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National brands continue to scramble to maintain market share from retailer owned Private Brands. In an article published yesterday in the New York Times by Stuart Elliott the article details how national brands are focusing on value in their advertising campaigns. The article quotes Elliott Penner, president at the French’s food division of Reckitt Benckiser saying,

“I want to see value. I want you to demonstrate value”

As retailers focus on their Private Brands, they must invest in their brands. Beginning with the obvious: quality products, quality packaging and quality messaging. They must use every resource they have to tell their brand stories both in store and out. They must view their brands as assets and invest in them.

Food Brands Compete to Stretch a Dollar

Anyone who doubts that consumers are still worried about the Great Recession need only leaf through the May 18 issue of People magazine. Turn to Page 118, where an advertisement for Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh meats proclaims how they taste “deli fresh. But without the deli counter price.”

Three pages after that, an ad for Lean Cuisine frozen foods declares, “We believe in food that’s good for you and good for your wallet.”

And five pages later, Chips Ahoy cookies and Capri Sun juice drinks team up for an ad centered on serving two snacks “for about a dollar,” a concept that gets its own coined word (“Why snackrifice?”) and Web site (

Kraft and Nestlé, which make those products, are among the growing ranks of marketers playing up the perceived value of packaged foods. They are seeking to capitalize on the opportunity presented by consumers’ dining out less.

But shoppers eager to save money are trading down from full-price, brand-name fare to cheaper private labels and store brands. That means advertisers concerned about losing market share must make persuasive arguments about the value propositions of their wares.

The list of value-mongers is to grow on Monday when Reckitt Benckiser begins a campaign for French’s condiments, promoting larger packages to be sold at lower prices. For instance, a 20-ounce bottle of French’s Classic Yellow mustard will cost less than a 14-ounce bottle.

Read the entire article.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.