CHICAGO -- Attempting to promote beef as a primary home-meal replacement concept, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association here will launch a $20 million ad campaign this week, centered around heat-and-serve beef dinners.
The beef dinners will be promoted as a meal solution that can be heated in a microwave and ready to eat in 10 minutes. In fact, the promotion will carry the theme, "In the Next 10 Minutes."
According to Mary Adolf, vice president of consumer marketing for the NCBA, the ad campaign is intended to build consumer awareness around branded, microwavable beef dinners presently being carried by a number of supermarket chains.
She said chains already carrying the product include Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif.; Fred Meyer, Portland, Ore.; Dominick's Finer Foods, Northlake, Ill.; Jewel Food Stores, Melrose Park, Ill.; Kroger, Cincinnati; Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla.; and Winn-Dixie Stores, Jacksonville, Fla.
"We're really being a catalyst to create awareness of this new product category, and giving the opportunity to the manufacturers and retailers to take advantage of this national advertising campaign at the store level," said Adolf.
Examples of the prepared beef products include pot roasts, seasoned tri-tip roasts, premarinated roasts, beef stews and corned beef and cabbage with potato dinners. One processor also carries a number of ready-to-eat meals featuring only certified Angus beef including prime rib au jus, sirloin tri-tip roasts, meat loaf with gravy and Bourbon Street top sirloin steaks.
Products that have been tested by the NCBA's culinary staff receive the association's "symbol of commitment," on the package said Adolf. The symbol features a big red check mark with the word "beef" written through it. The designation verifies that the cooking instructions are accurate.
The NCBA will also provide camera-ready art that can be used by retailers for overhead signs and other custom signing options, said Adolf. She said that case dividers will be provided as well, in addition to point-of-purchase material, and sampling and couponing programs administered by the manufacturers themselves.
Adolf said that the NCBA is currently preparing a beef-product directory, for release later this month, that lists the products available in this category and cross references them with the appropriate manufacturer.
Under the new ad campaign, developed in conjunction with advertising giant Leo Burnett USA, national radio and TV spots feature voice-overs by actor Sam Elliot reviving the "Beef. It's What's .....(FOR?)....Dinner," advertising tag. A number of print ads will run simultaneously with the broadcast effort.
Adolf said that because of budget constraints, the national ad campaign will end on Feb. 7 and run again from April 5 to April 25.
According NCBA data, 55% of consumers say they plan to buy a prepared meal from a supermarket in the next six months.