Kraft bets on Jell-O to make a comeback
The struggling food giant hopes to jiggle more sales from its iconic brand.
The snacks and beverage giant, which recently reported disappointing earnings, this week launched a new advertising campaign for Jell-O called "Fun Things Up," according to Advertising Age.
One spot in the campaign features a father telling his young son how Jell-O can alleviate the injustices of the adult world, such as losing your hair and having a jerk for a boss. "The chocolatey taste of Jell-O pudding makes up for all of that," the ad notes.
A former Kraft executive, Rick Shea, told Ad Age that Jell-O has "lost relevancy" with consumers, particularly as overall dessert consumption has fallen. Jell-O products have not made the transition to snacking, either.
According to Symphony/IRI data cited by Advertising Age, sales of Kraft's gelatin dessert mix fell 0.45% to $154 million in the year ending July 14. Sales of refrigerated pudding mousse and gelatin fared even worse, plunging 19% to $337 million.
Kraft, which spun off its snacks business into a separate company, Mondelez (MDLZ), earlier this year, is focused on what CEO Tony Vernon has called "turbocharging our iconic brands" including Jell-O, Planters nuts and Kool-Aid. The company has taken longer to develop its Jell-O campaigns than other brands because "it takes time to create great advertising," Vernon said in an earnings call.
Vernon is using money saved from cost cuts in other parts of the company to raise spending on marketing for Jell-O and other brands such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The company, though, is struggling. During a recent earnings conference call, Vernon mentioned its "slower-than-expected second quarter."
Whether "Fun Things Up" will make consumers forget about the classic commercials Bill Cosby made for the product remains to be seen. Kraft also is dealing with changing eating habits and is trying to convince consumers that Jell-O makes a good snack. That may be easier said than done.
For one thing, the percentage of dinners that include dessert has fallen to 13.8%, the lowest number in 25 years, NPD Group analyst Harry Balzer told the trade publication. Plus, the choices available for snackers are endless.
--Jonathan Berr thinks that Jell-O with fruit in it is the best. He doesn't own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
We could all use a little more Bill Cosby right about now.
ARTIFICIAL COLOR, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR!!!!!!DON'T YOU REALIZE YOU ARE EATING POISON? WAKE UP AND START REALIZING WHAT JUNK IS BEING ON YOUR GROCERY SHELVES.
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