Cranberry Raisinets Debut

NEW YORK In a nod to Raisinets’ long history as a favorite snack of theatergoers, Nestle infuses the brand’s Cranberry line-extension launch with tongue-in-cheek “high drama” running through a sweepstakes, print ads and an episodic online push.

There’s a Webisode series at chronicling Cranberry’s arrival in town. The original Raisinets, made with raisins, talk trash about the newcomer (“the Raisinet with the juicy walk”), who, as the name suggests, is made with cranberries. “I heard through the grapevine that she hits the chocolate hard,” one of the bitchy Raisinets quips. OgilvyInteractive fashioned the Webisodes. Dailey is the client’s lead creative shop and handled the other elements of the campaign.

The main target audience is on-the-go women seeking healthier snacks. Kristen Mandel, Raisinets’ marketing manager, said Cranberry should satisfy consumers’ needs to get more fruit in their diets while enjoying “a little chocolate indulgence.”

Cranberry Raisinets retail for $3.29 for a 5.5-oz. bag, and a 100-calorie version, for 89 cents, is also available.

Mandel added that cranberries are the “fastest growing” segment within the much-hyped superfruit category.

Indeed, according to a July 2009 Mintel report on “Nuts and Dried Fruit,” cranberries may soon replace raisins as “nature’s candy.” They account for more than $100 million in food, drug and mass-merchandise sales, with a growth surge of 145 percent over the last six years, Mintel said.

Raisins are still the top-selling dried fruit in tracked channels, but sales were flat last year.

“The reason why Raisinets has done so well in theaters is its ease of snacking,” said Tricia Bowles, PR manager for Nestle confectionery and snacks. Nestle’s Cranberry Raisinets have that same ease-of-sharing element, she said, adding that the growth of DVD and movie rentals has only fueled sales as home snackers also indulge.

In addition to the Webisodes, the campaign also includes a print buy in Woman’s Day, beginning with the September issue, which hits newsstands this week. A multi-page execution opens with an ad introducing the new cranberry (“The fun-loving superfruit who’s big on taste”), and interviews with five time-crunched female celebrities who offer women advice on how to manage their busy lives. Actress Sherri Shepherd from The View; Constance Marie, who hails from The George Lopez Show; and Marilu Henner, actress and New York Times best-selling author, are among the featured celebs.

Nestle is also running “The Crandulgence Life-in-Balance” sweepstakes, offering a three-night getaway for two at the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. The promotion runs through Dec. 31.

Daniela Simpson, marketing associate for Raisinets, said the effort also aims to contemporize the brand, as Nestle has not done any significant national advertising for it in more than 12 years. (There was no ad spending on the brand in the past 18 months, per Nielsen.)

In launching the product, the team wanted to play up the fact that raisins are not among the ingredients, and so, in its early stages, the group experimented with names such as “Cranberry-et.” In the end, however, Nestle decided on Cranberry Raisinets because “the idea is to grow the franchise by staying true to meeting the consumers’ demand for balance, with fruits that offer nutritional benefits,” Simpson said.

The key was to play up the differences while reinforcing the connection to the parent brand. Hence, print ads include text such as, “There is a new Raisinet in town, and she’s not even a raisin.”

Nestle, which had $10 billion in U.S. sales in 2008, did not disclose spending.

Cranberry Raisinets are also slated to be featured in an Aug. 31 morning segment of Lifetime TV’s The Balancing Act, a show for active women balancing career, family and lifestyle.