She’s In Charge

Wall Street’s bad news could be good news for some marketers. “Two businesses I’d like to be in right now? Soup and camping,” says Marian Salzman, CMO of Porter Novelli. The trend analyst and author of Next Now, The Future of Men and Buzz, says the brands best positioned to weather consumer cutbacks are the kitchen staples and the products that connect people with the great outdoors — brands that help give families alternatives to costly vacations and bring simplicity and calm to their increasingly stressful lives.

As consumers react to the overwhelming news of the economic freefall, food marketers have taken the lead in pitching value messages to the all-important moms holding the family purse strings. Both Campbell’s Soup and Kraft are advertising “wallet-friendly” meals of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, respectively. Kool-Aid is promising “More smiles to the gallon” and the milk industry has tapped financial expert Suze Orman to wear the famous milk mustache in an ad that tells consumers, “Even at today’s prices, a glass of milk only costs a quarter.”

As other marketers and agencies consider the strategies that will fuel their upcoming campaigns, they would do well to consider the value proposition. And it’s not just cost-conscious family food fare that could benefit from the approach, say marketing experts, but products that help families get through the tough times if only by offering pleasant distractions in the home.

“Value is going to be a huge theme,” says Andrew Benett, global chief strategy officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide and co-CEO of Euro RSCG New York, whose clients range from financial services company Charles Schwab to packaged-food companies including Kraft and Nestl