles bearing the Nutri-Grain and Special K names.) Kellogg currently owns more than half of the $573.2 million category.

Mr. Relf, 37, says work done in late 1996 helped lay the groundwork for Eggo's success last year at the register. The repackaging, for instance, which affected every Kellogg's waffle, was conceived and executed in 1996, although it didn't reach national distribution until mid-1997. The effort was aimed at unifying a group of disparate products under one recognizable banner.

The decision not to use "Leggo my Eggo" in some instances, meanwhile, was rooted in the company's need to communicate to adults in a more, well, adult fashion. Depicting two grown-ups fighting over a waffle wouldn't be appropriate.

Yet, moving away from the slogan proved touchy, both at Kellogg and longtime agency Burnett. Kellogg wanted to preserve the slogan's "spirit" but express it in other ways, Mr. Relf says. "Getting to that point took some heavy lifting," he adds.

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