Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Forge New Ideas in Quick and Easy Dinners

October 13, 2011

Velveeta and its parent company, Kraft, have earned a reputation for introducing products that provide families with convenience and ease in the kitchen. Building on Velveeta’s popular quick and easy meals, the new Velveeta Cheesy Skillets are creating a buzz. The difference between the new introduction and Velveeta’s past dinner products is that moms and dads can whip up a “real” non-microwaved meal for the family in no time. Kraft is targeting busy moms during back to school season, when hectic schedules necessitate quick and easy meals.

In the commercial, a suburban mom is abruptly greeted by a man dressed as a 19th century blacksmith holding an iron skillet and a box of Velveeta Cheesy Skillets as she attempts to leave the house to pick up dinner. The spokesman guides her hands while she prepares the meal in a way that is reminiscent of the famous pottery scene in the movie Ghost, all the while speaking in an olde English accent. Another Commercial portrays a mom attempting to prepare a meal in the microwave as the 19th century blacksmith appears yet again and stops her. He proclaims, “Reject these cold technology contraptions. Would you want the shoes of your horse forged in a microwave? Your Stove: Use it!”

Velveeta promoted Cheesy Skillets via their Facebook page where visitors could take a poll on which of the four flavors is their favorite, while reading up on a product description of each.

Along with television ads, Facebook, and YouTube, Velveeta is also activating one of the most effective tools in promoting a new product: word of mouth. Through promotions that encourage hosting a Velveeta Cheesy Skillets House Party, the brand is hoping to promote trial and create a buzz by asking people to upload their house party photos to the Facebook page.

With the school year in full swing, it will be interesting to see if Velveeta’s new launch and ad campaign are persuasive enough to take market share away from competitors like Hamburger Helper and make it to family dinner tables.


Pepperidge Farm Launches Bread that Smiles Back

October 3, 2011

For more than a decade, children have enjoyed the famous Goldfish crackers from Pepperidge Farm (smiling Goldfish crackers were launched by Schneider Associates many years ago) Now, Pepperidge Farm is leveraging their smiling Goldfish equity by launching Goldfish Sandwich Bread– the bread that smiles back.

The bread comes in three varieties: Soft White, Soft 100% Whole Wheat, and Soft Honey Whole Wheat. All three contain no high fructose corn syrup and boast 3 grams of fiber per serving for only 120 calories. Not to mention, the bread is completely crust-free, ensuring that the pickiest eaters will have no reason to dislike it.

“We are excited to offer kids and the young at heart a fun and healthful new way to enjoy their favorite sandwiches,” Maureen Linder, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fresh and Frozen Bakery at Pepperidge Farm said in a press release from the company.

To celebrate the launch, Pepperidge Farms conducted a national survey to unveil the hidden troubles of making lunches. In “The Shape of Sandwiches” survey, they found that parents often find making lunches difficult and even frustrating. Nine out of 10 moms revealed that their children find their sandwiches more appealing if the bread is cut into fun and creative shapes and sizes, and are more likely to eat them. 50% of mothers participating in the survey revealed that their children have requested triangular sandwiches while 23% revealed that their children have wanted their food in shapes of faces. Pepperidge farm created a product based on a unique consumer insight, fitting into the recent trend of Customer Calibration™ that we have been seeing.

Aside from the survey, Pepperidge Farms also participated in Evo ’11, a three-day social media conference for women in Park City, Utah, to showcase their new bread. They provided lunch for the conference on Friday, July 8th, where the new sandwich bread was a featured product. A photo op included a scenic picnic backdrop and a blow-up replica of the Goldfish mascot, Finn. Participant pictures were all uploaded onto the official Pepperidge Farms Facebook page.

So far, the reviews for Goldfish Sandwich Bread have been positive, which is no surprise considering the brand developed the product based on consumer insights. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? Could be.


Downy Launches New Unstopables: In-Wash Scent Boosters

September 19, 2011

Downy offers up another new home product we’ve got our eye on for the 2011 year.

Downy is giving consumers a boost to the senses with its new Downy Unstopables that deliver a fresh-out-of-the-laundry smell all day. When these scented beads are added to the wash, they dissolve and leave clothes with a long-lasting fresh scent, which Downy claims can last up to twelve weeks (perfect for students). Although Downy Unstopables make your clothes smell fresh, they still must be used with detergent and fabric softener, and so the product represents a new addition to one’s laundry care regimen.

Downy launched the new Unstopables with a commercial targeted toward moms. Comedian and actress Amy Sedaris is featured and provides a quick, quirky tutorial on how to use the new scented beads.  The character played by Sedaris is a retro chic housewife claiming to be a “laundry expert.” Downy also posted the new commercial on their YouTube channel, Facebook page and official website.

