The last real innovation in the category had been Dow's introduction of Ziploc more than a decade earlier. But while Ziploc was an improvement on the old fold-over bag, consumers still had to fumble to line up sides of the bags to close them.
Hefty's OneZip closure took another step forward in convenience, with a zipper-like slider eliminating the need to line up the sides.
"This was originally targeted to be a 15-share brand, and we're already a 22 share," says Tony Morakis, 37, citing first-quarter Nielsen figures, which also show Hefty OneZip surpassing Glad Lock to become the No. 2 product in the $850 million category behind Ziploc.
Particularly effective for OneZip over the past year has been an integrated marketing program that included home-delivered samples, in-store coupons and bonus packs for driving trial, Mr. Morakis says.
Consumers liked OneZip enough to make it a $125.7 million product for the 52-week period ending March 1, according to Information Resources Inc.
Even in the second year of the rollout, OneZip sales were up 45.6%, despite being priced 20% more per bag than category-leading Dow Ziploc.
Mr. Morakis, who had been marketing director for new-product development at Tenneco, succeeded Greg Kane as marketing director for Hefty OneZip late last year when Mr. Kane left for a marketing position at Fort James Corp.
Mr. Morakis, himself formerly of James River, sees two keys to Hefty OneZip's continued success: "We've supported this business in the way that it needed to be supported, and we've really tapped into a need in the market."
Under Mr. Morakis, Hefty OneZip launched a $10 million ad campaign last month, created by DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, which succeeded Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, New York, on the account.
He's also looking for more future applications of the Hefty OneZip's closure system.
"With the slider bag," he says, "innovation can be endless."