Adds tag to full lineup: Oscar Mayer dusts off old jingle

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Bologna is not all Oscar Mayer has to sing about. The Kraft Foods division is playing up its famous "Oh I wish..." jingle in an umbrella campaign meant to promote the brand's contemporary lineup of deli meats, bacon and hot dogs to today's families.

"We're committed to rekindling the brand relationship with today's moms and building a relationship with tomorrow's moms," said Nick Meriggioli, Kraft's VP-general manager, Oscar Mayer. Recent research showed that many consumers today weren't even aware of the jingle, Mr. Meriggioli said, "so we wanted to bring it back and contemporize it by focusing on relevant product news." The jingle, the result of a contest conducted by agency J. Walter Thompson, made its debut in 1963.

In a yearlong effort that includes national TV, print, radio and promotions-the first to cut across the whole portfolio-Kraft will spend significantly more than the $25 million TNS Media Intelligence/CMR reported it spent toward Oscar Mayer for the first 11 months of 2003.

According to Prudential Securities analyst John McMillin, the renewal effort (like the one for Kraft sibling brand Planter's peanuts) is well-timed to leverage recent trends. "Oscar Mayer is doing better and Atkins is a big reason why," he said.

In fact, Mr. Merrigioli noted that Kraft's sales momentum, especially in bacon, could be attributed to the low-carb trend. He cited research numbers that showed Oscar Mayer bacon sales growing roughly 7% (ahead of category growth of 5%-6%) and cold-cut sales growing roughly 4% (ahead of a category rise of 2%-3%.)

reason to pay premium

In the second half of last year, Kraft increased support for its deli meats as a result of increased pressure from private-label brands, and Mr. Merrigioli said campaign is in large part to "give people a reason why it's worth paying the premium for our products. "

TV spots, from WPP Group's JWT, New York, will feature the original lyrics for bologna and hot dogs sung in parts by a cast of varying ages, among them a mom and baby and an older man in addition to the usual array of cute kids. TV for Oscar Mayer's new Deli-Shaved cold cuts and Ready-To-Serve Bacon will, like the print ads and radio, riff off of the "Oh I wish..." theme to depict consumers whose wishes came true because of the products.

All the ads, "reinforce the trust message" with the "You can count on Oscar" line, Mr. Merrigioli said.

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