Supporting the ad campaign, Downy has been conducting a sampling promotion where consumers can sign up for on the Facebook page and receive one of 2 million free samples.  After signup, consumers are entered into a drawing for a $1,000 gift card toward all Downy products.

It’s undeniable that everyone loves the fresh-out-of-the laundry smell, but at a time when lots of consumers are cutting chemicals and scents out of their lives, it will be interesting to see how the product fares with its intended audience. Will the new Downy entrant be an Unstopable success?


Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cereal Launch Targets Males, Uses QR Codes to Spur Engagement

July 28, 2011

One of the products we’re tracking for MMNPL is a recent 2011 U.S. launch, although it has already established popularity among consumers abroad in Europe.

After years of success in the UK, Kellogg’s rolled out their Crunchy Nut Cereal in the U.S. in late January. Kellogg’s is targeting a young male adult audience by sending the message that cereal isn’t just for breakfast. The campaign slogan, “It’s morning somewhere,” a play off it’s 5:00 somewhere, is an unusual approach for a product category traditionally aimed at either kids or health-conscious adults.

The official launch was hosted at a 24-hour event, centered on a six-story tall cuckoo clock, which aimed to make the Guinness Book of World Records. Every hour of the day-long launch, the gigantic clock would chime, and actor Brad Norman would emerge, offering comedic performances dressed as a character from a location where it was currently morning. Celebrity entertainer Nick Cannon kicked off the event at Hollywood and Highlander Center in Los Angeles, energizing the crowd with a countdown to the first chime.

               Clock   Nickcannon

 Live video streams of the performances were available on the Crunchy Nut Facebook page, keeping fans in the loop. Additionally, there were opportunities to sample the cereal and interact with Brad Norman.

Keeping in mind the rising trend of brand engagement via mobile, Kellogg’s partnered with Augme Technologies, one of the leading services in the interactive media market. Augme launched a program that offered QR codes and SMS keywords printed on the backs of the cereal boxes.  The codes recognize the user’s location and local time, and use this information to direct them to a mobile page offering one of 13 different videos of morning in a foreign location. By scanning at different times of the day, consumers experience different videos, all reinforcing the message, “It’s morning somewhere.”

The QR campaign was targeted specifically to single males between the ages of 18 and 35, who were mostly college students. The goal was to use the QR code to intrigue this market, who are computer literate and enjoy electronic games.

The mobile campaign drove more than 40,000 QR scans and 60,000 texts during its promotional period, resulting in 38,000 videos played and 50,000 page views. It seems surprising that QR scans would outnumber keyword texts, but the effectiveness of QR scans makes sense in realm of cereal promotions – where consumers used to spend time reading the backs of cereal boxes, now they can now use a simple barcode as they leisurely eat their breakfast.

If you would like help planning your next launch, contact us at launch@schneiderpr.com or on Twitter @SchneiderPR.


AXE Uses Social Media to Build Buzz

July 27, 2011

Some of the most memorable new product launches that we’re keeping an eye out for this season include beauty or grooming products, not just for women, but for the male consumer market as well.

With Summer upon us, it’s time for men to chop those shaggy locks for a short-cropped style that will keep them cool, like a military crew-cut, which has been making a pop culture comeback. The problem with a short buzz cut, as identified by Axe, is it exposes the scalp to the sun’s powerful UV rays. Earlier this month, Axe offered a solution for this summertime hair woe with the launch of its new Buzzed-Look Cream with SPF +15. The product is effective for crew cut styles – protecting the scalp from the sun, while keeping hair soft and touchable.

Axe targeted their product launch to those who best represent the classic military-style cut, by partnering with Wounded Warriors – a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded soldiers. Axe donated $50,000 to the organization in conjunction with the launch.

“Over 44,000 of our nation’s armed forces have been physically wounded during the current military conflicts and hundreds of thousands more are estimated to be recovering from the invisible wounds of war,” said Adam Silva, chief development officer of Wounded Warrior Project. “Axe Hair’s contribution will fund programs that nurture the mind, body and spirit and help returning warriors take on their next challenges here at home.”

The Launch event, hosted on June 11th at the Axe Lounge in Southampton, New York, was attended by Reality TV star Lo Bosworth, who helped shave the heads of bushy-haired guys.

One of those guys was NFL quarterback Sam Bradford, 2008 Heisman Trophy winner and number one draft pick of the 2011 season. As a spokesperson for Axe hair products, particularly the Buzzed Look Cream, Bradford had his trademark long, curly hair shaved off by an Axe stylist.

“I’m always changing up my style – my ritual is to grow my hair and to cut it off at the end of each season. This time I’m doing it the right way by working with Axe Hair who’s giving me a new buzz look,” he said.

