March 9, 2009 / 4:24 AM / 8 years ago

Pepsi's Quaker Oats to refocus brand on health benefits

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Quaker Oats is launching a new marketing campaign that for the first time includes all its products under one message that emphasizes the health benefits of its main ingredient -- whole grain oats.

The new campaign from Quaker, owned by PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N), includes television commercials, print and digital ads, billboards, bus and taxi signs, and an event where Quaker employees will give away a million bowls of oatmeal for free.

The campaign uses the slogan "Go humans go" and calls the whole grain oat a "super grain."

"It's really a message of health and hope for America," Quaker President Mark Schiller said in an interview. "We think the time is right to cheer people on and create a rallying cry."

Schiller declined to say how much the campaign would cost, or whether Quaker changed its advertising budget to accommodate it. He did say though that the campaign has been planned for many months and therefore is not a result of the recession.

"You can get a bowl of oatmeal for about 15 cents, so its always been a terrific value. Of course in these times that value resonates with people," Schiller said, adding that Quaker is also offering bonus packs and coupons.

"We recognize that consumers' dollars are stretched, but really the campaign is about the nutritious efficacy of the Quaker oat," Schiller said.

The campaign from Quaker comes as its parent company revamps its marketing for other well-known brands, including Gatorade sports drink and Pepsi Cola as a way to revive sales in a recession.

Quaker products include cooking oats, instant oatmeal, granola bars and the ready-to-eat cereals Quaker Life and Quaker Oatmeal Squares.

Like other packaged foods, Schiller said some Quaker products are performing well in these tough times as consumers eat at home more and dine out less. He also said Quaker had a "robust pipeline" of new products, but declined to give specifics.

Quaker Foods North America had 2008 revenue of $1.90 billion, making up 4 percent of PepsiCo's total revenue and 9 percent of its Americas Foods business, which also includes Frito-Lay North America and the Latin America foods division.

Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Andre Grenon

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