As General Foods Loses Name in Coffee, a Look Back in Time
CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Can you imagine a food marketer today buying 90 minutes of airtime on every major network for a variety show featuring a heavy dose of advertising? That's what General Foods did back in 1954, when the company was a grocery powerhouse with brands such as Birds Eye, Sanka, Jell-O and Maxwell House in its stable.
|Here's a Look Back|
Of course, this onetime major player, whose roots date back to the late 1800s, was subsumed by merger partner Kraft years ago. But the last vestige of its name hung on until a quiet decision late last year to remove the "General Foods" moniker from its line of specialty instant coffees, now called Maxwell House International.
"We wanted to move to a stronger brand that meant more to our consumers," Paula Kaufman, Kraft's brand manager for soluble coffee, told Ad Age in a recent interview. General Foods "had less meaning to our consumers," she added, noting that brand awareness for the name is about 40%, compared with 95% for Maxwell House.
That's quite a fall for a name which as a standalone company in 1979 was the nation's No. 2 advertiser. Of course, the descent began later when General Foods was acquired by Philip Morris in 1985. Kraft, a one-time subsidiary of the tobacco maker, dropped the name General Foods from its corporate title a decade later, but kept the name on the coffee line -- until now.