Heart-Tugging Ad Chronicles New Orleans Katrina Damage

By Published on .

CINCINNATI ( -- Procter & Gamble Co.’s Folgers last week launched a 30-second TV ad to explain widespread shortages of products caused by Hurricane Katrina, which severely damaged its primary production facility in New Orleans.

Folgers has had to switch back to using metal cans but is shipping them as Hurricane Katrina collectibles from its New Orleans plant that is 50% operational.
The documentary-style ad by Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, features music by New Orleans rocker Allan Toussaint and narration by Folgers Plant Manager Emory Zimmer thanking consumers for their support and soliciting donations for the American Red Cross.

It also explains that Folgers may temporarily be in short supply or in different packaging as P&G gets operations back on line. As of Oct 6, the New Orleans operations, which resumed Sept. 19, were running at about 50% capacity, a P&G spokeswoman said.

Gone from shelves
By last week, Folgers had largely disappeared from shelves at many stores, particularly at Wal-Mart Stores, which operates with far less inventory than other less-efficient retailers.

P&G is working to restore full capacity and does not plan to shift production to outside processors, the spokeswoman said, though she was uncertain when P&G can resume full production.

“We have been in New Orleans 50 years and are strongly committed to staying here,” said Max Rangel, Folgers marketing director, in a statement.

P&G is temporarily returning to metal cans from the screw-top plastic AromaSeal containers that helped give Folgers the lead over rival Kraft Foods’ Maxwell House prior to Katrina. The AromaSeal canisters are made only at the New Orleans operation, which accounted for more than 60% of the brand’s production prior to the Aug. 29 hurricane. By November, Folgers will ship special-edition Hurricane Katrina metal cans.

550 employees
P&G had about 550 employees at the plant prior to the hurricane. About 150 P&G workers and contractors currently are in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency near the plant. P&G was in talks with FEMA on Oct. 6 over the agency’s surprise announcement last week that it plans to remove trailers provided to P&G and other New Orleans employers.

Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group, New York, handles media buying and Aegis Group’s Carat, New York, handles communications planning for Folgers.

Most Popular
In this article: