PLAYER OF THE WEEK;MICELI PLANS EVEN KEEL FOR KRAFT'S MEDIA PLANS:ONE CHANGE COULD BE MORE BRAND-SPECIFIC DEALS FOR ADULT, CHILDREN'S MEDIA

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Don Miceli has an answer for those wondering whether his appointment as VP-media services at Kraft Foods will bring major changes to the $1 billion media budget of the U.S.' largest food company.

The answer is no.

"I don't foresee any significant changes in the near term," said Mr. Miceli, 47, who gives up the title of director of media buying to succeed the retiring Dave Braun. Mr. Miceli, a career man at General Foods Corp. before it was absorbed by Kraft in the mid-1980s, said he was instrumental in planning the company's agency of record structure for media, so he doesn't plan to shift those assignments or compensation structure.

The agencies of record are D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles' TeleVest, New York, for adult national TV buying; Grey Advertising for children's network, syndication and cable; Young & Rubicam for print; and Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, for network radio.

And Kraft isn't likely to alter its strategies as Campbell Soup Co. has done with its rather radical Campbell Media Alliance-an effort to tie media strategy more closely to brand performance.

Mr. Miceli, however, bristles at the notion that Kraft has a reputation for being very traditional in its approach to media.

"I do think we are strategic in the way we approach" media, he said. "We start from an individual buying strategy based on the [development] of the business strategy and then utilize our clout in the market."

MORE THAN THE BIG 3

Mr. Miceli noted that he helped pioneer a new way of looking at national media, moving from a perception that national TV meant just the Big 3.

"We were one of the companies that early on looked at it as reaching an audience, whether it be network, cable or syndication," he said.

While Kraft appears to be taking a business-as-usual approach to media, Mr. Miceli does hint there may be some changes afoot, including more company- or brand-specific deals with kids media such as the company's recent alliance with Nickelodeon. That $60 million deal aligned 25 Kraft brands with the children's cable network in a two-year promotion.

There might be similar deals inked with suppliers of adult programming, he said.

Moreover, Mr. Miceli said Kraft is focusing a bit more on out-of-home media for brands like Maxwell House and Jell-O.

GOING GLOBAL?

A more global approach to media is also possible, Mr. Miceli said, particularly with matters such as creating TV movies with back-end ownership that can be shared with Kraft units around the world.

But one change Mr. Miceli won't tip his hand on is whether Kraft will pull back on its sponsorship of daytime TV talk shows following controversy over their sometimes racy topics.

"A number of new shows have not proved successful, and some of the established ones will disappear," he said. "The question is what remains and how do we feel about it."

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