Pillsbury gears Cooking for Two to empty nesters

MINNEAPOLIS: General Mills' Pillsbury brand is launching a new PR and marketing effort, dubbed Cooking for Two, aimed at empty nesters.

MINNEAPOLIS: General Mills' Pillsbury brand is launching a new PR and marketing effort, dubbed Cooking for Two, aimed at empty nesters.

Longtime General Mills firm Padilla Speer Beardsley, Minneapolis, is leading the push. Former figure skating star Peggy Fleming kicked off the campaign last week at the AARP national expo in Las Vegas, where she appeared with a Pillsbury test-kitchen expert.

The effort centers on Oven Baked frozen dinner rolls and biscuits. The company discovered the products were popular among aging baby boomers who've reached the "empty nest" stage, when children have moved out of family homes.

Pillsbury has added Cooking for Two recipes and other information on its website, and created an e-newsletter with information on adjusting to cooking for a smaller family. An SMT and b-roll are in the works that will be pitched to TV stations next month, said Marlene Johnson, General Mills' senior PR manager. Press kits are being sent to food editors nationally.

The company began sponsoring special cooking classes for empty nesters two years ago. It decided to expand marketing efforts for the line this year as it introduces new low-carb and wheat versions of its rolls.

It will continue to work with AARP, featuring a Pillsbury exhibit at various AARP events around the country. It's also advertising in AARP's magazine and plans TV advertising.

"It's an integrated campaign that touches across all our platforms," Johnson said.

While the majority of PR efforts will take place during the fall and winter - key baking and selling seasons for Pillsbury products - the Cooking for Two theme is likely to continue into next year, Johnson said.

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