February 28, 2024

Advertising: In a Chicken Cook-Off, Hellmann’s Is Required

In a new marketing push, Hellmann’s is holding a reality show-like contest to promote new chicken recipes that incorporate mayonnaise. The hope is that one of the recipes will become as popular as a longtime favorite of home cooks — Parmesan-crusted chicken. That dish involves only four steps and four ingredients, including Hellmann’s, making it hard to beat for ease and convenience.

But Hellmann’s, the top seller in the more than $1 billion market for mayonnaise, is trying. Its new “Chicken Challenge” campaign features two culinary celebrities who cook new recipes with chicken and mayonnaise each week on the Hellmann’s Web site. After watching the cook-off, which is hosted by the actor and television personality Mark Consuelos, consumers are encouraged to try the recipes at home, then vote for their favorite on the Web site or on the Hellmann’s Facebook page.


“We’re talking about Hellmann’s versatility, and looking, through consumer feedback, to have a better understanding of feeding families,” Brian Orlando, senior marketing director for Hellmann’s in the United States, said about the campaign.

“We’re also trying to break up some of the monotony of every-night dinners,” he added, “and help consumers who are looking for added value and a culinary experience. Hellmann’s is the secret ingredient for chicken that’s juicy, not dry.”

In the chicken challenge, Tim Love, a celebrity chef from Texas, and Sissy Biggers, a former Food Network host, cook their dishes in the same kitchen while bantering about themselves and their families. In one video, Mr. Love whips up barbecue chicken nuggets while Ms. Biggers puts together honey mustard chicken fingers.

“We borrowed from chef reality shows to move beyond recipes on the jar or on the Web site,” said Doug Scott, president of Ogilvy Entertainment, which created the videos. Ogilvy Entertainment is a division of Hellmann’s advertising agency, Ogilvy Mather, a unit of WPP Group.

“Now is an opportune window to get people involved,” he added, “because summer is over, moms are in the kitchen and looking for something different than the routine.”

This is the first time, he said, that Hellmann’s marketing had “used a full-out, 360-degree approach using digital, social media and other components” to get its message to consumers.

Hellmann’s, which posts the new chicken recipes on hellmanns.us each week, is not abandoning its sandwich-making audience, added Mr. Orlando. But it is aiming at awareness of the multiple uses of the mayonnaise already in the refrigerator.

The brand also is building marketing plans for Thanksgiving. The company will switch to recipes with turkey (and mayonnaise) after the first eight weeks of the chicken campaign, to suggest meals beyond the ever popular postholiday turkey sandwich.

In advance of the digital campaign, Hellmann’s, which is a Unilever brand and known as Best Foods in Western states, introduced a television commercial. The 30-second advertisement, with the tagline “Make it Real. Make it Different,” features a mother cheerfully cooking up and serving Parmesan-crusted chicken to two children. The ad, by Ogilvy Mather, is running on daytime and evening network shows.

That commercial and a 15-second version of it are meant to build brand awareness, said Mr. Scott. They do not make reference to the digital campaign. Print ads showing Parmesan-crusted chicken will run in magazines that focus on entertainment, women, shelter and food.

As part of its “Chicken Challenge,” Hellmann’s said some cooking demonstrations will be shown on ABC’s daytime talk show, “The View.” Hellmann’s also is teaming up with influential mom and food bloggers to pass along its message to consumers.

Hellmann’s highlighted the “real” ingredients in its mayonnaise with a Web video series called “In Search of Real Food” on Yahoo four years ago. It later switched to marketing mayonnaise as the indispensable accompaniment for sandwiches. Now, with consumers increasingly budget conscious, Hellmann’s is underscoring mayonnaise’s multiple uses.


Hellmann’s, whose rivals are Kraft’s mayonnaise and Miracle Whip, did not disclose the cost of its current campaign. In the first six months of this year, Kantar Media, part of WPP, said the brand spent $15 million on advertising. That was down from the nearly $22 million it spent in the same time period in 2010, but Mr. Orlando indicated that Hellmann’s would be directing more advertising dollars to the “Chicken Challenge” campaign.

Mindshare, an agency in the GroupM media services unit of WPP, is handling the placement of the cook-off videos online, putting them on YouTube and Facebook, the popular group blog BlogHer, gaming sites like Wild Tangent, and lifestyle sites including Food Network, SheKnows and Allrecipes. Ryan Partnership, of Wilton, Conn., is handling the digital aspects of the campaign, including a mobile version of the Web site.

Aside from the digital aspects, Hellmann’s is also addressing shoppers directly in the grocery store by working with the National Chicken Council to market the campaign on chicken packaging. Every year, the council tallies how many pounds of poultry Americans consume.

Last year, each person ate 85 pounds of chicken, according to the council. Richard Lobb, a spokesman for the group, said that in its most recent survey, in June, consumers said they ate chicken — anything from the ubiquitous nugget to the elegant chicken cordon bleu — in a snack or meal nearly three times a week.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=24e94029f43c58ce10255667b488761f

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