Newman’s Own Lets Food ‘Speak for Itself’

Newman’s Own is rolling out a new brand positioning — “Let the food speak for itself” — with the national launch of its Thin & Crispy frozen pizza line.

Print and digital ads for the pizza, as well as its packaging, feature the line, which will eventually be used on packages for other Newman’s products such as salad dressing, pasta sauce, salsa and lemonade.

In keeping with the new creative platform, ads include “quotes” from the food and its ingredients. One print effort shows a pizza saying, “My only preservative is your freezer.” A banner ad prompts consumers to “just ask the pizza” about its all-natural ingredients. The crust, when rolled over by one’s cursor, says: “I stretch, I crunch…I have to work hard to be this thin.”

This is the first major marketing initiative launched by the Westport, Conn.-based company since co-founder Paul Newman passed away two years ago.

The playful tone is in keeping with Newman’s tradition of no-frills marketing. “It’s the food talking — but it’s Paul’s voice as well,” said Peter McGuinness, CEO of Gotham, Newman’s lead agency. The tone is meant to convey “charm, confidence and a bit of irreverence,” he said.

The launch of the premium pizza is “one of the key initiatives for us to continue to grow. It brings together the natural ingredients in a much more convenient meal solution,” said Michael Havard, vp, marketing at Newman’s.

Newman’s was launched in 1982 and donates 100 percent of its profits to charity — but that philanthropic bent has never been a focal point in its advertising.

“The food quality needs to be the number one thing we stand for,” said Havard. (Since its launch, the company has raised more than $300 million to support charities.)

Newman’s spent $8 million in measured media in 2009, according to Nielsen. Havard expects a 5-8 percent increase this year.