The Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie is making a comeback, with the help of its new owner, Keebler Company (Elmhurst, IL). The snack-sized gourmet cookies will get a lift this spring, including national in-store distribution, new packaging graphics, new varieties and its first national promotion. Especially notable is the return of the cookies' founder, Wally Amos, to promote the treats that made him famous. The announcement came as part of Keebler's participation at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) show in Chicago this week.
Keebler acquired Famous Amos as part of its purchase of President Baking Company in 1998.
"Few brands, if any, in the cookie aisle have as colorful a history, cache and best of all, taste, as Famous Amos," said Bruce Grieve, Keebler VP, new business development. "We're elated to add Famous Amos to the Keebler family and to have Wally Amos involved again with this legendary brand."
After a successful career as a talent agent at the William Morris Agency, Amos set off for Los Angeles to begin his own agency. In 1970, he began baking his cookies to leave as calling cards with his clients and friends. In just a few years, Famous Amos cookies and the Wally Amos success story grew to become nationally known. Despite the cookies' enormous success, the business ran into a string of financial difficulties that eventually led to Wally's departure from the company. Now, a full decade later, Wally returns to Famous Amos to make dozens of appearances on behalf of the cookie at trade shows, retailer events and other promotional venues under a multi-year agreement with Keebler.
"I'm confident this new relationship with the good folks at Keebler will be a successful partnership," said Amos. "Together, I think we have the beginnings of a great recipe for success. And I'm especially glad that Famous Amos Cookies are now in the hands of people who love, live and breathe great tasting cookies."
New life for brand
Two new flavors, Toffee Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip & Walnuts will join favorite Famous Amos varieties, Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip with Pecans.
The brand's retail sales will benefit from Keebler's distribution system, which will expand Famous Amos in the Western and Central regions in 1999&$151;completing national distribution. The company will continue national distribution of Famous Amos cookies two-oz. bags in the vending channel.
The Western region expansion will feature the introduction of a 16-oz resealable stand-up foil bag. The new bag and traditional box will sport brighter and more dynamic graphics.
"The chocolate chip cookie segment is up 7% and Famous Amos chocolate chip varieties are up 13%," said Tor Carter, Famous Amos marketing manager. "The new varieties are part of our plan to use the brand's rich chocolate chip heritage to capitalize on consumers' unquenchable appetite for chocolate chip cookies. The new graphics are standouts in the cookie category, and are designed with the Famous Amos heritage in mind."
Keebler, founded in 1853, is the second largest cookie and cracker manufacturer in the United States with 1998 net sales of $2.2 billion.