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18: Dave Johnson, President-North America Commercial, Kraft Foods Altria Group

Published on .

AGENCY ROSTER INCLUDES: Interpublic's Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago and New York. Publicis' Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; MediaVest, New York. WPP's Bravo Group, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and UniWorld Group, all New York; J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago. Lord Group, New York.

POWER PLAY: Kraft has said it plans to boost media spending by $500 million to $600 million this year to build its key trademarks, and as head of marketing and sales, Mr. Johnson is overseeing a strategy to develop "fewer, bigger, better" new products. Among the efforts for efficiency are pushes for new beverage acquisition Veryfine Fruit, and Kraft's marketing partnership with Starbucks and Tazo Tea. Mr. Johnson, 47, also spearheaded a promotional alliance with "South Beach Diet" author Arthur Agatston. Kraft has announced plans to develop a pay-for-performance structure for trade promotion.

DOWNSIDE: Kraft has had to acknowledge its limitations as private-label encroached on its business in such categories as cheese, deli and coffee, where it has responded by lowering prices. Observers say crucial categories like cereal have been ignored.

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