February 25, 2024

Advertising: SnackWell’s Nudges Up the Portion Pack

In 1995, sales reached about $490 million, and the brand topped both the cookie and cracker categories — but then SnackWell’s got an object lesson in how the cookie crumbles. Competing brands, which had dabbled mostly in sugar-free products to attract dieters, introduced their own successful fat-reduced temptations, and SnackWell’s sales plummeted.

Revenue for SnackWell’s was $32.3 million in the 52 weeks that ended March 20, a drop of 8.6 percent from the previous year, according to SymphonyIRI Group, whose totals do not include Wal-Mart. Advertising for the brand, which totaled an estimated $60 million in 1998, ceased after 2005 as parent company Kraft aggressively marketed its 2004 introduction of another craze for dieters: the 100-calorie pack.

Now, in what Kraft marketers are calling a reintroduction of SnackWell’s, the brand has new products, and a new advertising campaign aimed at weight-conscious women.

The first print ad in the campaign features a closely cropped photograph of a pair of stiletto-heeled black leather boots with the new slogan for the brand, “Be bad. Snack well.” The ad, by McGarryBowen, New York, a unit of Dentsu, introduces Fudge Drizzled Caramel Popcorn, and a new approach for the brand: portion control.


“Deliciously indulgent, perfectly portioned,” says the new ad, which is scheduled to begin appearing Friday in magazines, including People, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. “At 130 calories, they let you be bad, and still be good.”

SnackWell’s will continue to sell in two older varieties, Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes and Crème Sandwich Cookies, in standard packaging. But in a new twist on premeasured portions, the brand is nibbling past the common 100-calorie limit. Another popcorn snack with white chocolate is also packaged in 130-calorie portions and two other varieties, Fudge Crème Brownie Bites and Rich Vanilla Crème Brownie Bites, contain 150 calories in a portion.

“There is a group of women out there who struggle with temptation and want responsible alternatives that allow them to really enjoy sweets, but with an off switch because they have a difficult time stopping,” said Steve Siegal, a senior brand manager for SnackWell’s, who added that sometimes the cutoff should exceed 100 calories.

“When it comes to portion control, consumers really want satiating products, and at the end of the day they don’t want to feel deprived,” Mr. Siegal said. “They will have a few more calories if it satisfies their sweet craving.”

Women are far more interested in snacks and drinks sold in portion-controlled packages, with 19 percent of women saying they buy such products, compared with 8 percent of men, according Mintel, a market research firm. But prepackaged portions are often too small, in the opinion of 25 percent of men and 20 percent of women.

Brian Wansink, who wrote “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” said in a telephone interview that in his research, when experiment subjects were presented with 100-calorie packs, about 70 percent were satisfied with just one, while the remainder helped themselves to seconds or thirds.

In another experiment by Dr. Wansink, who directs the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, participants who had eaten at around noon were gathered for snacks of either chocolate or cheese and crackers between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. With no inkling that their intake was being monitored, “most people stopped between the 170- to 190-calorie mark,” said Dr. Wansink. Applying that to SnackWell’s 130- to 150-calorie portions, “that might present a happy medium” because it is midway between 100 calories and what seems to be a natural point of satiation, he said.


But SnackWell’s two popcorn snacks that combine sweet and salty flavors could undermine “sensory-specific satiety,” the term for the feeling of having had enough of a certain flavor, he said.

“Sensory-specific satiety causes you to get bored if you just eat potato chips, but if you take a break from potato chips and then eat chocolate, you want more potato chips again,” said Dr. Wansink.

Sweet-and-salty snacks “are very tasty, but I could see this combination of flavors triggering a gigantic craving for more than just 130 calories of it,” he said.

Four varieties that had been sold under the Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs label — Petites Fudge, Petites Mint Fudge, Fudge Drizzled Chocolate Chip Cookies and Fudge Drizzled Double Chocolate Chip Cookies — will now instead be sold under the SnackWell’s label (still in 100-calorie portions.) All of the new SnackWell’s products have a suggested retail price of $3.19 for a box of five servings.

The brand declined to reveal what it will spend on the new campaign, except that it’s “a significant investment in the millions of dollars,” Mr. Siegal said.

As for why Kraft elected to introduce the products and approach under a brand it had not advertised in five years, rather than a new one, Mr. Siegel said that 85 percent of consumers still report being familiar with SnackWell’s.

“A lot of snacking companies would die to have 85 percent brand recognition for a brand that has stood for better-for-you indulgent snacking,” Mr. Siegal said. “It’s been a long time since the brand was out there in a big way, but this really is all about a new attitude and edge for the brand.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=fe12914d5ce7d4f0f75c323aabeb90c4

Speak Your Mind