Jell-O Reborn in New Ad Campaign

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you haven't thought a lot about Jell-O lately, it turns out you're not alone. The Kraft Foods Group started fixing that on Monday, unveiling the first in what will be a series of new commercials.

Advertising Age reports that Kraft's gelatin desert mix sales have fallen in the past 12 months, the result in part of substantially reduced ad spending by Kraft.  Dan O'Leary, Kraft's senior director for desserts, tells ABC News that Jell-O, having spent a few years in relative eclipse, will in coming weeks emerge from behind the clouds.

It would be wrong, says O'Leary, to think Jell-O is not still big.  It's huge, he says -- the biggest star in Kraft's dessert firmament, dwarfing Jet-Puffed Marshmallows.  Its sales, he says, are "significantly bigger" than Cool Whip's.

It's just that Americans aren't eating as much dessert as they once did.  NPD Group, a consumer market research firm, says dinners featuring dessert, considered as a fraction of total dinners, have fallen to 13.8 percent -- a 25-year low.  At a time when Americans demand convenience as never before, there's no getting around the fact that you have to boil water and stir to make Jell-O.

In this changed landscape, Jell-O has had to struggle to find its identity.

Kraft in the early 2000s shifted the focus of Jell-O's advertising away from kids and toward adults, says O'Leary.  It pitched sugar-free Jell-O, for example, as a treat for Atkins dieters.  But in the past few years, he says, the Atkins diet has slipped in popularity, taking Jell-O down with it.

The story now is how Jell-O intends to get its groove back.

Jell-O's new commercials, done by Miami ad agency CP&B, focus on kids, families and fun.  "Fun things up," exhorts the campaign's tag-line.

If the first commercial -- now posted on YouTube -- is any indication, the rest promise to be funny and inventive.

"The idea behind the whole campaign is imagination," confirms O'Leary.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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