The Swiss confectionery giant is putting £9 million behind the launch of Nestle's Double Cream in an attempt to muscle in on a sector that has been the almost exclusive preserve of Cadbury's Dairy Milk and Mars' Galaxy.
Lowe, which has been working secretly with Nestle on a strategy, has produced a 60-second commercial breaking nationally this Thursday which will be the centrepiece of the launch. It is only the company's second chocolate bar launch in 22 years.
The film, directed by Ringan Ledwidge through Harry Nash, marks a departure from mainstream confectionery advertising by switching the action to the US and spoofs a crime story as told by a hardened New York detective.
With the arrival of Double Cream, Nestle chiefs believe they have an opportunity to build a significant presence in a huge but relatively stagnant and commoditised sector, which suffers from poor product quality and where a lack of competition has led to perpetual price wars between Cadbury and Mars.
Sales of Dairy Milk and Galaxy both fell by more than 4 per cent last year, although Dairy Milk supplanted Nestle's Kit Kat as the biggest confectionery brand. Nestle has compared the UK chocolate market with the wine market of the 80s, which was dominated by plonk.
Nestle boasts that Double Cream will be manufactured to appeal specifically to British consumer tastes, and will have a premium mainstream positioning without trying to encroach into the more specialist area dominated by brands such as Lindt.
Nestle expects to sustain Double Cream with a £35 million promotional investment over the next five years and use the campaign's trademarked strapline, "Chocolate Matters", as the corporate signature for all its confectionery products.
MindShare is buying media for the campaign, which will be TV-led but also include PR and sampling activity. The strategy is in line with Nestle's increasing use of a more varied media schedule. Previously it used TV almost exclusively.
"This is Nestle's bid to take the high ground in the chocolate market," Jonathan Rigby, Lowe's head of account management, said. "It could well be the start of chocolate wars."
The ad, shot in the Queens district of New York and featuring some of the locations seen in Goodfellas, tells the story of the detective's efforts to catch a modern day "Bonnie and Clyde who pull off a $1.3 million bank heist. The problem is that all the bank notes are marked.
The couple resist all temptations to spend the marked notes until the detective lures the girl into exchanging one of them for a Double Cream.
The film was produced by the creative team of Tony Barry and Damon Collins.