General Mills (A)
In June 2004, as the newly appointed vice-president of the meals division, Jim Murphy was facing a crisis with one of General Mills' key brands, Hamburger Helper. The metrics for this brand had universally declined with marketing margin, volume, penetration, buy rate, facings, and advertising target rating points all down. In addition, Hamburger Helper was facing an increasingly competitive environment in the dinner category with Kraft, Lipton, ConAgra and Campbell's all recently entering the market. Brainstorming by Hamburger Helper's brand management team resulted in two potential solutions: (1) to reduce production costs through the simplification of the Hamburger Helper line by reducing the complexity of the product and eliminating the less successful SKUs and (2) to re-consider the way that innovation was employed in brand development. How should Jim Murphy and his brand management team proceed in order to turn this brand crisis around?