Video: Old El Paso “Stand ‘N Stuff” TV advert
The food maker is targeting growth from the cereal, snacks and meals categories over the next 12 months with campaigns for its Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso and Nature Valley brands. Activity will span the company’s UK, Ireland and Nordics division, one of its fastest growing in Europe, in the hope of forging more sustainable growth channels in the region.
General Mills generates 35 per cent of sales and a significant share of profit outside the US. However, the business admits much of its growth has come from “heavy promotional investment” to drive volumes, which consequently robbed its brands of long-term value in the eyes of consumers.
It expects upcoming initiatives to address the indifference toward its brands. An Old El Paso campaign launches tonight (1 September) to promote its “Stand ‘N Stuff” boat-shaped tortillas and dinner kits as “easier to eat” alternatives to more traditional tortillas. A TV ad stars brand ambassador and Hollywood actor Danny Trejo poking fun at his tough guy persona when a little girl forces him to let her make a tortilla herself.
The food business is also looking to transfer some of the digital initiatives in the US to a European audience, particularly when crafting future strategies for its baking brands Betty Crocker and Jus-Rol. The company created a network of more than 200 sites and social platforms to push its food brands in North America and it refused to rule out fashioning a similar portal in Europe.
Elsewhere, a major charge for Nature Valley is being readied for early 2015. General Mills is also adding new fruit varieties to the core Haagen-Dazs range alongside launching the Haagen-Dazs “Triple Sensations” variants.
Jennifer Jorgensen, marketing director of General Mills UK, Ireland and Nordics, says: “The heavy promotional environment in the UK, Ireland and Nordics has disrupted the business models of a lot of the major FMCG companies.
“It was probably easier to find profitable growth elsewhere in the past but now we’re circling back and realising those are key markets. Not only are they important in terms of volumes but they are also very much influencer markets, we look to consumers in the UK and Nordics for trends in food. We were missing it on both fronts by not really playing to win in these markets.”
The company is making changes internally to accelerate the shift. It is currently reviewing marketing skill sets and organisational capability to help deliver this step change