THE MARKETING 100; NABISCO AIR CRISPS DORA LU

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When Dora Lu began working as a summer intern at Nabisco 10 years ago this summer, little did she know she would be responsible for launching a whole new cracker segment now expected to ring up $100 million in sales.

But Ms. Lu, now director of new products, did just that with the introduction of Air Crisps, a new generation of cracker under the Cheese Nips, Ritz and Wheat Thins name. The products, a lighter, air-filled version of their parent crackers, are designed to be eaten by the handful rather than with a slice of cheese.

"The idea is to contemporize the category," says Ms. Lu, 35. "Out of that was born the idea for Air Crisps, positioned at young adults and all-family users."

Introduced in October 1995, the line already has a 2.9% share of the snack-cracker market, Nabisco claims. Including the Wheat Thins Air Crisps now rolling out, Nabisco estimates Air Crisps will soon top a 3 share of snack crackers, "bigger than all Keebler, Pepperidge Farm and Sunshine combined," says Ms. Lu.

The company is confident it has a $100 million seller in Air Crisps, which will make it "the most successful new product at Nabisco since Ritz Bitz sandwiches in 1989," she notes.

The launch was executed in only a year, receiving TV and print from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York. Nabisco added Sour Cream & Onion Crisp varieties of Ritz in May.

"That's how you can tell it's a big idea," she says. "If it has legs."

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