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Banquet microwave dinners get country-fied

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OMAHA, Neb. ConAgra has announced that it will put a significant amount of marketing dollars behind its Banquet brand of frozen dinners. The advertising blast begins this week with a brand-new voice boasting the brand’s merits—that of country music star Lee Ann Womack.

ConAgra said it is pushing Banquet’s line of healthy frozen meal options, Banquet Select Recipes, which come in seven varieties including an enchilada combo meal and chicken parmesan dinner. These dinners retail for $1.50 each.

The company has also said that the new push is in response to declining numbers for the Banquet brand, a brand name company officials admit has not been advertised much in about a decade. Part of the company’s plan to revamp the image of the Banquet line is to give it a makeover to appeal to its country-music-loving-mom core demographic.

According to numbers from Nielsen Monitor-Plus, ConAgra has spent $200,000 on marketing its Banquet brand in the first half of 2008 compared to about $6 million spent on the brand last year.

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