Athenos Hummus Tries Sponsorship, Advertising to Increase Brand Awareness
The Athenos brand, owed by Kraft Foods, launched an advertising campaign in January at the "Hollywood Helping Haiti Golden Globes" event. (The Golden Globes is held every year, but was specially renamed this year to raise funds for Haiti’s recovery from the recent and devastating earthquake.) The campaign is an attempt to revive the brand’s lagging market share.
Athenos secured the exclusive food sponsorship for the event, and Kraft also attracted attention by asking the former “Top Chef Master” Ludo Lefebvre to serve Golden Globes attendees bite-sized nibbles. This new campaign, themed “made with 100% olive oil” is actually the brand’s first major advertising effort in recent years. The campaign is probably a reaction to sliding sales volume during 2009, when the sales of refrigerated spreads (including hummus) rose by 15.9 percent but Athenos’ sales were down 2.4 percent. Kraft hopes to use both the Hollywood event and the slogan “made with 100% olive oil” to raise brand awareness, improve the brand’s image and reverse the sales slump.
Of course it takes more than a single event sponsorship—or a single ad campaign—to build a strong brand. Kraft may be able to invest enough money to increase brand awareness, but awareness alone should not be the goal of brand-related marketing investments. To succeed, Kraft and Athenos will have to find a compelling point of differentiation and create a long-term strategy around this point. We can’t help but to ask- Is “100% olive oil” compelling and differentiating enough to enable this brand to succeed in a competitive market place? Our guess is, probably not.