"It's a reflection of our success," said Dan Dillon, president-CEO of Welch, a $600 million company. "You can increase advertising when you're growing."
Combined with its promotion spending, Welch's total marketing outlays will reach $100 million for its fiscal year beginning next month.
KIDS CONTINUE TO PITCH
The ad dollars will support new commercials from Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, New York, that break on network TV in the first week of September. The spots continue Welch's strategy of using young kids to straightforwardly describe the benefits of its grape juice.
But the child who touted Welch's for the last few years, Travis Tedford, is being replaced by an equally winsome young actress named Emily Young.
The spots are aimed at mothers, the primary juice buyers for the family, and play on brand heritage in reminding mothers that Welch's is the juice they loved as kids.
"Childhood is a key part of the equity," said VP-Marketing Randy Papadellis. "The child becomes the personification of the Welch equity."
Before the ads starring Mr. Tedford began, Mr. Dillon said, Welch was a brand without a clear advertising identity.
"We'd gone through about 15 campaigns, and I don't believe our ad budget was more than $6 million to $7 million," he said, noting that Welch-also known as the National Grape Co-Op Association-tried every creative approach from growers in grape fields to grandfathers to mothers and children. "What we didn't have was a tactical execution. What we have now is a campaign."
Mr. Dillon said the company has estimated at least 10% of its sales bump within the last few years has come directly from the ad campaign: "It really has moved the needle."
Overall, Mr. Papadellis said, Welch's sales were up 40% in the past four years, driven by the advertising and two studies that played up the health benefits of grape juice.
FAR BEHIND OCEAN SPRAY
Even with the increased spending, Welch won't approach outlays for Ocean Spray Cranberries, which claims it will spend $50 million this year around its new theme, "Refreshingly honest."
Ocean Spray's sales are six times higher than Welch's, according to Information Resources Inc., which puts Welch's sales in shelf-stable bottled juices at $123.3 million for the 52 weeks ended July 20, vs. Ocean Spray's $671.7 million.
In Welch's new commercial pool are spots for purple grape juice; white grape juice; JuiceMakers, a shelf-stable juice concentrate; and a new Winnie the Pooh jelly-jar drinking glass.
Two-year-old JuiceMakers has been Welch's most distinctive new product in recent years. Others include a white grape/pear blend now being introduced nationally and a juice line being tested in the Southeast under the Bama name, owned by Welch.
"We expect this year close to 40% of our sales will come from new products," Mr.