Campaign aiming Reddi-wip at fruit boosts sales for ConAgra

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Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 12:00 am

When do you buy Reddi-wip? Probably at Thanksgiving, and maybe again at Christmas, as a topping for holiday pies.

But what about the rest of the year? Sales of ConAgra Foods' aerosol whipped cream typically fall to about a fifth of their Thanksgiving-time peak for most of the year outside Christmas and Easter.

The Omaha food manufacturer wanted to change that trend and convince more people to buy Reddi-wip year-round. They did it by looking for other foods besides pie that people could pair with whipped cream.

Working with its advertising and research agencies, ConAgra found that 99.7 percent of the time people eat fruit, they don't use whipped topping, according to NPD Group data. In consumer testing, users said that when they tried Reddi-wip on fruit, it became more “exciting” -- a “real dessert,” a case study shows. The 15 calories per serving helped consumers not feel “guilty” about doctoring up their fruit.

ConAgra ran a $4.2 million campaign ran from March through September 2013, using television and digital advertising and a cross-promotion partnership with Naturipe berries.

ConAgra said sales of Reddi-wip were higher every month in 2013 than in the comparable month from 2012. The difference was as big as 18.6 percent higher in September, and as a whole the campaign exceeded its goal of boosting sales 3.1 percent.

As a result, Reddi-wip became one of a handful of major brands that has had consistent sales growth for ConAgra in the past year. Others have seen sales declines, and ConAgra executives said they are retooling their marketing strategies on those.

The Reddi-wip campaign's success earned ConAgra a top advertising industry award, the Grand Ogilvy , last month for “the creative use of research.”

There was no research mentioned about the number of people who eat whipped cream directly out of the can while standing in front of the fridge, but surely my family isn't alone on this. Maybe they could work that into next year's campaign.

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