Findus is ploughing more than £1m into its first ad campaign for the Jean-Christophe Novelli frozen range as the brand breaks through the £2m barrier a year after launch.
The TV campaign, breaking in February, is Findus's first TV push in five years. It features the celebrity chef cooking a dish in his own kitchen before placing the meal in a man's freezer.
The man then cooks it for a romantic meal, taking all the credit and the ad finishes with the strapline: 'Created by me, frozen by Findus', voiced by Novelli.
Four limited-edition products are also being added to the seven-strong range, which Findus hopes will help propel sales from £2.1m to £5.8m this year. The value growth would defy the negative trend in the total frozen ready meal category, which declined 5.4% to £426.5m for the year to October [Nielsen].
"What we have achieved shows consumers understand frozen doesn't have to be economy," said MD Vidar Engen, adding that more limited-edition lines would be added in September.
However, the range is understood to have fared better at supermarkets than independents. "It is fantastic quality, but its premium price was devalued early on by bogofs," said David Stokes, senior controller of Nisa Freeze.