JWT ‘Thins’ Out Ideas

The lengths to which companies go to give brands a fresh appeal is spoofed in J. Walter Thompson’s new TV campaign for Nabisco’s Wheat Thins.
“We were striving to add a little fun to the brand personality,” said Lynn Marchand, a brand manager at Nabisco.
A 15-second TV spot titled “Shapes,” breaking nationally today, presents implausible ideas to boost the appeal of Wheat Thins. The viewer is introduced to the jiggly wheat thin, feet thins and the origami wheat thin.
At the end of the commercial, the voiceover describes the company’s decision to go with a “new, tastier, crunchier Wheat Thin.”
The wacky shapes stress the “absurdity of doing anything other than improving the taste,” said Bob Merlotti, group creative director at JWT’s Chicago office. Working with a mature, market leader like Nabisco, the agency wanted to do something irreverent, he said.
In initial testing, a few of the unlikely ideas confused some consumers, who said they had tried some of the shapes even though they had never actually been introduced, Marchand said.
“We needed to kind of push things to an edge,” she said.
A 15-second TV spot presenting hypothetical flavor choices, including arugula mango, will be released later this summer. The ads will run through December.
JWT won Nabisco’s $20-30 million cracker account in September 1998. It was formerly handled by McCann-Erickson in New York.