- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 7, 2004

Lipton Cup-a-Soup has cooked up a solution to beat the “3 p.m. slump” at work.

The dry soup-in-a-packet is starting an ad campaign to try to reposition itself as a midafternoon pick-me-up snack rather than a meal.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of work we do, we all have this 3 p.m. slump,” said Howard Sherr, brand manager for Lipton Cup-a-Soup. “Our campaign demonstrates how Lipton Cup-a-Soup makes you ‘you’ again.”

The 34-year-old brand has not had an ad campaign in more than a decade.

“In the vision of Cup-a-Soup as a meal, there’s so much other competition,” Mr. Sherr said. “We didn’t see the opportunity to connect with people.”

Until now.

A $10 million advertising campaign kicked off last month with television ads airing in nine select Northeast markets, including Washington. The ads, created by J. Walter Thompson in New York, highlight Cup-a-Soup’s role in rejuvenating people during the workday.

One ad features “Mr. Cliche,” who impresses his colleagues by solving business problems with quirky phrases such as “He who can’t dance, blames the DJ.”

He turns to the camera and says, “When the 3 p.m. slump hits me, I’m up a creek without a paddle.” So he prepares his soup, in a mug on which is written, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” to help kick-start the rest of the day and keep those cliches coming.

The Unilever Bestfoods brand, which has new packaging and some new flavors, also has teamed up with radio stations, including three in the Washington area.

Beginning March 15, WMMJ-FM (102.3), WPGC-FM (99.5) and WARW-FM (94.7) will feature call-in contests in which workers can describe the 3 p.m. slump at their office. Winners will receive an “office survivor kit,” which will include Cup-a-Soup, stress balls and a wooden foot massage.

Each station will have one to five grand-prize winners for a 3 p.m. slump party at their office.

“This is an opportunity to really reach a diverse group of D.C. workers,” Mr. Sherr said. “We want to show people what this brand is all about.”

The radio promotion ends April 4. The TV ads will run through April. A second wave of ads will start in the fall. The company plans to expand the campaign nationally next year, Mr. Sherr said.

New wins

• The Babcock Advertising Agency, based in Fairfax, has been named agency of record for Reston-based Input, which delivers integrated information, analysis and software via the Web to help companies market to the government.

• Wills & Associates Inc. has two more clients on its roster. The Baltimore firm is handling the global public relations and marketing efforts for Ztango Inc., which provides wireless messaging and multimedia services. Wills & Associates also has been named public relations agency of record for KoolSpan Inc., which provides authentication, security and remote access for Wi-Fi connections.

• Qorvis Communications, a McLean public relations firm, has won seven new tech clients in the past three months: Base Technologies, Chronicle Solutions, Claraview, Dynamics Research Corp., MAP ROI Systems, Motorola Inc. and Pulver.com.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Advertising & Marketing runs every other Monday.

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