Nabisco keeps kosher in new ad push

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Nabisco Biscuit Co. brings out the "oy" in Chips Ahoy! as part of a push to tout the kosher-certified status of its Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and Ritz brands.

Over the next few months, the Nabisco unit for the first time will reach out to Jewish audiences with targeted ads. Although the products gained kosher status in 1997, Nabisco only now plans to create awareness among the roughly 1 million U.S. consumers who keep kosher as well as others within the universe of 6 million American Jews who see kosher products as being of higher quality.

"Overall, we're looking to expand our initiatives with targeted markets, and although we've previously done some marketing to Jewish audiences -- such as public relations and participation in [New York's] Israel Day Parade -- we wanted to increase the relevancy of our brands by stepping up awareness of our products with kosher certification," said Janice Craig, director, targeted markets, Nabisco Biscuit.

For 2001, Nabisco Biscuit will more than double the spending it puts against Jewish audiences this year, she said.


The new campaign, handled by Joseph Jacobs Advertising, New York, initially includes a print ad for Oreo that breaks this month in four national Jewish magazines as well as Jewish newsweeklies in markets including Los Angeles, New York and South Florida. Elie Rosenfeld, account manager at Joseph Jacobs, said 85% of U.S. Jews reside in the top 12 markets, with 40% living in the metropolitan New York area.

The ad features a separated Oreo with a U carved out of the O-shape cookie's filling to represent the OU trademark that symbolizes the kosher certification agency, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. The headline reads, "Look what's in the middle of an Oreo."

Ads for Chips Ahoy! in October and for Ritz in November similarly draw the letter U into the O-shape products, using chocolate chips for Chips Ahoy! and the holes in Ritz crackers.

All feature the tagline "Kosher for goodness sake," to play off the perception that kosher is a sign of quality and purity, Mr. Rosenfeld said. The ads carry a reference to the area on Nabisco's Web site that features a listing of its kosher products (

Although admittedly difficult to track, Joseph Jacobs' research shows the kosher category growing at a rate of 13% a year, with an average of 13,000 kosher products in the typical U.S. supermarket.

Nabisco's efforts for the remainder of the year and the expanded ad campaign next year place the company among the top five advertisers in Jewish media, Mr. Rosenfeld said. Others include Kraft Foods (now in the process of buying Nabisco) for its Maxwell House coffee, Post cereals and Breakstone's cottage cheese and sour cream; Bestfoods for its Hellmann's brand; Manischewitz Food Co.; and Constellation Products, the former Canandaigua Wine Co, which licences the Manischewitz name.


Nabisco Biscuit's biggest efforts in multicultural marketing thus far have been toward the Hispanic market, mainly with TV spots from Mendoza Dillon, Los Angeles, run on Telemundo and Univision.

In the last two years, Ms. Craig said, 19 of the top 20 Hispanic programs were found on Univision, where, along with Telemundo, the marketer has concentrated.

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