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Gardenburger Readies 2nd Year

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Rubin Postaer and Associates' new Chicago office is still working on fresh creative for its main client, Gardenburger, even as the company announced a second year of heavy spending.
The Portland, Ore.-based meatless patty maker is kicking off the second year of its ambitious advertising effort with TV spots produced by former agency Publicis & Hal Riney in Chicago.
"We'll be adding spots through the year," said Bill Marks, who brought the Gardenburger account with him when he left Riney late last year to open the Chicago office of RPA.
William Mericle and Paul Janas, the creative team on the account, also joined RPA from Riney, and are working on new ads that continue the animated work employing the tagline, "Eating good just got great."
Gardenburger spent about $17 million on last year's effort, which included a successful 30-second, $1.5 million spot during the last episode of Seinfeld. The company expects to spend a similar amount this year.
Media this year will be more heavily weighted to prime time, Marks said, with slots to be purchased on highly rated programs including NYPD Blue and Touched by an Angel.
The company is still targeting women aged 25-54, but even with the dramatic growth in the category last year, the goal of the advertising remains to get people to try the product.
"We're taking mainstream what had been a niche product," Marks said. "We're still in the trial phase. ... We had pretty significant awareness gains, but you have to keep after people."
The entire meat alternative category was boosted by Gardenburger's '98 ad effort, a fact acknowledged by the company's competitors, which include Morningstar Farms and Boca Burger. Gardenburger credits its ads with pushing it past competitors.