Germans launch tube potato chips ahead of P&G's Pringles

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DUESSELDORF -- Procter & Gamble is set to propel its Pringles potato chip into the ranks of a major global brand with its imminent arrival in Germany. Local brands are already repackaging their potato chips in tubes because one of the main selling points of Pringles is that it has fewer crumbs than bagged chips.

Pringles will launch in Germany nationwide this June, according to a trade ad placed in a German food magazine. For the past year, P&G has been test marketing Pringles in Hassloch, Germany, and in nearby Austria. Grey, Duesseldorf, will handle the German launch campaign, which will include television and radio.

Pringles launched in the U.S. in the 1970s and was later introduced in Japan and Australia. Within Europe, Pringles is available in the U.K, Sweden and Ireland. Last year. P&G began making Pringles at a factory in Belgium and the brand is expected to launch soon in Italy and Spain.

Germany's $450m potato snack market is dominated by CPC's Funnyfrisch, which claims a 28% market share, followed by Bahlsen's Chipsletten and Crunch Chips with 24%. Together, the established players spent $15m on advertising in Germany last year, although they are likely to increase their spend with the arrival of Pringles.

Pringles' entry into Austria last year stumbled when Bahlsen's Austrian subsidiary Kelly mounted a legal challenge. During the Austrian launch, P&G described Pringles in its advertising and labeling as a potato chip. Kelly argued that the product is not made from sliced potatoes, but is made from reconstituted potatoes. On December 9 a local court in Vienna ruled in Kelly's favor. Now P&G refers to Pringles as a potato "cookie" and in Germany it uses the word "snack."

During the Austrian launch, advertising for Pringles attacked its bagged rivals in a voice-over saying: "Bag chips have got more crumbs. And they feel more greasy. But Pringles has a taste out of the can, as fresh as never before."

Anticipating the arrival of Pringles in Germany, Bahlsen has launched a version of Chipsletten packaged in a tube, backed by a major advertising campaign. And the potato chip marketer Covent is launching a snack packaged in a tube under the Mr. Crax brand.

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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