UNILEVER SLIMS DOWN ICE-CREAM BRANDS

New Ads Hype 'Healthier' Products for an Overweight Nation

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Unilever's Good Humor-Breyers division is upping its healthier offerings -- and advertising -- of lower-fat, lower-calorie
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and smaller-portion sizes of its various brands.

Among the efforts, driven by growing attention to health and obesity, is a new ad campaign for Slim-a-Bear, a Klondike line; Breyers offerings made with 2% milk and a 98% fat-free version; a relaunch of Popsicle that includes new ice-cream-based Minis; and new Slim-Fast frozen novelties.

Resurging trend
According to Terry Olson, vice president for marketing and development of Good-Humor-Breyers North America, the low-fat trend that had been falling off since its heyday in the early '90s showed a resurgence last year.

"Consumers had been very disappointed by the taste and the number of calories [in low-fat products], but now a lot of companies are coming back with products that still retain some fat for better texture and flavor and are also able to cut down on calories," Mr. Olson said.

Addressing that trend, and the rise in obesity-related diabetes, Good Humor-Breyers this summer breaks the first advertising for Klondike Slim-a-Bear, a line that includes a 98% fat-free ice cream sandwich and no-sugar-added ice cream bar. The TV campaign, set to break in July, marks incremental media spending for Klondike, which received $9 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. The ads introduce the new Slim-a-Bear character and tout how the rich, creamy-tasting products fit into consumers' active, healthy lifestyles. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, awarded the Good Humor-Breyers account in January, handles the Slim-a-Bear spots as well as ongoing ads touting the base Klondike brand.

Breyers new brands
New TV spots for Breyers starting next month will focus on the benefits of the all-natural ice cream brand's new 2% milk varieties (which offer half the fat and 20% fewer calories) as well as new 98% fat-free varieties and new Breyers Fruit Bars. Spending will remain flat with the $8.4 million in media spent on the brand last year, although Breyers will get more media support in 2004 when it repositions the brand.

New Popsicle Minis, pint-sized portions of ice-cream bars, ice-cream sandwiches and Fudgesicles developed in part to control portion sizes for children, said Mr. Olson, will also receive a significant spending boost over the $1 million spent on the overall brand last year. Since the portion control message may not seem all that important to children -- Popsicle's primary target -- the ads focus on fun and depict how youngsters are able to transform situations in fantastical ways by eating Popsicle-brand products. The tagline: "Now that's cool!"

Slim-Fast
Good Humor-Breyers also helped Unilever sibling Slim-Fast Foods Co. in the development of new Slim-Fast frozen novelties, the first extension of the diet brand into ice cream. The products, among them a 110-calorie fudge bar with 1.5 grams of fat, will be advertised likely in June with a campaign from Slim-Fast's agency, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York.

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