Unilever Updates Butter Campaign With Wry Look Back

Unilever's "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" margarine brand is launching a campaign with the idea that nowadays people know better than to fool with ... Mother Nature.

No, the company isn't borrowing from those old Chiffon ads. Rather, the integrated campaign, with the tag "Now We Know Better," takes cues from things people might have done back when those margarine ads were current: sunbathing with baby lotion and reflectors, making women stay at home, and, say, loading up on butter.

The campaign touts "I Can't Believe ..." for its blend of oils, as a source of Omega 3 and for its lack of trans fats and lower saturated fat content than butter.

It centers on a fictive family, "The Buttertons," and includes TV, print and Internet media, with an online "Now You Know Better $1,000,000 Game Show." The game, "hosted" by "Seinfeld" alumnus and TV host John O'Hurley, runs through March, dangling such prizes as spa weekends and premium kitchen equipment.

At NowYouKnowBetter.com, players answer healthy-lifestyle trivia questions dating from the '50s. Players can participate five times per day. Unilever is touting the game with banners at MSN.com and a link in the game section of the site.

Then, in February, celebs Gary Coleman, Jose Canseco and Dustin Diamond are featured in faux PSAs in which they confess their "Know Better" moments: slugging a fan instead of giving an autograph, juicing up on steroids, and creating explicit bedroom videos. Consumers also have the chance to play the online game head-to-head against these celebrities and chat with them live. The live games and chats air each week starting in mid-February.

The national broadcast advertising portion kicked off last week with a 30-second spot in which the Buttertons, a '50s-era family that embodies white bread, and people--presumably--used entire sticks of butter on their vegetables. The family then morphs to a modern, informed version that tells consumers "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" is the better of the two.

Some of the ads will also drive consumers to the Web via a tag with O'Hurley promoting the "Now You Know Better $1,000,000 Game Show."

Unilever did big ad initiatives online for the 20-year-old "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" brand in 2005, when it began doing webisodes for women called "Sprays of her Life" to promote its spray version of the spread.

Tags: food
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