Dean Foods Returns Cremora To TV Via Concussion Spot

Independent Concussion is relaunching Cremora, one of the original non-dairy creamers, with a TV spot and print ads that attempt to create a spark behind the 42-year-old brand, which has high recognition but remains a distant No. 2 in the category.

The last time Cremora appeared in a TV ad was 1997, when it was the property of Eagle Family Foods, said Ted Kranick, senior marketing manager for Dallas-based Dean Specialty Foods, which purchased the brand in December 2003.

In a 30-second spot that breaks in March, a woman pours a cup of coffee and the steam rises out of the cup, goes past a liquid creamer, then wraps itself around the Cremora container. “The idea is that we’re creating a sensory little getaway,” said Allen Wallach, CEO of Concussion, a Fort Worth, Texas, independent. “All the colors suggest creaminess.”

The spot will air in 43 spot markets across the U.S., mostly on the East Coast, where Cremora is strongest, Kranick said.

Dean bought Cremora because it needed a more identifiable brand to represent its non-dairy creamers, a category that the company tops among institutional food suppliers, Kranick said. Along with the brand came the icon Elsie the Cow, which appears on the Cremora packaging. Elsie’s image, originally designed for Borden’s dairy products, remains available to the brand through a licensing agreement with Borden.

But dealing with the iconic cow is a tricky proposition, for a non-dairy creamer, said Wallach. “We want to be careful about that,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to play that up too much.”

Ad spending on Cremora has dwindled from $4 million in 1999 to $75,000 last year, even as ad expenditures by the No. 1 brand, Nestle’s Coffee-Mate, climbed from $18 million in 2003 to $24 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Wallach said spending will remain relatively low, but will top $1 million this year.

Despite the relatively low-key effort and past neglect, Dean’s market research showed that unaided awareness of Cremora was 70 percent; aided, it jumps to 94 percent. Elsie’s recognition was 90 percent, he said.

Coffee creamer sales of all types were $267 million in 2004, with Coffee-Mate, introduced in 1961, holding 51 percent of the dollar-share market with $137 million in sales, according to Information Resources Inc. Cremora is a distant No. 2 with a 5.2 percent market share.

“In the markets Cremora’s strongest in, the share can run into the mid to high teens and low 20s,” Kranick said.

Six-year-old Concussion won an internal review last year among Dean’s roster shops for the Cremora account. Concussion has previously worked on brands including Marie’s Dips. The chance to relaunch a respected, though neglected, brand made for a competitive shootout, Wallach said.

“We were very impressed with their work, even though they had done ads for Dean Foods before,” Kranick said.

The creative director on the Cremora spot was Andrew Yanez, with Khris Kesling as copywriter. Sugar Films in Dallas produced the spot.

Concussion, with 15 employees, claims billings of about $10 million from clients including Winstar Casinos, Dairy Queen co-ops and Bioglan Pharma.