Quaker Hopes Flavor Makes The Rice, Corn Cakes

Berry-Brown TV, Print Ads Aim to Entice Consumers’ Taste Buds
NEW YORK–Quaker Oats will launch a television spot next month from Berry-Brown, Dallas, as part of an effort to encourage sampling of its new rice and corn cake varieties.
To win over skeptical consumers about the taste of rice and corn cakes, Quaker Oats is expanding its added toppings in the category with two higher calorie, one gram of fat versions. It is also pushing the new and more appetizing Cinnamon Streusel Rice and Caramel Apple Corn via TV that claims, “You’ll be surprised” how good they taste.
The 30-second spot will feature animation and live action shots of the new bags and ingredients to “tell the flavor story” of the caramel- and cinnamon-chip topped offerings and “illustrate how much better rice cakes are,” said an agency source.
The ad will continue the existing “Taste is the reason” tag, created when Quaker first introduced the 60-calorie rice cakes with caramel, chocolate and peanut butter toppings last spring [Brandweek, March 2]. The added line, “You’ll be surprised,” aims to overcome the skepticism of some of the health-conscious women Quaker targets. Print advertising, also from Berry-Brown, will appear in magazines such as Living Fit and Walking.
To further convince wary consumers of the better taste, Quaker is also giving away 400,000 samples each of the Caramel Apple and Cinnamon Streusel as well as a reformulated White Cheddar Mini Rice Cake in health clubs and Jenny Craig classrooms during January and February.
Despite the indulgent flavors and ramped up advertising for rice and corn cakes, overall sales for the category remain down 10 percent. Quaker, the category leader, has seen sales decline 14.5 percent to $113.4 million from last year. In contrast, Hunt-Wesson’s Orville Redenbacher unit saw sales rise 27.6 percent to $32.3 million, according to Information Resources.
The advertising budget for Quaker’s forthcoming push was undisclosed, but the firm spent $15.3 million on its corn and rice cakes from January 1997 through August 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting.
–Stephanie Thompson