NORWALK, Conn. -- James River Corp. is putting more muscle into its Brawny paper towel brand with a program of in-store marketing and a brand face-lift.
The $5.5 billion paper products company, which also makes Dixie and Northern brand products, has plans this year to build on improved results in the fourth quarter of 1993, said Sven Risom, senior brand manager for Brawny.
Among activities Risom outlined for the first half of 1994:
A national introduction of a 100% recycled Big Roll this month, as well as a 100% recycled quilted Northern bath tissue. Both products have been in the first phase of introduction on the West Coast since April.
A Pick Our Pockets campaign next month, which will integrate in-store displays with a national consumer offer delivered by freestanding inserts, the Catalina Check Out Coupon and other in-store tools.
In-store demonstrations during April in support of the 100% recycled products, backed by both FSI and direct-mail couponing.
A planned "major" in-store activity during May-June that will likely include in-store couponing plus informational shelf-talkers.
The total scope of the program, Risom said, will involve "millions of dollars and tens of thousands of stores."
In the past three years, Risom said, James River has engineered a transition toward a consumer focus from its former manufacturing-oriented approach. "As that has happened, clear attention has been paid to product, consumer and communication of benefits," he said.
Due to light marketing support for Brawny prior to mid-1993, he said, "consumers didn't know it had the best technical product in terms of performance. Trial was not there. Consumers didn't know us.
"We asked ourselves three key questions: How to communicate to the consumer, where to communicate to the consumer, and what are the critical aspects in that communication?"
The Brawny team found that in normal shopping behavior, consumers may regularly choose their paper towel purchases from among three to four brands -- what they call loyalty to an "evoked set." Brawny competes against other top brands in this regard -- Scott, Viva and Bounty.
"In-store, if you see a display of an item within your evoked set, then you grab it. In the aisle, you spend about three to four seconds on the purchase decision. How do you break that with the consumer? How do you affect that three to four seconds? That's why everybody wants features, displays for their products."
Last July Brawny introduced a redesigned package bearing the slogan, "Thirst Pockets for Spill Relief," while retaining the Brawny man image. In-store promotion and advertising support for the line during a 12-week period that ended in November "worked very, very well," Risom reported. Activities included an August cross-coupon promotional tie-in with DowBrands' Fantastic cleaner -- buy a 22-ounce bottle, get a Brawny big roll free. In October there was a national FSI drop, supported with in-store activity on the West Coast. During November Brawny ran a national flight with Actmedia Instant Coupon Machines. According to Risom, the second-half promotions helped reverse Brawny's "negative share trend" during the early part of the year. In the eight weeks ended last Oct. 31, Brawny's total U.S. market share grew to 10.5%, an increase of 1.4 percentage points compared with the previous eight weeks.