Birds Eye is urging rival frozen food companies to follow its lead and boost investment in marketing, as it reveals its new £9m and “slightly peculiar” TV campaign voiced by Hollywood star Willem Dafoe.

The frozen giant kicks off the new ‘We’re only content with 100%’ marketing campaign this week to raise awareness of its commitment to sourcing quality ingredients and kickstart flat volume sales in the category.

In a bid to get Birds Eye “more talked about”, the TV ads will be fronted by a grouchy polar bear puppet, voiced by The Deer Hunter and Spider-Man star Dafoe.

A series of three ads show people opening the door of their freezer to find the straight-talking bear, who proceeds to berate them over the poor quality of the frozen foods in the freezer, and educates them about the 100% quality of Birds Eye.

“The bear is trying to deliver a degree of attitude he isn’t a cuddly stereotype,” said marketing director Ben Pearman. “It’s a bit peculiar. We chose Dafoe as his voice has gravitas and edge. These days marketing needs to have such a disruptive element to it to get talked about.”

Following research carried out by Birds Eye last year, the category was still suffering from consumer misconceptions over the quality of frozen food, it said. The new 100% campaign and accompanying on-pack messaging would re-establish a benchmark standard in the market, it claimed.

The £9m marketing spend for the campaign is part of Birds Eye’s overall £30m investment in marketing for 2010 a 25% increase on its 2009 figure and indicative of the company’s marketing-led business model, according to Pearman.

“The only other people spending a substantial amount in frozen advertising is McCain the other companies need to step up,” he said. “The category needs a boost and we have the firepower, spend and creative idea to do it.”

An eerie soundtrack accompanies the ads, and Pearman admitted some people at Birds Eye had said they found the bear to be “quite creepy”.