Turkey fans go 'Turketarian' in Butterball's television ads

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NEW YORK — Are you a “Turketarian”?

Trying to get the word out that Butterball makes more than just the big bird on Thanksgiving Day, Butterball is launching two TV ads that showcase its range of products from turkey sausage to turkey burgers and focus on people who love the lean protein.

Butterball, based in Garner, N.C., combined with Carolina Turkeys in 2006. The privately held company estimates that it makes one out of every five turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving. But Butterball also wants to be known for its other products such as smoked sausage and turkey burgers.

Butterball does not disclose sales figures. But rising demand for chicken and turkey — which both are less expensive than beef or pork — has led to strong demand for poultry producers including Butterball.

For its first TV effort in six years, Bill Klump, senior vice president for corporate marketing at Butterball, said the company interviewed 1,000 consumers about how they feel about turkey. Turkey lovers fell into two camps: those that prefer turkey as their main protein of choice and those who are more driven by health benefits.

The TV ads show people happily eating turkey products.

“If you can’t imagine quitting turkey cold turkey. If ‘protein shake’ means dancing around with a turkey burger. If you think it’s time we consider a new national bird.

Then you are what butterball calls a ‘Turketarian,’ ” a voiceover states.

Butterball’s ad agency, Y&R, considered other words, such as “ambassador.” But that seemed too formal, so they went with “Turketarian.”

“It’s one of those words that if you step back and think about it for a second, the connotationid very obvious,” Klump said.

The campaign began last year with print and radio ads and social media. Now, Butterball is adding the TV spots, along with the other components. The ads will run May 12 through July 4, as well as in November, on network and cable stations.

The company did not disclose spending on the effort.