P&G TESTS FAT-FREE PRINGLES IN OHIO

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Procter and Gamble Co. is marching its long-awaited olestra potato crisp into test in Columbus, Ohio, with no less than two ad campaigns and support from six advertising and public relations agencies.

P&G is spending an estimated $5 million to $10 million to market Fat-Free Pringles in Columbus with two separate ad campaigns. The first-for the ingredient itself rather than the chip-breaks this week, said Billy Cyr, marketing director-Olean. Grey Advertising, New York, created the TV, print and radio effort.

TESTIMONIAL ADS

"The ads are testimonial in nature and capture the experiences of consumers with Olean," he said.

The Olean ads are also planned to later run in the three test markets in which Frito-Lay is marketing its Max chips-Eau Claire, Wis.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Grand Junction, Colo.

Advertising for Fat-Free Prin-gles won't run until after the ship date of Sept. 30, said Bob Gill, P&G snacks general manager. That campaign, using TV, direct mail and in-Olean Pringles debut store sampling, is themed after the national "You can't stop" Pringles effort and will highlight the taste "along with the surprising element of no fat," Mr. Gill said. Wells Rich Greene BDDP, New York, handles that effort.

PR BIG GUNS

Porter/Novelli, Washington, is the national public relations agency for Olean, but the bulk of the Columbus PR is being handled by Pringles' national PR agency, Manning, Selvage & Lee, New York. Local PR shop HMS Partners, Columbus, is also working on the launch and the Dilenschneider Group, New York, is involved, too.

The PR component will be crucial to counter the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has launched vociferous anti-olestra ad and promotion campaigns in the Frito-Lay test markets, via Zimmerman & Markman, Santa Monica, Calif. Those efforts are tagged "You wouldn't feed this to your dog."

P&G's test comes five months after Frito-Lay began marketing Max under the Lay's, Ruffles, Doritos and Tostitos brands. Advertising for Max, handled by BBDO Worldwide, New York, shows a minor miracle and features the tagline, "One taste and you will be a believer."

Frito-Lay said it has sold 250,000 bags of Max chips since April 22 and that it will continue the test through the fall.

FRITO-LAY `PLEASED'

PaineWebber analyst Manny Goldman said that while the company has been adjusting price points on Max in the three markets, "they are pleased with what they've seen so far."

Olean opponent CSPI promises it will introduce a campaign "specifically to address P&G" when its chip is introduced.

P&G's Mr. Cyr countered: "We plan to paint the other side of the equation, showing consumers who love the taste and the benefit."

Contributing: Laura Petrecca, Chuck Ross and Mark Gleason.

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