The commercial marriage between Rice-A-Roni and the City of San Francisco is over. After nearly three decades of identifying its rice side dish with San Francisco, Golden Grain Macaroni Co. has dropped cable cars and city vistas from its television advertising and dumped the "The San Francisco Treat" line from its familiar jingle.
The slogan will remain on the back of a redesigned package.
Golden Grain executives insist that they have nothing against San Francisco. "It's just that the ad became so familiar that people stopped listening to it," said Sandy Posa, vice president of product management at Golden Grain.
Although annual sales of Rice-A-Roni--which exceed $100 million--spurted 10% last year, the company says it is trying to give the product a more contemporary edge. The tag line on its new television commercials, which began appearing on television last week, is: "Rice-A-Roni: Who Says You Can't Please Everyone?" The new ads show scenes of such hard-to-please groupings as prison inmates and monks in a monastery, happily eating the 93-cents-a-box product. The $12-million campaign was created by the San Francisco office of the company's recently-named ad firm, Chiat/Day.
Although developed in 1958 by Golden Grain's Chairman Vincent DeDomenico in the kitchen of his San Francisco home, Rice-A-Roni is actually produced in San Leandro, south of Oakland. That is where Golden Grain--recently acquired by Quaker Oats Co.--is headquartered.
Rice-A-Roni will continue to have a place on San Francisco's famed cable cars, but the firm is far from the biggest advertiser. Kodak film and Canon cameras both run far more cable car ads, officials say.