Brace yourselves everybody, I have some bad news: Hamburger Helper is no more. But wait! Don’t jump yet, friend. Thanks to a the General Mills marketing department, and fueled by loss of market share to new competition from Kraft, Hamburger Helper has been reborn. Let me introduce to the new and improved brand: Helper. According to General Mills, owner of the Betty Crocker brand Hamburger Helper line admitted that the old Hamburger Helper just wasn’t modern enough. If you want to compare advertisements, watch and compare these rival commercials from the Old Hamburger Helper versus the new Kraft Cheesy Skillets:
Click here and here to see Hamburger Helper commercials.
Personally, I’m not sure General Mills needs a rebranding. Kids today still like leather jackets, right?
Regardless of my opinion, General Mills has decide to relaunch the brand with a major makeover: new(ish) name, new boxes, and sauce pouches rather than dry seasoning mixes. According to General Mills, there are a number of issues that they hope the rebrand will address. The company sees Americans on the whole moving toward chicken and other meat, and moving away from hamburger. The company also hopes to “reintroduce” the brand to a younger generation that may not have been exposed to all that Helper has to offer. Helper is now on Facebook and Twitter. The company sees a lot of growth potential for young men in the 18-30 bracket. And obviously, the only way to reach young people these days is through the internet (I wish I were only joking, but it is at least partially true).
Thankfully, America’s favorite talking, anthropomorphic hand survived the cut (and, no, that isn’t a diss to Thing T. Thing, I said “talking.” I know better than to wade into that controversy publicly). Lefty will continue to be the mascot for Helper, following a trend referenced recently on this blog of company’s embracing their brand’s past, but infusing them with some modernity. The re-branding isn’t terribly significant, but it does provide a good excuse for a media blitz. Maybe that’s really all Helper needed. Although to be fair, given consumer’s shift away from hamburger (and given poor press coverage of beef and hamburger thanks to the “pink slime” and more recent “horse meat” debacle), it is likely a good move to switch to an all encompassing brand. While I continue to have my doubts about the effectiveness of Twitter and social media for certain products, I think the rebrand will likely gain some of the market share back from Kraft’s cheesy skillets. However I would imagine that Helper’s days of dominating the area are likely over, if only due to the increasingly crowded marketplace for quick meals.
But hey, I’m just happy I didn’t have to wave a four-finger good bye to my old pal Lefty. His entry into the Twitterverse may be the final push I needed to join myself.