WAYNE, NJ: Frank's RedHot sauce has kicked off a 20-city PR campaign aimed at raising the brand's profile as the "secret ingredient" in Buffalo wings.
The campaign began with wing-eating contests in New York's Madison Square Garden last month. Similar events are tentatively scheduled throughout the year for such cities as Boston, Miami, Chicago and St. Louis.
Contest winners will be brought to New York in early 2005 for a national championship. Frank's-maker Reckitt Benckiser is using longtime agency Bender Hammerling in the effort.
The campaign includes local radio tie-ins and media relations efforts, such as sending wings recipes to local food editors, said Stacey Bender, president and creative director of Bender Hammerling. Local DJs will be invited to emcee the wing-eating contests.
The campaign is targeting men ages 18 to 45 and female heads of households ages 20 to 45, Bender said. Contests include a wing-eating competition - Battle to the Bone - geared to men and a Neat Eating Contest for women.
Major message points include the sauce's role in making Buffalo wings and that it can add flavor to dishes without burning tasters' mouths, Bender said.
The firm did a successful pilot program for Frank's last year in five cities, testing the concept of the eating contests, Bender said.
The Madison Square Garden contest last month saw 30 pounds of chicken wings eaten in eight minutes, with the winner eating 2.5 pounds.
Reckitt Benckiser also makes French's products, such as mustard, potato sticks and Worcestershire sauce.