Ritz, which generates about a quarter of its annual sales during the winter holidays, is looking to further leverage its positioning as the "fun, un-fancy" cracker with special seasonal efforts this year.
The Kraft Foods/Nabisco brand has rolled out the first specifically holiday-focused TV spot within its "Open for Fun" campaign -- the award-winning, two-year-old Euro RSCG campaign that established the fun positioning, contemporized the 75-year-old brand and reversed its declining share.
The TV spot features young adults enjoying Ritz as they disco at a holiday party. Like all "Open for Fun" efforts, this commercial's message relies heavily on multiple inclusions of Ritz "iconography" -- semiotics-based images referencing the cracker's instantly recognizable round, scalloped-edge shape and seven holes. In this case, the iconography shows up in images on the walls behind the dancing revelers, as a design element on a mirrored disco ball, and most prominently, on the DJ's turntable.
"The message of 'Open for Fun' -- that Ritz can help make any moment of our lives more fun --certainly resonates during the holidays," says Ritz Senior Brand Manager Sheeba Philip, who confirms that the overall campaign has continued "to move the business in a positive direction on all key metrics" since its introduction in January 2008. (The first spot actually aired on Dec. 31, 2007, on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," but it didn't have a holiday theme.)
Along with Triscuits and Wheat Thins, Ritz is also part of a "Keep the Jingle In Your Holidays" theme on Nabiscocrackers.com. The site is offering holiday recipes and tips, and a "Get Jingled" tool for uploading photos in a holiday format on Facebook. Coupons and rebates are being offered both on the site and in stores.
This year also marks the introduction of a new seasonal product offering, Fudge-Covered Ritz -- the first seasonal addition since Snowflake Ritz, which has been going strong for a decade now.
To finish off the year, a new Garlic Herb variety of Ritz Crackerfuls -- the crackers-and-cheese "sandwiches" extension launched in June -- will debut at the end of December, as a permanent part of the line. Existing Crackerfuls varieties are Four Cheese and Classic Cheddar.