1 Campbell Place
Camden, New Jersey 08103-1799
Telephone: (856) 342-4800
Fax: (856) 342-3878
Web site: www.campbellsoup.com www.pepperidgefarm.com
Pepperidge Farm, Inc.'s Goldfish crackers, introduced in 1962, had by 2004 evolved into a megabrand available in more than 24 individual flavors and varieties, from the original cheddar to peanut-butter-filled sandwich crackers and crispy rounds. At the end of that year Goldfish sales in the United States were $168.5 million, making it the number two snack-cracker brand behind Nabisco's Ritz crackers. But despite its ranking the Goldfish brand was slipping; in 2004 sales of the crackers dipped 8.3 percent from the previous year.
To lift its iconic brand out of the doldrums, Pepperidge Farm, a division of the Campbell Soup Company, looked beyond its agency of record—Young & Rubicam Advertising in New York—for creative help. The company charged BrightHouseLive, a small Atlanta-based agency known for its unique approach to marketing and advertising, with developing a clever new marketing campaign for the Goldfish brand. BrightHouseLive created a television-focused campaign that featured an animated goldfish character named Finn. The campaign, which began in January 2005, also included in-store and online marketing and new packaging for the Goldfish crackers. A budget for the campaign was not announced, but according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, a unit of the United Kingdom-based market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres, in 2003 Pepperidge Farm spent $16.3 million on advertising for its Goldfish brand, a figure that was almost unchanged from its spending in 2002.
The new campaign, as well as its spokescharacter, Finn, seemed to resonate with consumers and helped increase sales of Goldfish crackers by about 5 percent within several months of its launch. Media insiders also praised the campaign, using a variety of adjectives to describe Finn, from lovable and funny to spunky and irreverent. Additionally the Campbell Soup Company credited the campaign and its spokescharacter with boosting Pepperidge Farm's sales in 2005.
According to its website, Pepperidge Farm's humble beginnings in 1937 were in the kitchen of Margaret Rudkin, the mother of three children. To ease the allergies of one of her children, the industrious mom began baking bread for her family that contained none of the preservatives or artificial ingredients found in commercially baked bread. Her efforts in the kitchen soon evolved into a small business named for the family farm in Connecticut: Pepperidge Farm. The first product, whole-wheat bread, gained in popularity with consumers and in the 1940s, as the business grew, the line was
Ogilvy & Mather had served as the Pepperidge Farm ad agency for 40 years. In 1995 it resigned from the Pepperidge Farm and Goldfish crackers account, reportedly because of a business conflict, and agency Saatchi & Saatchi/New York took over the account. When a smiling face was added to the original goldfish in 1997, "Smiley" the Goldfish icon was born. Saatchi & Saatchi created the accompanying tagline, "The snack that smiles back." In 1998, following a consolidation by the brand's parent company, Campbell Soup, Young & Rubicam Advertising in New York won the Goldfish account. The agency introduced a new campaign for Goldfish crackers in 2003 that included the theme song "Jingle for Goldfish." The campaign, which targeted kids 8 to 12 years old, featured two scruffy, longhaired musicians playing acoustic guitars and singing the jingle. Television spots placed the singing duo in a variety of settings, including on a school bus and in a classroom. At the request of Pepperidge Farm, Atlanta-based BrightHouseLive joined the team in 2004. BrightHouseLive created an updated campaign for Goldfish crackers that featured a new animated spokes-character, Finn the goldfish. The campaign was released in January 2005.
Any parent, babysitter, or other person who had ever quieted a fussy toddler with a cup of Goldfish crackers could appreciate the value of the tasty fish-shaped treat. But with the new campaign featuring Finn, a personable animated goldfish, the goal was to help create an even closer bond between the popular Pepperidge Farm brand and the children who enjoyed Goldfish crackers. As an added benefit, the clever spots connected with the adults who purchased the product. The animated Finn also was designed to continue Goldfish crackers' appeal to tweens—kids 8 to 12 years old—and teens who had been given the fish-shaped crackers as toddlers but had perhaps stopped eating them in favor of other snacks. To further reach its target market, Pepperidge Farm introduced a Goldfish website, www.pfgoldfish.com, that enabled older kids to go online and play games featuring Finn. The site also offered a variety of activities that parents or caregivers could play with kids aged three to five years old, such as determining how many goldfish crackers tall the child was. In addition, new packaging (the milk-carton box was replaced with a bag similar to what was used for other products in the line) added to the appeal of the brand for consumers of all ages.
In the snack-cracker wars, flavor, as always, was paramount, but in the early 2000s part of the battle was about the shape of the cracker. Pepperidge Farm's fish-shaped crackers were near the top of the list, with 98 percent of Americans surveyed saying that they recognized and were familiar with Goldfish crackers. Nabisco, which claimed one of the top spots in the snack-cracker market with its Ritz brand, went one step too far in its competition with Pepperidge Farm when it introduced its own fish-shaped crackers in 1998. Nabisco's new crackers were planned as a tie-in to the Nickelodeon television network's program CatDog. The new crackers resulted in a lawsuit, pitting Nabisco against Pepperidge Farm. The latter alleged that Nabisco's new crackers infringed on its Goldfish brand trademark. In 2000 a federal court upheld Pepperidge Farm's claim and ordered Nabisco to discontinue production of its fish-shaped cracker. Later in 2000 Kraft Foods acquired the Nabisco brand for $18.9 billion. While Nabisco's Ritz cracker brand claimed the number one spot in the snack-cracker market at the end of 2004, with $232.6 million in annual U.S. sales, the company was still looking for a niche in the shaped-cracker market. Nabisco introduced dinosaur-shaped puffed crackers under its Ritz brand in 2005. The new Ritz Dinosaur crackers were created in direct response to Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish crackers and targeted the same young consumers and their parents.
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