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Cheetos introduces campaign aimed at adults

BY Tara Smith

DALLAS Frito-Lay is setting its sights on building up Cheetos’ flat sales with a new focus on adults and Hispanics. The initiative includes boosting the brand’s ad spend by more than 50 percent.

Traditionally thought of as a children’s brand, consumer research has shown that more than 60 percent of Cheetos consumers were older than 18 years of age and that 43 percent of all childless households were consuming the brand’s products. In a bid to capture 18- to 49-year-old consumers, the PepsiCo subsidiary will beef up Cheetos’ presense on such networks as TBS, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and other late night programming.

In the new TV campaign breaking January 14, the company reimagines the Chester Cheetah from the kid-focused campaigns as a devil on the shoulder of adults. Additionally, the spots promote OrangeUnderground.com, a showcase for video ads and links to Cheetos-themed videos from YouTube.

The company also is introducing two new limited-time-only flavors, released each quarter, beginning in February. One flavor, Double Cheese, targets the general market while Chili Limon targets Hispanic consumers. The new Hispanic-targeted offering, which plays to a spicier flavor palette, was designed to deepen the brand’s connection with the demographic. Chili Limon will be supported by Spanish-language radio and outdoor advertising campaigns.

The effort comes as sales of Cheetos grew only 2 percent to $405 million last year for the 52-week period ended Dec. 2, 2007, according to Information Resources, Inc.—a noticable contrast to growth for other Frito-Lay brands like Sun Chips (up 29 percent to $189 million).

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Jones Soda names Joth Ricci COO

BY Tara Smith

SEATTLE Jones Soda Co. on Thursday named Joth Ricci as its chief operating officer.

Ricci, 39, will join Jones Soda on Monday. He is currently general manager of Columbia Distributing Company, a beverage distributor based in Portland, Ore.

Peter van Stolk, the founder and chief executive of Jones Soda, recently stepped down. The company did not say why he left, but his departure came after three consecutive quarters of disappointing financial results. Jones also has been hit by several shareholder lawsuits claiming executives and board members pushed up the share price, then sold stock before poor first- and second-quarter earnings reports caused the price to plunge—claims which the company has denied.

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Anheuser-Busch makes push into Latino market

BY Tara Smith

ST. LOUIS Anheuser-Busch’s latest marketing push is geared toward Latinos because of their growing number, expanded buying power and evolving tastes.

By chasing after Spanish-speaking drinkers, big brewers like Anheuser-Busch are benefiting from the Latino culture among non-Hispanic drinkers, as well.

“This [Latino] market is not a niche anymore—it’s a mainstream market,” said Ines Rodriguez-Gutzmer, Atlanta-based senior vice president at Ketchum, an international public relations and marketing agency. “Do you like Shakira? Do you eat tacos? The influence of Hispanic culture is everywhere.”

Anheuser-Busch is planning a 25 percent spending increase this year in Spanish-language advertising. Spending on such national outlets as Telemundo will increase 45 percent. Much of the “air cover” will push Bud Light and Budweiser, the company’s No. 1 and No. 2 beers in the United States. Additionally, the company last year launched an extension to the Bud family to appeal to Latino drinkers. The premixed tomato cocktail, Chelada, is aimed primarily at Mexican-American drinkers, many of whom already were mixing similar cocktails.

Anheuser-Busch expects its broad advertising campaign casting Budweiser as the “Great American Lager” will resonate with Latino aspirers itching to upgrade their beer selections. “Contrary to a lot of people’s thoughts, Budweiser can grow,” said Dave Peacock, vice president of marketing at Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. beer division.

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