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Hellmann’s whips  up birthday campaign

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1949 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1949 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1949 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1949 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1945 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1945 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1945 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1945 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows Hellmann's mayonnaise's special anniversary packaging. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

    This undated image provided by Hellman's shows Hellmann's mayonnaise's special anniversary packaging. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)
  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)
  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows an undated advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)
  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1949 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)
  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1949 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)
  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1945 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)
  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows a 1945 advertisement for Hellmann's mayonnaise. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)
  • This undated image provided by Hellman's shows Hellmann's mayonnaise's special anniversary packaging. Hellman's turns 100 in 2013 and to celebrate the anniversary, owner Unilever Food is launching a marketing campaign including a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up his favorite Hellman's recipes, a smartphone app and a June event featuring the world's largest picnic table. (AP Photo/Hellman's)

A lot changes in 100 years, but the key to Hellmann’s success may be that not much has changed for the mayonnaise.

To celebrate Hellmann’s centennial birthday, owner Unilever is launching a marketing campaign to drum up attention for the country’s top-selling mayonnaise, whose formula remains almost the same as it was a century ago. Media spending is undisclosed, but it’s the largest ever campaign for the brand.

Unilever, a Dutch consumer goods company with brands ranging from Dove soaps to Magnum ice cream, has dubbed the campaign “Bringing the best together.” It includes TV, print and digital ads, a Facebook page and YouTube videos featuring chef Mario Batali cooking up Hellmann’s recipes, a smart phone app and a September event that will include the world’s largest picnic table.

While it may seem as American as Fourth of July picnics, mayonnaise originated in France in the 1700s, when a chef seeking to make a creamy sauce combined oil and egg yolks. People created their own mayonnaise for centuries, whipping up oil, vinegar and eggs.

Hellmann’s got its start when a German immigrant, Richard Hellmann, began selling his wife’s version at his deli in New York in 1905.

Today, Americans spend $1.87 billion on mayonnaise each year, with Hellmann’s capturing a 31.1 percent share of that, according to research firm Euromonitor International. That jumps to 45.5 percent if you include the Best Foods brand. Kraft Mayo holds a 23.8 percent share, while Kraft’s Miracle Whip has 15.6 percent of the market.

Hellmann’s major advantage is that it was first, said John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Kraft’s Miracle Whip, which, according to FDA regulations, isn’t technically mayonnaise because it doesn’t contain enough vegetable oil, was introduced in the 1930s.

Kraft Mayo wasn’t launched until 1988.

Hellmann’s has tried to diversify its product over the years, introducing fat- and cholesterol-free versions, adding lime juice in 2002 to appeal to Latin Americans, and adding flavors like Mediterranean Garlic, Spicy Buffalo and Southwestern Ranch. But the most popular version by far is the classic version.

Marketing has helped the brand’s popularity as well, with the well-known ad slogan “Bring out the Hellmann’s and bring out the best” coined in 1987.

For the latest campaign, Hellmann’s enlisted chef Mario Batali to come up with new twists on Hellmann’s recipes. “We went through 10 decades of recipes,” said Batali.

He chose 30 recipes for Hellmann’s Facebook page and smart phone app, about half classic recipes and half new ones.

His favorites are Chipotle deviled eggs and a dressing for grilled corn on the cob.

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