NEW YORK — Malt-O-Meal cereal and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish recently were recognized by Advertising Age magazine as two of America’s “hottest” 25 brands for 2011.

According to Advertising Age, Minneapolis-based Malt-O-Meal breakfast cereal “doesn’t have an ad agency, never runs focus groups and even bypasses such fundamental marketing tactics as freestanding inserts.” Despite that, the brand grew sales by 5.1% in the year ended Sept. 4.

“To be successful, we know we have to do things very differently than big corporation cereal marketers like General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Post,” said Paul Reppenhagen, director of consumer marketing and strategy for Malt-O-Meal. “We’re proving that our non-traditional approach can work just as well as the accepted ‘norm’ of high prices, lots of expensive television advertising, FSI coupons, and constant in-store price promotions. What Malt-O-Meal doesn’t spend on advertising we pass onto the consumer, resulting in everyday prices that are substantially lower than other advertised brands.”

In recognizing Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, a 50-year-old brand owned by Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Norwalk, Conn., Advertising Age pointed to the brand’s durability, saying it is “riding a new wave of popularity in the ultra-competitive cracker category.”

Additionally, the magazine said Pepperidge “made one of its boldest moves yet” with the national launch of Goldfish sandwich bread in July.

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