Kraft Turns to Media Giants for Online, Offline Promos

Kraft Foods’s North American division will promote its products through wide-reaching marketing alliances with two of the country’s largest media conglomerates, Viacom and AOL Time Warner.

Terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft said it would spend “several hundred million dollars” in advertising through the two New York-based companies.

“Our portfolio is a market basket filled with the world’s favorite foods for every eating occasion. Both Viacom … and AOL Time Warner offer the spectrum of media possibilities necessary to build cutting-edge integrated marketing programs for our icon brands,” said Paula Sneed, who is group vice president of Kraft Foods North America, and president of the group’s e-commerce and marketing services.

Through the agreements, Kraft said internal marketing groups and agency partners — including agency of record MediaVest, a Bcom3 unit — would work to develop integrated, national media plans for next year using Viacom and AOL Time Warner’s properties.

It’s far too early to tell exactly which properties will be included in the media plan, but it will likely reprise several earlier efforts.

In the past, AOL Time Warner promoted Kraft’s Boca brand on its cable network CNN Headline News, in its Time Inc. magazines, and on the America Online service. Similarly, Kraft worked with Viacom’s cross-channel marketing division Viacom Plus to advertise salad dressings through the Web, television and out-of-home media.

“We have already begun some exciting work with both partners that gives us a taste of future possibilities,” Sneed said.

Similarly, Viacom Plus senior vice president Lisa McCarthy said her group would work to promote “the entire Viacom portfolio.”

“From CBS to Nickelodeon, from Blockbuster stores to Paramount Parks, we are harnessing our world-class brands across our broadcast and cable television, Internet and retail properties to powerfully deliver the Kraft message to the target consumer,” McCarthy said.

Myer Berlow, who is president of global marketing solutions at AOL Time Warner, added that his company also intends to bring to bear an extensive roster of online and offline media.

“This expansion of our relationship will enable [AOL’s] Global Marketing Solutions Group to provide Kraft with integrated, targeted cross-platform marketing solutions to reach consumers nationwide with compelling messages about a wide variety of Kraft’s popular consumer brands,” he said.

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