Mayer’s Jazz Man Enlivens Zatarain’s

DALLAS Peter A. Mayer Advertising introduces a silhouetted jazz musician in a television campaign breaking this week who will serve as the new spokesperson for Zatarain’s products.

The figure makes his debut in three 30-second spots that individually promote the Gretna, La., company’s Jambalaya, Dirty and Red Beans Rice.

The New Orleans shop pitched a variation of the new spots to win creative duties on the estimated $8 million account in February, according to agency creative director Josh Mayer. Zatarain’s makes New Orleans-style spices, sauces, rice mixes and seasonings.

According to Mayer, the new campaign is a strategic shift from Zatarain’s previous work.” The authentic flavor of New Orleans food lost its relevancy as the [previous] campaign went nationwide,” he said. “We took some of Zatarain’s heritage and brought it to life with the jazz man as their spokesman. He’s zesty, lively and memorable. He’s the essence of New Orleans.” Interpublic Group’s Mullen in Winston-Salem, N.C, handled previous work.

One spot, “Music Lesson,” opens with a mother preparing dinner as her teenage son practices his saxophone at the table. As the son hits a flat note, the spokesman picks up a spoon of mashed potatoes and says, “This dinner is looking a little flat. Why don’t we jazz it up with Zatarain’s Jambalaya Rice. Tender, long grain rice in a secret blend of New Orleans seasonings. Just add sausage, chicken or shrimp and you’ve got a flavor that’s as bold as a New Orleans brass band.”

The spot ends with Zatarain’s logo and the previous tag, “Jazz it up with Zatarain’s.”

“Firehouse” and “Grocery/Kitchen” use similar situations to promote Zatarain’s rice products. In “Firehouse,” the spokesman rings the “bland” bell to promote Zatarain’s Dirty Rice. In “Grocery/Kitchen,” the spokesman calls for a “flavor check at register 2” to promote Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice.

The three spots will run throughout 2003 and into next year on national network and cable stations, Mayer said. Other media components of the campaign include freestanding inserts and local outdoor and radio elements.

Campaign spending is undisclosed. Rubin Postaer and Associates of Santa Monica, Calif., is handling media.