PEPPERIDGE FARM TOUTS INDULGENCE IN BRAND ADS: UMBRELLA EFFORT FROM Y&R AIMS TO REVIVE HUGE GROWTH OF EARLY '90S

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Pepperidge Farm, trying to recapture its torrid growth rate of four years ago, is introducing its first umbrella ad campaign since scrapping "Pepperidge Farm remembers" in the early 1990s.

The new theme from Y&R Advertising, New York, "Never have an ordinary day," aims to convince women to indulge themselves with Pepperidge Farms' gourmet offerings. It's also part of an overall Campbell Soup Co. initiative to increase promotional spending and make the company's products more relevant to today's consumers.

The "Ordinary" effort aims to drive sales growth back to the extraordinary 30%-plus levels achieved from 1996 to 1998, when it was considered "one of the hottest food companies in the industry," said Prudential Securities analyst John McMillin.

The high growth was powered by an aggressive national marketing program -- unusual for Pepperidge Farm -- including an uncharacteristically heavy ad schedule with creative from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, before the account moved in February to Y&R.

The new strategy, however, departs from Pepperidge Farm's tack then: To emphasize mainly Milano cookies and Goldfish snack crackers rather than the umbrella brand.

ATTENTION GETTER

The Goldish program in particular drew rivals' attention to a segment that had previously seen little innovation. Nabisco Biscuit Co.'s Cheese Nips and Keebler Foods Co.'s Cheez-It charged in with new products and advertising, and Cheez-It knocked Goldfish off its pedestal. For the year ended July 18, Cheez-It sales grew almost 22% to $257 million, according to Information Resources Inc., eclipsing Goldfish, sales of which rose at about half that rate to $231 million.

The Goldfish situation ended up hurting the entire unit. In its fiscal fourth-quarter report, Campbell said that although Pepperidge Farm sales "grew modestly" in the quarter, earnings were "negatively impacted by higher marketing spending" due to "the competitive environment in the cheese cracker category." Campbell does not break out Pepperidge Farm sales, which fall under its $1.4 billion Biscuit & Bakery division.

IRI figures show that although sales for some Pepperidge Farm lines are still rising in double digits -- 16.7% for Classic Cookies, 17% for Swirl Breads and 12.7% for frozen breads and rolls -- others such as Distinctive Cookies are up only 1.7%, a big falloff from '98 levels.

To regain momentum, Pepperidge Farm also is expected to boost ad spending, which reached $36 million in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Much of that would go to the new umbrella effort, a spokeswoman said.

MAKING A CONNECTION

The decision to support cookies, frozen and bakery brands by reconnecting them under the corporate name was made because under Pepperidge Farm's earlier strategy, "there was no connection to the umbrella brand's great reputation for wholesome goodness, and consumers forgot some of the things that Pepperidge Farm made," one industry observer said.

The new spots, breaking in November issues of women's service and parenting magazines, focus on the aspects that make individual Pepperidge Farm products special. Print first singles out Frozen Garlic Toast and Milano cookies; down the road, print and TV will support other products in the Pepperidge Farm portfolio.

"Consumers are definitely buying the specific products, so we have to feature the product benefits in a compelling way," said the spokeswoman, adding, "research shows that having the assurance that it comes from Pepperidge Farm is important and adds value."

An ad for pre-sliced Frozen Garlic Toast features a larger-than-life shot of the product, full of flavorful flecks of parsley, with a bowl of pasta behind it. Alongside the shot a tagline reads, "Who needs the pasta?"

REDESIGNED LOGO IS HIGHLIGHTED

The Pepperidge Farm corporate logo, redesigned in January, is featured prominently in the ad, as is the new Pepperidge theme, "Never have an ordinary day."

Similarly, the ad for Milano -- one of Pepperidge Farm's Distinctive Cookie varieties -- uses the corporate logo and tag but focuses on a photo of the rich, oval-shape cookie, intended to be consumed by moms as a special treat.

The tagline lures the indulgence-seeking target: "If you're going to have a cookie, have a cookie."

The corporate tagline also will be extended to retailer display materials and to newspaper inserts to "give it as much exposure as broadly as possible," the spokeswoman said.

Goldfish will not be included in the new effort because it is positioned as an all-family snack rather than as an indulgent adult line.

The brand will continue to be featured in its own TV spots, including an upcoming new campaign for its existing Flavor-Blasted Goldfish varieties.

Even as Pepperidge Farm unites its brands under one campaign, it's breaking apart its internal units.

Last week, the company split its Frozen Foods and Biscuit/Bakery businesses, naming former VP-Marketing Pat Call-aghan senior VP-business development and VP-marketing for frozen products. Geralyn Breig, former VP-biscuit marketing, takes

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