Largest Ad Effort in a Decade Underscores White-Bread Marketing Woes

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Wonder Bread is making its biggest ad push in a decade.

Interstate Bakeries Corp. this week begins an estimated $10 million campaign featuring the national rollout of its new whole-grain offerings, the most significant innovation for the classic white-bread brand this century.

The new campaign marks a historic move for an iconic brand in the white-bread product category.
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Long-bankrupt baker
The brand is just one of a number of flailing franchises at the long-bankrupt baker, whose sales hemorrhaged $9.7 million for the four weeks ended Dec. 10. Innovation and increased media outlays have been cited as the company’s best bets at recovery.

Wonder sales fell 9% to $262 million for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 1 in food, drug and mass outlets excluding supercenters, according to Information Resources Inc. While still the leader in the $6 billion fresh bread category’s largest segment -- white bread -- Wonder and its competitors in the segment have faced declines recently as consumers “get more health-conscious and want to try other alternatives,” said Stan Osman, VP-marketing at IBC.

In July, Wonder launched its 100% Whole Grain White Bread Fans into test markets and this week announced it would expand the product nationally along with a new brand made with lesser amounts of whole grain called Made With Whole Grain White.

TV and print
The new campaign for the two varieties, from Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, includes TV spots that break this week touting to moms the healthier breads’ continued great taste for kids with the tagline, “Give ‘Em What They Love: Wonder.” Print ads, which will break in March issues of magazines such as Meredith Corp.’s Better Homes & Gardens and Time Inc.’s Parenting, promote the fact that “There’s a better way to give your kids what they’d love ...” and introduce the concept of the Wonder brand, now with whole grain nutrition.

While Mr. Osman notes that “Wonder has always been about great taste and nutrition,” with a heritage built on the idea that the brand builds strong bodies, the growth in whole grains demanded that the brand add to its portfolio with a menu of more nutritious offerings.

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