Nestle grows budget for sunflower seeds with first national ads

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Nestle USA is showering its David sunflower seeds with media this spring.

Faced with increasing competition in the sunflower seed category from branded marketers such as Frito-Lay as well as from private label marketers, Nestle's David & Sons is launching its first national ad campaign against the David line in April.

The multimillion-dollar print and TV effort, from Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif., is at least a fourfold increase from previous spending against the snack brand, said John Signorino, VP-general manager of David & Sons.


Past efforts consisted mainly of spot TV and cable ads from J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago. JWT lost the account to Dailey in May.

The campaign will run through September and is likely to include men's magazines as well as broadcast and cable sports programming. The effort plays off the quirky usage patterns of sunflower seed eaters -- mostly adult males who tend to eat sunflower seeds as a hobby rather than simply as a snack.

In one execution, the visual features Dizzy Gillespie blowing his trumpet alongside copy (or, in the case of TV, voice-overs) that reads, "Most people admire the talent. Seed eaters envy the cheeks." In another, a squirrel is pictured and copy reads, "Some people see a lowly rodent. Seed eaters see a role model."

The new tagline, which will appear in both 15-second TV spots and print ads, is "Break out of your shell."


The Nestle unit also is beginning to ship new David Sunflower Kernels in Rich Nestle Chocolate. The entry is intended to capitalize on the growth in the sweet and salty segment, which jumped from less than $300 million in 1996 to more than $350 million in 1998, according to sales materials for the product.

Advertising for the line extension -- touted as having "The satisfying taste of rich chocolate, wholesome nutty goodness and the perfect light crunch" -- likely will hit once the line gains full national distribution.

Nestle spent a mere $280,000 against David sunflower seeds in 1998 and only $102,000 on the brand in the first 10 months of 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

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