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In 1997 Lyle Hubbard, CEO of Gardenburger, a producer and marketer of veggie burgers and meat-alternative products, waited in his Portland, Ore., office for his executive team. He had called together the group to discuss Gardenburger’s advertising strategy, which, until that point, had consisted mainly of print ads in food service trade publications, trade shows, off-invoice promotions with distributors, in-store sampling, and radio advertising.
When Hubbard arrived at Gardenburger, he had wanted to create a rapidly growing, highly profitable company by taking veggie burgers from a small health food niche to the consumer mainstream. He believed that key to achieving this strategy was establishing national distribution in the largest channel, the grocery channel (into which Gardenburger had only penetrated 30 percent by the beginning of 1996); creating new flavors (but generally focusing on the veggie patty versus expanding into other meat alternatives); and creating broad consumer awareness and. As Hubbard waited in his office for his team, he mulled over his successful experiences at Quaker and wondered how he could apply those strategies to build the Gardenburger brand from a niche product to a mass-market national brand.
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Case No: M305A, B