DDB Scripts Sticky Scenarios for PAM

NEW YORK ConAgra Foods has launched a new campaign for PAM, which takes a humorous approach to promote the cooking spray as a key ingredient for making perfectly cooked food.

One spot, airing this month, shows a mother baking cupcakes for a group of youngsters at a birthday party. At one point, all of the treats are stuck to the pan. In another spot, a newlywed cooking brunch for her in-laws neglects to use the cooking spray and her salmon fillet instead goes flying out the window when she tries to force it out of the skillet. Both spots, via the San Francisco office of DDB, come to a similar conclusion: The women realize they’re daydreaming and their food comes out perfectly because they used the product.

The campaign follows a drop in PAM’s second-quarter sales, as reported by the company last month. During the earnings call, ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin acknowledged that in categories such as cooking spray, private label is the primary competitor. However, with PAM, “We’ve got very good margins and we know the right balance between value and merchandising price points,” Rodkin said.

ConAgra has embarked on a mission to reenergize its brands, many of which lost shares to private label, as Rodkin pointed out. In July 2008, the company hired advertising veteran Dave Linne, who formerly worked on the Kellogg account at Leo Burnett, to help lead the effort.

Michael Locascio, vp and general manager at ConAgra, said the new campaign is meant to inspire confidence in consumers. “PAM will help them get meals to turn out the way they want them to,” he said in a statement.

The TV spots have been running on channels such as The Food Network, American Movie Channel and Home & Garden Television. Print ads appear in the April and May issues of major women’s lifestyle magazines. The tagline: “PAM helps you pull it off.”

Daniel Howard, a marketing professor at Southern Methodist University’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business, said the new campaign is likely to drive sales. “It centers on the primary benefit that most users look for in the brand,” which is to avoid sticky cooking situations, Howard said.

ConAgra spent $25 million in 2008 on ads in traditional media for PAM, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.