Chips Ahoy!, Kraft’s top-selling chocolate chip brand, is giving its eight-year-old “Cookie Guys” campaign the heave-ho to make way for a new effort built around “joy.”
The campaign, which coincides with new products and packaging, centers on the moments of exultation moms and children alike derive from eating the cookie. A spot launching this week, for instance, shows kids moving and grooving each time someone opens a package of Chips Ahoy! The spot is set to the tune of the 1979 R&B hit “Bustin’ Loose,” by Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers. Tagline: “There’s a lotta joy in Chips Ahoy!”
Janda Lukin, senior brand manager for Chips Ahoy!, said the change in approach was driven by insight from moms, who observed that children would often break out in a “toe-tapping dance” upon seeing the cookies.
The brand’s biggest fans express so much “anticipation and excitement” when eating the snack, she said, that creative focusing on the fun and joy seemed like the best approach.
The campaign “is rooted in the idea that the reason the joy is happening is the Chips Ahoy! cookies are coming out,” Lukin said. The creative, she added, plays up that “little, happy cookie dance.”
The effort, from Draftfcb, New York, replaces a previous one that employed clay-animation figures that was first introduced in 2002. Those spots, which carried the tagline, “They go fast!,” typically showed the Cookie Guys brand mascots trying to escape the ever-looming threat of a cookie snatcher.
In nearly every scenario, whether it was delivering a eulogy, a rise-and-shine morning ritual or a Rocky-inspired boxing match, the pest—an overeager hand—popped up. (At one point, the cookies even sang about their fate in a slowly warming microwave, choir-style.)
The Cookie Guys characters will also disappear from new packaging, which boasts a cleaner look. In addition, Kraft is rolling out new iterations of Chips Ahoy! with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Heath Toffee Bar, both Hershey’s-manufactured confections, which hit shelves next month.
Chips Ahoy! cookies were first introduced in 1963. At the time, it was the first commercially available brand of chocolate chip cookies in the U.S. Known for its abundance of chocolate chips (past ads touted it as “a mountain of chocolate chips in every single one”), Chips Ahoy! also is currently the No. 1 chocolate chip cookie brand in the U.S. The brand is the No. 2 most popular cookie overall, second only to Kraft-owned Nabisco sibling Oreo (i.e., “milk’s favorite cookie”).
Stanton Kawer, chairman of Blue Chip, a global marketing agency that works with companies like Procter & Gamble, Blue Bunny ice cream and Barilla, said the switch was needed. Cookies, he said, are “an indulgent purchase,” and the brand’s previous advertising, which centered on “an over-the-top character,” didn’t hit on the emotional benefits of consuming the cookie. The new ads, on the other hand, “elevate the brand benefit to a joy (emotional) rather than a ‘we-told-you-so’ tagline,” he said.
Furthermore, the campaign resonates with a larger audience base as “it not only illustrates joy from all the potential cookie consumers, including children, but it also tells a nice story to the shopper [in this case mom], who isn’t necessarily the consumer,” he said.
Spending on the new campaign was not disclosed. Kraft’s measured media spending dropped 48 percent to $13 million for Chips Ahoy! last year, excluding online, according to Nielsen.