Stouffers Advent Calendar

The Lempert Report
October 10, 2023

On the Bullseye - An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count the days in anticipation of Christmas. Originating from the Christian tradition, it begins on December 1st and ends on December 24th, Christmas Eve. Each day corresponds to a door or window that is opened to reveal an image, a poem, a piece of chocolate, or a small gift. The idea is to mark each day of the Advent season, the period of preparation leading up to Christmas.

The tradition has its roots in 19th-century Germany. Over time, the design and presentation of advent calendars have evolved, and they now come in a wide variety of forms, ranging from simple paper calendars to elaborate wooden or fabric creations. Many modern advent calendars, especially those for children, contain chocolates or toys behind each door. However, some religious or traditional calendars might have scripture or religious images behind each window.

In recent years, themed advent calendars have also become popular. For example, you might find advent calendars dedicated to beauty products, teas, books, or even wine. These specialty calendars cater to various interests but still retain the core concept of counting down the days to Christmas. ALDI's advent calendar has become a 'must have' for their shoppers. In the U.S. ALDI introduced the wine advent calendar in 2018, which quickly became a sought-after item during the holiday season. Following its success, they expanded their advent calendar lineup in subsequent years. In 2022 ALDI's Advent Calendar line up included: Hard Seltzer, Beer, Holiday Magic Wine, Emporium Selection Cheese, Bay Island Hot Sauce, Chocolate Truffle, and Luxury Chocolate.

Stouffer's the brand now owned by Nestle, started selling's frozen foods in 1953. And for 2023, 70 years later, the brand has announced its first ever Advent Comfort Calendar and of course it is filled with frozen foods, 7 of them, including Family Size Macaroni and Cheese; Family Size Lasagna with Meat and Sauce; Stouffer’s Bowl-Fulls Chicken Bacon Ranch Bowl; Stouffer’s Sides Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Bake; Stouffer’s Sides Homestyle Mashed Potatoes; Stouffer’s Pepperoni French Bread Pizza; and Stouffer’s Ultimate Five-Cheese Mac. It's only available on the Shop Stouffer's Website and retails for $39.99. The first drop happened last week on October 2 and sold out. The next drops are scheduled for October 23, November 13 and December 4. There is no mention on the website if shipping is included in the price, guess I'll have to wait till 12 noon on October 23rd to add it to my cart to see.

Putting on our marketing hat, I see a few problems with this brand extension. The first is that its off brand, the second is the assortment of foods with a couple exceptions doesn't tie into Christmas meals, next comes the fact that most of us wouldn't have room in our freezers for 7 items - especially those family-size boxes. The announcement on Instagram looks like the foods may be gift wrapped, and the post says that "The Comfort Calendar is here to help you during the busy holiday season – whether in the time after Thanksgiving when the last thing you want to do is be in the kitchen or the blurry days of Betwixtmas as the year is winding down!" I really do think that this one is a stretch for many reasons, and frankly I think its time that brands that are just scratching their heads on how to build buzz or get attention should stay away from trying to connect Mac & Cheese to the Advent season.

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