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Beech Nut steps up competition with Gerber

BY Jenna Duncan

FLORIDA, N.Y. Beech-Nut has announced a challenge to competitor baby food maker Gerber: a line of specially-crafted all-natural baby and toddler foods called Let’s Grow! Nineteen new Let’s Grow! products, including a toddler cereal, seven-grain nibbles and whole grain yogurt nibbles, will be debuted with a TV, print and direct mail ad campaign, the company said.

Beech-Nut’s new line will branch out to also include toddler food, company spokespersons said. This addition is part of the company’s strategy to retain parent-consumers past their children’s infancy.

Beech-Nut company officials have said that the product launch will be the biggest in company history. According to a report released by Nielsen Monitor-plus, Beech-Nut spent $4.8 million advertising its baby food line in the United States in 2007. Through June, Beech-Nut has spent $2.3 million on advertising this year, reports said.

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Eagle Snacks plans its own ‘welcome back’ party with contest

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO The new ownership of Eagle Snacks, famous in the 1970s for in-flight honey roasted peanut and pretzel snacks, has announced a return to snack aisles and a sweepstakes featuring a family vacation.

Connecting with the American Eagle Foundation, Eagle Snacks, owned by Reserve Brands snack company, will launch the “The Bald and the Beautiful” sweepstakes where participants are called upon to vote for top bald-headed celebrities and prizes for the sweeps include Eagle Snack products and one family getaway.

Consumers can vote at www.enjoyeagle.com enter by naming a favorite bald celebrity by Nov. 6. Five celebrity finalists will be selected, where one entertainer will be named, after a consumer vote, the official Bald and the Beautiful winner. The top prize includes a trip for one family to Eagle’s Ridge Resort in Tennessee, tickets to Dollywood theme park and other exclusive Eagle gifts.

Chief executive officer of Reserve Brands, Scott Lazar, who acquired the licenses for Eagle Snacks in 2005, has been pitching sales to retailers since 2007. In addition to reintroducing pretzels and honey roasted peanut snacks, Eagle is also launching new items Poppers and Bursts. At press time, around 4,000 stores across the United States have made plans to sell Eagle Snacks.

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Nestle creates irreverent character for Web-based Kit Kat product

BY Jenna Duncan

SYDNEY, Australia Nestle has said that it will launch its Kit Kat Cookies and Cream product with a completely digital online campaign—the first time the brand has ever attempted such a launch.

Working in part with Australian communications group JWT/Sydney and RMG Connect, a digital marketing firm, the brand created a character called Hans Fagerlund, the champion of a fictitious sport called Chunga, which entails stacking Kit Kat Cookies and Cream bars. Spots on YouTube.com and Vimeo.com video sharing services star comedian Jordan Raskopoulos who plays the silly, out-of-shape title character.

In addition to video spots on YouTube and Vimeo, fans can also add a Chunga application to their Facebook accounts where they can play against Hans Fagerland. He also has a profile featured on MySpace. Coming soon, Nestle said it will also launch a Chunga Web site that includes a blog, a Hans Fagerlund character history, free downloads and other interactive programs.

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