KELLOGG, BIG G POUR $32 MIL IN ADS OVER HONEY CEREALS;CORN FLAKES LINE EXTENSION, REFORMULATED CLUSTERS, SEEK WIDER APPEAL AMONG FAMILIES

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General Mills and Kellogg Co. will spend $32 million this fall on new campaigns to reintroduce honey-nut cereal varieties, attempting to make them appeal to the whole family.

Big G is sweetening and reformulating its 9-year-old Clusters brand as Honey Nut Clusters, while Kellogg is introducing Honey Crunch Corn Flakes.

The new Clusters commercial, created by Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, breaks today and depicts an entire family eating the brand-rather than adults as was more common in the past. While they eat, the Clusters squirrel drives off with the family camper.

"The sweeter [cereals] really have the broadest profile," said Jennifer Ogden, VP-management supervisor at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Freeman's sister agency and media buyer on the brand. "The advertising shows everybody loves Clusters, the whole family."

The company is expected to spend about $12 million on the network and cable TV campaign. Trial-size boxes and free-standing insert ads also support.

GOAL TO BOOST SHARE

The goal is to boost market share in the $7.8 billion ready-to-eat cereal market from the product's current 0.5%.

Honey Crunch Corn Flakes is designed to replace Kellogg's Nut & Honey Crunch, to be phased out gradually.

The new product is assigned to J. Walter Thompson USA, rather than Corn Flakes and Nut & Honey Crunch agency Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

Those familiar with the introduction said JWT won the estimated $20 million assignment because Kellogg views Honey Crunch Corn Flakes as totally new rather than a Corn Flakes line extension.

Also, Kellogg already markets Honey Crunch Corn Flakes in the U.K. via JWT, London.

Still, it's a significant piece of additional business for JWT; the agency picked up the $25 million Kellogg's Raisin Bran business from Burnett last fall.

RELYING ON CORN FLAKES NAME

Kellogg is looking for the Corn Flakes name to carry the entry, much like Big G used the Cheerios moniker for Honey Nut Cheerios. That brand now has $212.8 million in sales and a 2.8% market share, according to Information Resources Inc.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to leverage Kellogg's Corn Flakes heritage as the world's favorite cereal," said Tom Knowlton, president of Kellogg North America.

Network TV advertising breaks in mid-October, themed "Taste of honey, heart of gold." The effort includes a branded Nascar race car that will only compete in one race, to be held Oct. 2 in Charlotte, N.C.

The cereal industry's price cuts have taken a toll on the marketers, particularly Kellogg. Published reports suggest Kellogg's share as measured by Nielsen Marketing Research has hit 31%, losing 4 points since the pricing war broke out in April.

IRI figures for the 12 months ended Aug. 11 show Kellogg's sales are off 7.2%, for a 35.2% share. General Mills, cited as the marketer with the heaviest blitz in trade and consumer promotion since April, showed a 0.2% gain, for a 26.9% share. Kraft Foods' Post division-it started the round of cuts-saw sales fall 4.6% (excluding its Nabisco lines) to $1 billion, IRI said, for a 13.2% share.

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