North Castle Sees Growth in Teens

Cheez Mania Win, Slim Jim Ads Take Conn. Shop in New Direction
BOSTON–Fresh from winning Nabisco’s Cheez Mania account, executives at North Castle Partners last week said the shop is repositioning itself as a teen marketing force.
The Stamford, Conn., agency beat out fellow roster shop Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, to land the $4 million assignment, which includes media chores as well as repositioning Cheez Balls and Curls as “Cheez Mania” in an attempt to take on the category leader, Frito-Lay’s Cheetos brand. Nabisco representatives could not be reached for comment.
North Castle also handles Nabisco’s Corn Nuts and Bubble Yum brands. Those assignments, plus ongoing work for Slim Jim, have pointed the shop in a new direction–one specializing in capturing the elusive teen market.
“We’re going back to basics, looking at what we’re good at and where our strengths lie,” said agency president Cliff McFeely. While North Castle will not limit its new business prospects to only those targeting teens, the youth market will become an agency calling card, he said. “It’s a great way to reach out to the world as a core strength.”
Grant MacDonald, North Castle’s executive vice president and partner, led the Cheez Mania pitch. Copywriter Steve Mark and art director Steve Garbett will handle creative chores, working under creative director John Iafelice.
Mark and Garbett are responsible for the agency’s latest work for Slim Jim, manufactured by Raleigh, N.C.-based GoodMark Foods. Two 45-second TV spots–“Eat Your Veggies” and “Slime and Punishment”–are now running on MTV, ESPN2, Comedy Central and the WB Network.
Each commercial features the brand’s obnoxious new character, Slim Jim Man, harassing other food in a teenager’s stomach.
“The brand stands for teen excitement in times of boredom,” McFeely said, adding that the spots target primarily 13-17-year-old males. “There is definitely a rebellious personality attached to Slim Jim.”
The budget was not disclosed, but GoodMark Foods spent nearly $5 million on advertising last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.