Axe used Facebook as the central platform for their social media push. A landing page is dedicated to the product, presenting the slogan “Protected scalp for you, feels good for her.” The page includes a video of an Axe street team promoting the product in New York City, offering free buzz cuts and product samples. A Q&A forum features celebrity hairstylist Amy Komorowski answering questions about buzzed hairstyles.

The Buzzed Look Cream is Axe’s first and only product with SPF, but without any print or television ad support to date, it will be interesting to see how well the product fares in the competitive market of summer hair product introductions.


Mentos Leaves the Flavor Choice UP2U

June 14, 2011

In May, Mentos launched UP2U Gum – two different flavors of gum in a single pack, giving consumers the choice of which flavor to chew at any given time. And if two choices aren’t enough, UP2U has released four different assortments of the dual-flavor pack: Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint, Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh, Berry Watermelon/Fresh Mint, and Mandarin Strawberry/Spearmint. Whether it’s a sweet, fruity taste you’re after, or that minty, just-brushed feeling – UP2U lets you act on your impulses.

The concept of a 2-in-1 flavored candy product is not necessarily an original idea – both Nerds and Stride’s Shift Gum have offered their sweet-toothed consumers a variety-pack of flavors in the past. What gives UP2U Gum the innovation advantage is its emphasis on the role of the consumer – a decision-maker, stepping up to make his or her own choice.

Beyond securing television and print advertisements, the Martin Agency kick-started UP2U’s social media campaign with the placement of several billboards in Chicago, urging people to call (800) 304-UCHOOSE. Callers hear an automated voice that directs them through a series of survey questions. A series of simple questions (“What is your favorite color?”) progress to increasingly stranger decisions. Prompts like “Where do you think grandpa is hiding?” and “What would be a good name for a mongoose farm?” engage the caller in making some bizarre choices.

After all the questions have been answered, callers receive this response: “Thank you, friend, for your choices and the hard work you put into choosing all of them. After analyzing your responses, it appears that Mentos UP2U gum is the perfect gum for you. Please buy some and visit us at facebook.com/up2u.”

From there, UP2U keeps the ball rolling on their social media campaign with online promotional deals. For 10 days through June 22nd, UP2U Facebook followers can log onto the product’s fan page, where every day at noon EST, the first 1,000 people to sign in receive a free pack of Mentos UP2U Gum.  This is the first layer of a large-scale social media sampling campaign/contest, which Mentos will gradually build on over the next couple of months.

Keeping in sync with the rising consumer trend of personalization and consumer participation, Mentos UP2U Gum serves up an interesting launch in the ever competitive gum category. It will be interesting to see if UP2U’s social push gives it the teeth to compete with chewing favorites like Trident, Orbit, Stride and Extra.

Have you tried this gum? Let us know which flavor you like best.


Personalize Your Water with MiO and Transform Plain H20 into a Flavorful Beverage

April 13, 2011

Another new product that may be included in the Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey: MiO water-enhancer, by Kraft Foods.

Personalization is a popular trend among consumers, so what could be better than instantly mixing your own drink just the way you like it? Last month, Kraft launched its new caffeine free, artificially sweetened water-enhancer, Mio, in six different flavors.

MiO in Italian means “mine.” In an interview with Packaging Digest, Bridget MacConnell, senior manager, corporate affairs at Kraft Foods, explained “[that’s] what makes MiO so special—it lets me make my drink my way.” MiO senior brand manager Lisa Laibe talked with the Chicago Tribune about the idea of personalization. “Consumers are really looking to have their personal tastes reflect in all things they’re doing and using. It’s particularly important for millennials, which Kraft pegs as those age 18 to 39.”

Found in supermarkets and sold in a convenient, portable pod container, MiO allows you to add a touch of Berry Pomegranate, Strawberry Watermelon, Fruit Punch, Mango Peach, Sweet Tea or Peach Tea to water for a new way to experience your favorite flavor. Each bottle contains about 24 servings at a price of around $3.99.

To launch MiO, Kraft hired a familiar face from YouTube to be the spokesman for the campaign: Brian Gallivan, more commonly known as “Sassy Gay Friend.” Gallivan stars in a number of viral videos encouraging young women to “FTS: Flip it, tip it and sip it.”

Aside from the YouTube promotion, MiO is advertising  on television, online and on Facebook. Free samples were sent out to 100,000 Facebook users in the weeks leading up to the launch as a giveaway promotion. Most of the consumer feedback was positive, and some fans even suggested new and creative ways to use MiO, like mixing it in ice cream, yogurt or soda.

With recent health news surfacing on the dangers of food colorings, MiO faces a challenge in connecting with health conscious consumers. Is MiO a beverage innovation, or a product launch with no real market? One thing is clear, MiO will be an interesting launch to watch in 2011.


