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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

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Chips Ahoy screen grab.jpgChips Ahoy! will debut a new TV advertising campaign during the Super Bowl pre-game telecast on Sunday. The new campaign with the tagline "Crammed With Joy" marks the first work on the brand from McGarryBowen/Chicago, which was assigned the account in mid-2010. The "Cookie Guy" characters, which had been a centerpiece of the brand's advertising in recent years, are being retired. In their place, MB is introducing TV spots that demonstrate how Chips Ahoy! help bring joy to life.

The first spot debuting Sunday shows a friendly football game in which a bag of Chips Ahoy! replaces the football. The commercial, which has an unusual 3-D effect, is comprised of a series of freeze-frame moments that the camera pans across to build a sense of anticipation and drama. Live action kicks in only at the end of the spot. Like many Kraft Foods brands in recent months, Chips Ahoy! is seeking to contemporize its image -- a move that has helped to refresh several other familiar Kraft brands over the past couple of years.

KF-CorpID-FINAL.jpgWhen we got our first look at Kraft Foods new corporate brand identity Tuesday, our first thought was "why?"

Then it struck us that the new identity seems inspired by the recently re-imagined smiley Pepsi logo, as well as those flowery whatcha-ma-hoozies that we can only describe as decorative Swedish kitsch. But after talking to a Kraft spokeswoman about the new identity, we quickly realized Kraft and one of its roster ad agencies Nicor/London actually spent a lot of time and money talking to thousands of Kraft employees all over the world before someone sat down and painstakingly designed this new visual that is being introduced along with a new corporate theme line "Make Today Delicious."

So far, Kraft says it doesn't plan to smack the new logo or theme line on packaging for any of its myriad products or put it in advertising, but the company will use it on the corporate Web site and for internal purposes. Apparently, Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld believes this new identity will help every one of the tens of thousands of Kraft employees focus more intently on doing a better job of turning around the packaged foods behemoth -- a process that is now entering year three of what was intended as three-year effort.

We have no problem with rethinking corporate identities, but it seems a strange thing to be focusing so much effort on at a time when so much other work needs to be done at companies like Pepsi and, yes, Kraft. And, more important, we wonder whether such a brand image redo is really going to help employee morale all that much. Kraft employees are paid good money to do their jobs. Things such as this new corporate identity aren't essential to getting any of their respective jobs done well.

This new Kraft logo may in fact provide a moment's distraction as everyone at the company thinks for a few seconds about how they are going to make their day as delicious as Rosenfeld wants it to be. But at the end of the day, we just hope everyone Rosenfeld has hired has done more of what Kraft really needs to do to be a competitive packaged foods company once again.

X00093_7.JPGDana Anderson has bounced back. After being pushed out as CEO of DDB/Chicago some 18 months ago, Anderson is back at packaged goods giant Kraft. Anderson has been named Kraft's senior vice-president of marketing, responsible for strategy and communication. It appears she will work closely with Kraft's roster of ad agencies and help them sharpen their various ad strategies. Anderson reports to Kraft Chief Marketing Officer Mary Beth West.

Since Irene Rosenfeld's ascension to the top CEO post at Kraft, there has been considerable flux within the company's marketing department -- a result, it seems, of Rosenfeld's constantly-evolving efforts to turn around a company that had been seen as a laggard in the food business for far too long.

For pretty much the entirety of Anderson's career, which spans stints at JWT/Chicago and the former Foote, Cone & Belding/Chicago before DDB, Anderson worked closely with Kraft and a number of its brands But it is Miracle Whip, perhaps more than any other Kraft brand, that Anderson knows best. She even managed to lure the account to DDB/Chicago during her troubled tenure there. But the work DDB produced was lacking in creative smarts, and Kraft quickly moved the business out of the agency.

Unlike DDB, where observers say Anderson never found her groove because she never fully understood that agency's culture, Kraft is a culture Anderson knows very well. She had been doing consulting work for Kraft since her ouster from DDB in 2007. It's unclear, at this juncture, what impact Anderson will have on Kraft's relationship with all the agencies on its roster. But she's certain to make life inside a Kraft a bit livelier. When she's "on," Anderson possesses a wicked wit, and she can truly dazzle when she is making a presentation to a room of people.



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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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