PhotoLots of things aren't cool anymore and one of them is dieting. When's the last time you heard someone say they were on a diet? Eating fresh and local, going gluten-free, becoming vegan-ish -- sure. But dieting? No.

This has the folks at Lean Cuisine worried. After all, they basically make diet dinners. And so, after months of hungering for a solution, Lean Cuisine is swearing off the weight-loss pitch and converting its advertising and "branding," as they say in the biz, to more of a foodie approach.

This is somewhat complicated, though. After all, a fresh and local pitch gets a little tricky when your product is, well, frozen. Of course, frozen food really is just as nutritious as freshly picked in most cases but that's not really a discussion you can have in a 30-second commercial.

Weigh This

So Lean Cuisine will be talking instead about its customers' lives, their aspirations and so forth, trying to mold itself in their image. It's launching a new campaign called "Feed Your Phenomenal," which Ad Age tells us will celebrate the exceptional lives today's women lead. (Lean Cuisine is seen as a product that appeals to women. Men who buy it have to hide it under a newspaper at the check-out counter to avoid having couscous kicked in their face).

An accompanying social media campaign is called "Weigh This" and encourages women to weigh their accomplishments. Is this a little too cute? Maybe, but stranger campaigns have worked and it's not really a time for the frozen food business to sit around doing nothing. Their situation is about as bad as those faced by domestic beers and newspapers.

It's not just Nestle's Lean Cuisine that's suffering falling sales. The entire frozen food segment is being dissed by shoppers who now hang out in the fresh produce section. Talk about climate change -- Kellogg, General Mills, ConAgra and Nestle are all feeling the heat.

As their market melts away, the big manufacturers have been running a campaign called "Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh." Lean Cuisine is borrowing from this campaign, using such phrases as "freshly made, simply frozen."



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