MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- General Mills Inc. is launching its first major brand campaign for Pillsbury in several years, hoping stressed consumers will connect with the soothing warmth of the brand's baked goods.
The campaign, dubbed "Home is Calling," comes as many top food makers seek to keep their brands' in the minds of increasingly cost-conscious customers. Amid rising food and gas prices, the weakening economy and an uncertain job market, consumers have cut back on eating out and now may trade down to less expensive, store-brand products, analysts say.
The Pillsbury campaign is the brand's first major initiative since 2001, according to General Mills, which also makes Cheerios cereal and Betty Crocker cake mix.
It features three Saatch & Saatchi-produced television spots pitching the connection between the comforts of home and Pillsbury products. Ads will also appear on movie screens, in radio spots and newspapers and online.
An ad on the brand's Web site has a wintery tone and shows images such as a woman sitting in a classroom, a man working on an assembly line, and a girl waiting outside amid snow. Each of them clicks their heels three times and closes their eyes. The girl waiting outside opens up her eyes and sees Pillsbury crescent rolls on her table, with her contented family getting ready to eat.
The brand's icon, the Pillsbury Doughboy, is hiding behind the corner, smiling.
Juliana Chugg, senior vice president and president of General Mills' Pillsbury division, said the company is looking to build on the emotional connection between people and its foods. The slumping economy, which has increased focus on saving money by eating at home, is also part of the strategy, she said.
"In this tough economy, people are telling us that home and family are more important than ever. They are staying in and eating at home more often and want it to be a positive experience, not a sacrifice," Chugg said in a statement.