TAMPA, Fla. -- Van de Kamp's has used co-branding with other manufacturers as a way of building market share in a declining category, according to an advertising account executive who works on the Van de Kamp's account.
"In the highly competitive and declining frozen seafood category, Van de Kamp's has been very progressive in marketing to ensure that Van de Kamp's maintains a leadership position. Van de Kamp's objective has been to grow category sales and increase its market share to its target market," said Deborah Aten, an account executive with Louis London, St. Louis.
Aten spoke in late January at a cross-merchandising conference here that was sponsored by the Institute for International Research, New York.
As an example of a successful promotion, Aten cited a joint promotion with Kraft tartar sauce in 1993 and 1994 in which the companies put instant coupons on each other's products. The partners also ran a series of joint freestanding inserts and created in-store signs and freezer case display materials.
"As Van de Kamp's marketing focus changed and it started to focus on the kids' market, it utilized its long-term relationship to help it to target kids. In 1995, Van de Kamp's and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese teamed up for a joint FSI that was very successful," Aten said.
Van de Kamp's has also teamed up with Heinz, marketing free sample packets of Heinz Seafood Cocktail Sauce in its boxes of breaded butterfly shrimp. A 30-cent manufacturer coupon for the sauce was also included in the box. Heinz placed 35-cent neck-dangler coupons for Van de Kamp's seafood products on its bottles of ketchup.
Van de Kamp's also teamed up with the Ore-Ida division of Heinz, offering items such as a free fish-shaped dish with the purchase of products from both manufacturers and the joint FSIs with coupons for both product lines.
Because of the positive results from the joint promotions, Van de Kamp's approached Ore-Ida about developing a new product.
"In 1994, Van de Kamp's approached Ore-Ida to launch Van de Kamp's Fish 'N Fries, featuring Ore-Ida potatoes. There was a desire to expand Van de Kamp's sales and co-branding was an opportunity for them to bring new customers to the brand," Aten said.
For the new product, Ore-Ida had to develop special french fries that would cook up in the same amount of time as the fish sticks, Aten said. Fish 'N Fries is now being test-marketed in the Midwest and Van de Kamp's is contemplating rolling it out nationwide.
The companies sold the program to retailers by mailing them a cardboard box with the message "Please accept this fine vintage as the perfect accompaniment to our newest epicurean delight" written on the cover. When the buyers opened the box, they found a bottle of Heinz ketchup along with a description of the new Fish 'N Fries product.