Snyder’s Lance ad campaign touches nostalgia, whimsy and transparency

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Campbell Snacks pushes favorite regional brands in a nationwide ad campaign, one year since acquiring Snyder's Lance. Pic: Campbell Snacks
Campbell Snacks pushes favorite regional brands in a nationwide ad campaign, one year since acquiring Snyder's Lance. Pic: Campbell Snacks

Related tags Snyder's-Lance Cape cod Kettle chips Campbell Snacks Campbell Advertising Marketing Snacks Natural flavors

Campell Snacks is flexing its muscles with fresh advertising for key brands – Cape Cod, Kettle Chips, Snyder’s of Hanover and Goldfish – a year after acquiring Snyder’s Lance for an estimated $1.6bn.

Both Cape Cod and Kettle Chips focus on their commitment to natural, high-quality ingredients – the qualities their loyal customers continue to trust – while the Synder’s and Goldfish spots focus on the ‘satisfying crunch’ of pretzels and crackers.

A first for Cape Cod

Many retailers outside the Northeast carry Cape Cod Chips, which have been produced in Hyannis, Massachusetts on the Cape since 1980, but the East Coast favorite has never advertised nationally.

Campbell said this campaign aims build awareness of the ‘trusted favorite’ to catch new consumers across the US. Today’s consumers increasingly demand convenience, and potato chips remain an affordable snack for a quick and easy fulfilment.

An unspecified but ‘sizeable’ media budget aims to bolster the brand’s new motto, “When your hand’s in the bag, your head’s in the Cape.”

The chip maker might feel pressured to compete with the droves of other plant-based salty snacks entering the marketplace.

Potato chips comprise about a third of the salty snack market – about $8.8m in 2016, according to the US Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufacturers. Despite the plant-based boom, the potato chip segment has managed to grow in the last six years, Campbell told BakeryandSnacks.

Cape Cod has on its side a longstanding commitment simple ingredients and crispy chips. In 2016, it moved to source only non-GMO potatoes for its original and reduced fat crisps. The lineup now includes waffle cut and wavy chips, as well as flavors like Mediterranean, Jalapeno and Sweet Mesquite Barbeque.

Kettle sticks with the plan

Similar to Cape Cod, Kettle has not strayed from its natural bent since its founder started selling chips from the back of a van in Salem, Oregon, in 1978.

Two new commercials highlight the “no small flavors, no small potatoes” tagline and the company’s dedication to responsible sourcing, environmental stewardship and community engagement.

Campbell said Kettle has not run a creative campaign in over a decade. The advertising push coincides with the launch of Tater Tracker, an online tool that lets consumers discover the origins of the potatoes inside the bag.

Similar to Cape Cod, Kettle has benefited from the natural wave, as consumers seek chips without artificial flavors and non-GMO ingredients​. When they do embrace flavors, they tend to be bold and, in many cases, spicy, such as Kettle’s pepperoncini flavor.

Campbell’s big snack bet

The acquisition of Snyder’s Lance was Campbell’s biggest acquisition ever, and it boosted net sales by 10% to $8.7bn in 2018.

Nearly half of those sales now stem from snack brands, the company said when announcing the deal last March. It also jumpstarted a process of divesture of certain international brands in an effort to capitalize on the faster-growing snacks market.

“The combination of Campbell and Snyder’s-Lance creates a unique, diversified snacking portfolio of differentiated brands and a large variety of better-for-you snacks for consumers,”​ said then-CEO Denise Morrison.

Morrison, once a prominent female leader, abruptly resigned as CEO last May – a position she had held since 2011. Campbell’s stock has dipped steadily since 2017, struggling to rebound in a volatile marketplace for packaged foods companies.

Under interim CEO Keith McLouglin’s leadership, Campbell announced its intent to be ‘a leading snacks and simple meals company.’

Its 2018 annual report noted the competitive nature of the retail food space today and consumers rapidly evolving preferences and snacking habits: “Success in promoting and enhancing brand value depends in large part on our ability to provide high-quality products.”

Craving the crunch

The Snyder’s and Goldfish commercials both feature crunchy versions of the classic in bold flavors – targeted at adults and children, respectively.

Goldfish are the number-one requested kid’s cracker, Campbell told BakeryandSnacks. The new spots are airing on kids’ channels and will appear as a sponsor at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards on March 23.

The new style, called Epic Crunch, launched in January. In the commercial, animated superhero characters with Goldfish for heads meet Epic Crunch Nacho Ranch – otherwise known as “The New Guy.” Each style of Goldfish, from classic to pretzel and flavor-blasted, is represented.

For older demographics, Snyder’s of Hanover offers its pretzel “pieces,” focusing on the sound of the crunch.

In a crowded snack space, Snyder’s still holds a top spot in the pretzel category, Campbell said.

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