Pringles Zip Dip takes on Frito's snack leadership

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Procter & Gamble Co. hopes to dip into Frito-Lay's booming chip-and-dip kits business with a combo line of its own: Pringles Zip Dip.

The new line, which features single-serve canisters of Pringles packaged with an individual-size dip, is in test in Waterloo, Iowa. The trial is seen as a response to the convenient snack kits Frito introduced last year, which are "flying off the shelf," according to one Midwest grocery executive.

In November, Frito rolled out its line of Tostitos Chips & Salsa and Chips & Cheese Dip kits and followed up with the launch of Frito Chili & Scoops and Sloppy Joe & Scoops kits in a bid to capitalize on a convenience craze that has prompted consumers to pay top dollar for easy snacks and meals. Despite the kits' high price tags, "consumers can't get enough of them," the grocery executive said.

P&G is angling to make its new Pringles Zip Dip equally must-have for the twentysomething set. A TV ad, which broke in Iowa Sept. 12, features a young man sitting in his apartment absorbed in eating the new all-in-one snack. Despite his willingness to lend his greedy roommates everything from his girlfriend to the pants he's wearing, he flatly refuses to share his chips.

The tagline is "New Pringles Zip Dip: It's Pringles, it's dip and it comes in four intense flavors. A snack for you and you alone." Grey Worldwide, New York, developed the spot.

YOUTH APPEAL

To appeal to its young demo, P&G developed out-there flavors (and names) for its dips, including Fireblast, Tex 'N Grill, Ravin' Ranch and Flamin' Cheese.

The new Pringles Zip Dip line is the latest in a series of efforts P&G has launched to grow its $445 million snack business and challenge Frito's $5.5 billion snack stronghold.

In August, the package-goods behemoth launched a new campaign for Pringles from Grey that features a singing version of package icon Mr. Pringles. The effort, also aimed at the coveted teen and young adult target, extends the brand's musical theme and the notion that "Once you pop, you can't stop" through TV and print.

That line is also used in the Zip Dip spot.

MUSIC EVENTS

In addition, Pringles has tie-ins to music venues and events.

P&G also recently introduced a new line of bite-size tortilla snacks called Jeckles, which are delivered directly to convenience stores and other sought-after retail outlets in the same way Frito distributes its products. Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, handles Jeckles.

A P&G spokeswoman would not comment on the likelihood of the line being extended nationally.

Contributing: Jack Neff

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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