Clif Bar Puts Energy Into Radio

With Biggest Buy Yet, Company Aims to Expand Customer Base
SAN FRANCISCO–The new generation of dedicated hikers and bikers raised on healthy fast food has always snacked on Clif Bars. Now the company is looking to expand its brand to the recreational athlete and part-time outdoorsman.
The tag for the campaign–the client’s largest radio buy to date –is “Hang on to your Clif Bar.”
The company has long advertised its energy bars in men’s magazines and sports publications. But it is now trying to expand its consumer base to casual athletes and people who need an energy boost.
“We didn’t just want to appeal to hard-core athletes,” said Paul McKenzie, director of creative services for the Berkeley, Calif.-based company. “Our approach was to attack it from a humor angle and play on the fact that people are very committed to our product.”
The radio spots, produced by Bert Berdis & Co., Hollywood, Calif., will air in three-week slots twice during the summer. The first rotation ended recently.
In a 30-second spot titled “Triathlete,” a man enters a triathlon wearing a 50-pound backpack. He won’t take it off because it contains his Clif Bars. Later, he admits he can’t swim and sinks. The other athletes refuse to save him, but they all volunteer to retrieve the bag of Clif Bars.
In another spot, titled “Skydive,” a man asks a female skydiver to pull her ripcord after they jump from a plane. She refuses because she is holding a Clif Bar.
McKenzie said the ads are meant to appeal to people who enjoy relaxing in the outdoors.
“They have more of a fun approach as opposed to people just winning a race or climbing a difficult peak,” he said.
In most markets, the ads are followed by 30-second tie-ins in which local merchants plug their businesses and talk about where customers can find Clif Bars in their stores.
In mid-1998, Clif Bar split with Hal Riney & Partners (now Publicis & Hal Riney) and took its account, worth $3-5 million, in-house.