Red Baron pizza: Darci Eckermann

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It's not easy to fly high in the $2.5 billion frozen pizza business against the likes of Kraft Foods. But Red Baron has.

Schwan's Grocery Products' Red Baron has battled popular brands, including Kraft's duo of DiGiorno and Tombstone, to become the third best-selling frozen pizza. Red Baron sales in supermarkets climbed 6.4% to $208.3 million for the 52 weeks ended July 15, according to Information Resources Inc. At the same time, DiGiorno rose 5.9% to $358.7 million, and Tombstone was up 9.4% to $357.1 million.

Red Baron advertising and promotion from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, focuses on the Red Baron Stearman biplane. "Red Baron taps into the mystique, history and romance of the Red Baron to distinguish it from others in the category," says Darci Eckermann, 36, national brand manager.

Ms. Eckermann came to Schwan's in 1996 from the Karro Group, a consultancy for the hospitality industry, and she says that beyond consumer promotions, Red Baron works with retailers to offer a variety of point-of-purchase programs to entice customers at the store level, where most purchase decisions are made.

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