Pop Up Good, Clean Fun With Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowl

March 31, 2011

A product launch that we’re watching: Orville Redenbacher’s New Microwave Popcorn Pop Up Bowl. By using innovative marketing strategies and creating a solution to a common snack-time problem, this product is a possible entry for this year’s Most Memorable New Product Launch.

Microwave popcorn lovers everywhere are familiar with the icky buttery hands that result from reaching into the bottom of a microwave popcorn bag. Orville Redenbacher has launched an innovative packaging solution to produce a clean and enjoyable popcorn eating experience: the Pop Up Bowl, now available at Walmart. “This is the biggest thing to happen to popcorn in 25 years,” says Jesse Spungin, general manager at Orville Redenbacher. The new packaging, available in Ultimate Butter, Smart Pop, Movie Theater Butter and Butter, makes sharing a popcorn bag easy without the hassle of rinsing out a bowl when you’re done. So what’s all the buzz about? The bag transforms into a bowl while in the microwave, so the only clean up required is tossing the empty bowl. In a society that relies on convenience and efficiency, a clean, fun and user-friendly package is the perfect improvement to everyone’s favorite snack.

The new packaging was launched towards the beginning of Orville Redenbacher’s Pop & Win Instant Win Game. Specially marked boxes of popcorn contain popcorn bags with heat activated game messages that announce whether or not the bag is a winner. Winning bags contain a code to be entered online to redeem prizes that range from HDTVs and Wii consoles to games and digital cameras to grand prizes like a $10,000 Game Room Bundle or a $10,000 Home Theater Makeover.

Before the Pop Up Bowl launch in February, bloggers and Blissdom 2011 social media conference attendees were sent samples of the product to generate internet buzz. A large portion of the reviewers are moms who shared the popcorn bowl with their families. The FoodYouLove Youtube channel features a video demonstrating the convenience of the Pop Up Bowl as opposed to traditional bags of popcorn. A SmartSource $1 off printable coupon is circulating online, and The Orville Redenbacher Facebook page is also marketing the new product, emphasizing the easy cleanup and share-ability of the packaging. 

So far, reviewers are raving about the Pop Up Bowl. It has already been featured on The View’s blog as one of this year’s hottest food trends. With a no mess, easy to use package and faster preparation time, it’s a wonder this hasn’t been thought of before. The Pop Up Bowl is sure to be a revolutionary product that pushes the snack food industry to reconsider packaging as vital to product differentiation. Environmentalists will approve of the waste saved from using napkins. Clean, convenient, easy to eat – what’s not to love?


Most Memorable New Product Launch Preview: Dove Care + Men

November 3, 2010

Patrick Richardson, Director of Integrated Marketing at Schneider Associates, presents Dove Men + Care. With Dove’s new integrative campaign targeting a male audience, Dove isn’t just for ladies anymore. Will Quarterback Drew Brees bring this campaign to the top? Check back soon to find out!


In a world full of cords, Powermat offers space age freedom

April 13, 2010

Having more than one technology device means living in a world full of chargers and cords. Now, imagine a device that eliminates cord-dependency. That’s exactly what Powermat is – a wireless charging system that p0wers up three devices simultaneously, mess free. The Powermat sets itself apart with its slick design and adaptability to charge a diverse range of devices, like the iPhone, Blackberry and the Nintendo DS, to name a few. The launch story for this revolutionary product, which began in October, 2009, is clearly aimed at early adopters.

In the fall, Powermat launched an integrated marketing campaign incorporating television, radio, internet, out-of-home and social media around the slogan: “Lose the cords”.  Their television and radio commercial campaign named “What the bleep?” used humor to demonstrate the product benefits.  The spots portrayed astounded consumers who were unable to contain their amazement about the new product, by blurting out remarks that had to be “bleeped” by censors. On the internet, Powermat advertised heavily on technology Web sites such as Gizmodo, and even placed out-of-home ads on automatic doors in major airports to reach business travelers.  Lastly, Powermat used social media including Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.  Within these platforms, they showcased their ads and presented contests like “What the Bleep?” (where consumers submitted their ‘what the bleep’ moments for judging) and the Powermat slogan contest (where consumers submitted slogan ideas).

Since the launch in October, Powermat was named to TIME’s Top 20 Tech Buyers Guide 2009. Selling at $99.99, plus $40 per receiver, this product is an expensive commitment to convenience; but nevertheless sold more than 750,000 devices by the beginning of January 2010.  What will Powermat do next? How about furniture that charges? This innovative and unique furniture product should be on sale soon if Powermat meets its projections.  We’re interested to see the wide range of applications for this groundbreaking product – we’re also interested to see how long it takes to gain mass adoption. Could a cordless Star Trek world arrive at light speed?

If you would like help planning your next launch, contact us at launch@schneiderpr.com or on Twitter @SchneiderPR.

Picture courtesy of http://www.powermat.com/us/mats/home-and-office-mat.html#