Nabisco relaunches Honey Maid with spokes-bee effort

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After a six-year hiatus from major advertising support, Nabisco Biscuit Co.'s Honey Maid graham cracker brand returns to the airwaves and print media this spring with a new spokescharacter.

The significant increase in consumer advertising and promotional support for the brand is part of an overall Honey Maid relaunch that includes new packaging and a reformulation of the Cinnamon Honey Maid variety next month.

Nabisco hopes the new Honey Maid Bee spokescharacter will personify the brand as playful, easygoing and comforting to its core target: mothers with 2-to-8-year-old kids.


The marketer similarly relaunched its Teddy Grahams line last February with a new Teddy character and has been working to "leverage under-leveraged brands" across its portfolio, said Brigitte Crowley, brand manager for Honey Maid and Nilla Wafers.

"Honey Maid is a large and important brand to Nabisco and internal research shows there is a tremendous upside [to relaunching it] because it's on trend, appealing to consumers' growing interest in wholesome and natural foods, and responsive to investment," Ms. Crowley said.

Honey Maid sales grew a mere 0.7% to $161 million in 1999, according to Information Resources Inc. The Nabisco brand is the leader in the graham cracker segment with volume share of 49% vs. private label's 33% share and Keebler's 18% share.

A free-standing insert March 5 will introduce the new Bee character along with new packaging for the brand, which features the Bee prominently. Packaging also uses a signature blue color for all six varieties-among them cinnamon, honey and chocolate-with back-panel recipes for after-school snacks.

"We're trying to build a new contemporary look and feel for the brand and leverage the fact that it's made with real honey for a naturally sweet taste," Ms. Crowley said.


In addition, Nabisco will launch an on-package promotion, "Find the Honey Maid Bee," where one grand-prize winner will receive an Eddie Bauer Ford Expedition, 10 winners will receive Huffy bikes for families of four, and 50,000 winners will receive Honey Maid Beanie Bees. The Beanie Bee is also available for purchase-with-purchase on packages and on Nabisco's Web site (

The formulation change on the cinnamon variety to make it sweeter and more flavorful will be promoted through in-store sampling efforts and ads on grocery carts.

The advertising campaign for Honey Maid, from FCB Worldwide, New York, will begin late in the second quarter featuring print executions for women's service magazines and TV spots for broadcast and cable programming reaching out to "gatekeeper moms," Ms. Crowley said.

Although creative is still in development, the ads will feature the new Bee spokescharacter, she said.

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