Mrs. Butterworth's changes her target

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In Aurora Foods' new national ad campaign for Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, it's adults who will do the craziest things.

Though the Mrs. Butterworth's bottle has been talking to kids since the early '60s, the brand's advertising has been directed mainly at moms. Until now.

A new $6 million campaign that breaks Dec. 27 will target kids directly with humorous ads that show the lengths silly adults will go to get the syrup bottle to talk to them.

NEW FLAVORS DRIVE GROWTH

Aurora test-marketed the kid-targeted campaign -- and new kid flavors strawberry and buttery cinnamon in no-drip plastic bottles -- in five markets. Executives said the effort sparked growth of 6% for a category that's declining nationally; it drove sales of Mrs. Butterworth's, also declining, up by low double-digits, said Ed Yuhas, general manager of breakfast at Aurora.

"This category has really been tired for a long time," Mr. Yuhas said. "Mrs. Butterworth's, of all the players in the category, is really the brand for children and we needed to create the nag factor [where kids demand their parents buy the product] even more."

The new campaign, by Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, features a rotation of three spots aimed at kids 4 to 11 that will run during children's programming, including cable networks such as Nickelodeon and regular broadcast networks. The spots feature a little girl, sitting alongside a Mrs. Butterworth's bottle, who watches in amazement as adult family members humiliate themselves to get the bottle to talk.

`YOU BUTTER BELIEVE IT'

Although 90% of the media budget will go toward kids' programming, three adult-targeted spots created along the same irreverent lines will run during programming that matches their humorous tone, such as shows on Comedy Central and Nick at Nite.

Spots answer the question, "Mrs. Butterworth's is thick and rich, but does she only talk to kids?" with the line, "You butter believe it."

The syrup category dropped 0.2% to $471.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 7, according to Information Resources Inc. Aurora's Log Cabin, now testing concepts to drive sales among a more upscale adult target, is the leader with sales of $89 million; Van de Kamp's Aunt Jemima is at $82 million and Mrs. Butterworth's at $63 million, per IRI.

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