Diamond Gets The Fever For The Flavor Of Pringles

Procter & Gamble plans to divest itself of the last chips in its old block of food products, which included such stalwart brands as Folger's, Crisco, Duncan Hines, Hawaiian Punch and Jif. It announced a deal yesterday to sell Pringles chips, née crisps, to Diamond Foods for $2.35 billion, which includes $1.5 billion of Diamond stock for P&G shareholders who participate in the deal and the assumption of $850 million of Pringles debt by the merged company.

First brought to test market in 1968, the brand proved a flop when it went national in 1971 until the taste was reformulated in 1980 and "Fever for the Flavor of Pringles"  hit the airwaves, Andrew Martin tells us in the New York Times. Martin expands on some of the whimsical aspects of the brand, such as the tidbit that the inventor of the can "was so proud of his invention that he asked that his ashes be buried in one." And while no one is sure where the name came from, one apocryphal tale has it that two P&G ad folk lived on Pringle Drive in Cincinnati.



Diamond, which markets Emerald nuts, Pop Secret Popcorn and Kettle Brand chips, will become the second-largest global snack company behind PepsiCo, Ellen Bryon and Paul Ziobro report in the Wall Street Journal, with annual sales of more than $2.4 billion. It acquired Kettle Foods last year.

Pringles has worldwide annual sales of about $1.2 billion and it was one the first brands that P&G took global. Indeed, Pringles was the second-largest crisp and snack brand in the U.K. in 2010, with a 7% increase in sales to £167 million, according to Mintel, Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith reports in Marketing.

"Pringles is an iconic, billion-dollar snack brand with significant global manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure," said Diamond CEO Michael J. Mendes. "Our plan is to build upon the brand equity Pringles has established in over 140 countries."

Jack Neff reports in Ad Age that the brand had a resurgence in the 1990s backed by ads from Wells Rich Greene with a "Once You Pop You Can't Stop" tagline. It is currently handled by WPP's Grey Global Group along with siblings Mediacom for communications planning and Possible Worldwide on digital. Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group handles media buying.

In USA Today, the hed over Bruce Horovitz' story is "New owner of Pringles needs to bring brand into 21st century." "You can be polite and call it a classic brand, but the consumer sees Pringles as being old," Robert Passikoff, founder of the Brand Keys consulting firm, tells him.

Some suggestions garnered from various brand gurus: 1. Think entertainment; 2. Fix the recipe; 3. Add functional benefits; 4. Tweak social media; 4. Extend the brand; 6. Update the marketing; 7. Improve the texture; 8. Kill the familiar mustache man.

It may not be the first order of business, but Diamond may want to update the social media entries. The last blog post on the Pringles website is dated 4/20/2010; the last tweet -- a less-than-scintillating "Pringles are available in various sizes, what's the best fit for you?" was 2/23/11.

One thing they probably don't want to do is lose the can. Did you know that you can use old Pringles cans to store barrettes and bobby pins or to create water balloon launchers? Not only that, they "make great vases, especially for artificial flowers."

The Diamond board still must approve the transaction but with added value like that, who's to say nay?

Next story loading loading..