Magazine article Marketing

Extraas Puts the Bite on Rivals

Magazine article Marketing

Extraas Puts the Bite on Rivals

Article excerpt

Haagen-Dazs, the brand that almost single-handedly created the UK's super-premium ice-cream sector, is hoping to steal a march on the swelling ranks of copycat products with the launch this week of its first major brand extension.

Backed by the firm's single biggest marketing campaign to date, Haagen-Dazs Extraas - a "unique" type of ice-cream - features extra bite-sized ingredients such as cookie dough and caramel cone clusters. It has, in just eight months, increased the company's US market share by 20%.

The brand is seen by the UK operation as key to maintaining its dominant lead in a market that it has helped double in size since its launch in 1989.

But it is a market that the Grand Met subsidiary now believes is ripe for plunder by the giants of the ice-cream world - firms like Wall's, Mars and Nestle.

The concept of adding "extras" to ice-cream is well established in the US, where it is a common selling point in ice-cream parlours. Extraas was launched there at the beginning of the year and HD claims it now accounts for a third of all HD sales in the US.

The brand has also been introduced in France, again with dramatic results, claims HD.

The UK range is initially limited to three different ingredients - as opposed to six in the US - Caramel Cone Explosion, Cookie Dough Dynamo and Cappuccino Commotion. Each will retail at an RRP of 3.49 [pounds] for a 500ml tub - a 20p premium over the existing HD ice-creams.

The new brand marks a major departure from the existing HD brand in more than just ingredients: its packaging is heavily colour-coded and much more vibrant than current packs.

The "zany" style will be a key factor in attracting a younger group of consumers, says HD marketing director Simon Esberger. He also expects already loyal HD customers to explore the new brand, which will be pitched against traditional frozen desserts as much as ice-creams".

Esberger expects the brand to have the same sort of success in the UK as it has had abroad. He cites pre-launch research which showed an "unprecedented" 90% of consumers rating Extraas "excellent or good".

"I'd be surprised if we didn't end up in a position where Extraas accounted for a quarter of our total sales," he says.

Around 750,000 [pounds] will be pumped into the company's first national radio ad campaign, plus ads in weekend supplements and - for the first time - a heavy press campaign from early October in young style magazines such as Arena, Q, Premiere and The Face. …

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