Brace yourselves everybody, I have some bad news: Hamburger Helper is no more. But wait! Don’t jump yet, friend. Thanks to the General Mills marketing department, and fueled by a loss of market share to new competition from Kraft, Hamburger Helper has been reborn. Let me introduce to the new and improved brand: Helper. General Mills, owner of the Betty Crocker brand Hamburger Helper line, feels that the Hamburger Helper brand just wasn’t modern enough. If you want to compare advertisements, watch and compare these rival commercials from the old Hamburger Helper with the new Kraft Cheesy Skillets:
Personally, I’m not sure Hamburger Helper needs a rebranding. Kids today still like leather jackets, right?
Regardless of my opinion, General Mills has decided to relaunch the brand with a major makeover: new(ish) name, new boxes, and sauce pouches rather than dry seasoning mixes. General Mills is hoping the rebrand will address more than just sales. The company sees Americans on the whole moving away from hamburger in favor of chicken or other meat. 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. Apparently, 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 the consumer to shift away from hamburger (and the poor press given to beef and hamburger in recent years), it is likely a good move to switch to a brand that isn’t specific to one meat, particularly hamburger. 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 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.