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Sawtooth Plays Montana for Grill Mates

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NEW YORK With barbecue season approaching, another spice company, McCormick, is readying a fresh push to support its line of sauces, marinades and seasonings.

McCormick's $11 million effort behind its Grill Mates line, which will reprise brand spokesman and former pro football star Joe Montana, is set for May, a month after Mrs. Dash breaks a $12 million campaign for its 10-Minute Marinades [Brandweek, March 14].

Montana will pick up where he left off last summer in a TV and print pitch, via Sawtooth, Woodbridge, N.J., that had him showing off his BBQ prowess to friends and National Football League buddies.

"Joe has a huge passion for grilling," said McCormick representative Laurie Harrsen. "He has a big fancy grill and all. He's a legend that our brand wants to be associated with."

Grill Mates will leverage one of the hottest trends in grilling—spice rubs—with the introduction of a new five-SKU dry and wet spice rub line in flavors like spicy hickory and mesquite. Marinades will be extended with four new garlic and wine-infused flavors.

Montana will be variously featured with his wife to ensure the pitch reaches the right target. "Men are the grillers in the family, but women make the purchasing decisions," said Harrsen.

McCormick's longstanding tag, "The taste you trust," will build on last year's theme of football imagery with themes like: "Grill like a seasoned pro with Joe Montana and McCormick" (TV) and "The difference between a flavor that fumbles and a steak that scores" (print). Print runs in women's and general interest titles.

In addition, a "Legend of the Grill" in-store summer contest will award trips to a grilling camp with Montana for those who successfully write in explaining why they should be a legend of the grill.