Kellogg concept turns aisles into Breakfastland

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Kellogg Co. hopes to lure shoppers to a far more entertaining place than the traditional cereal aisle, a place it calls Breakfastland.

The now No. 2-ranked cereal marketer recently began a test of an in-store concept called Breakfastland that moves Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam and Snap, Crackle and Pop off their boxes and onto colorful, attention-getting overhead signs, shelving and interactive displays. The move is an attempt to bring people back to the center of the store, back to breakfast and back to Kellogg.

LINKS TO ALBERTSON'S, KROGER

Kellogg has partnered with 10 Albertson's stores in Phoenix and 10 Kroger stores in Atlanta, promising that the Breakfastland concept will help grow the overall cereal category, which fell 1.3% to $6.9 billion in food stores for the 52 weeks ended May 21, according to Information Resources Inc.

Although overhanging signs that welcome consumers to Breakfastland feature all Kellogg's brand icons with type that reads "brought to you by Kellogg's," competitors including category leader General Mills as well as Kraft Foods' Post and Quaker Oats Co. all stand to benefit from the new focus on the oft-ignored aisle, a fact Kellogg clearly understands.

MAKE AISLE `MORE FUN'

"Breakfastland is really about partnering with our retailers to grow the total breakfast category sales, to bring attention to the aisle and make it more fun and interactive," a Kellogg spokeswoman said. "Although it won't just benefit Kellogg, we'd expect to benefit if we're able to draw more shoppers to the aisle."

Although Kellogg has fallen behind General Mills in total dollar sales -- $2.3 billion vs. General Mills' $2.5 billion -- the marketer's numerous brands still represent a 30.2% share of the total cereal category.

The concept, executed by Niven Marketing Group, Bensenville, Ill., was conceived to drive sales of Kellogg's $392 million Pop-Tarts franchise, its $132 million Nutri-Grain bars line and in some cases its $134 million Rice Krispies Treats brand. Breakfastland aisles include a "New Releases" section featuring new products from various marketers represented in the aisle. In addition, Kellogg has created interactive displays such as a Tony the Tiger paw that screams out, "They're grrreat!" when pushed.

MARKETERS PAY FOR SECTIONS

Building special sections to drive sales of particular categories is increasingly popular at food retailers, which are facing growing competition from mass merchandisers, convenience stores and fast-feeders.

"We want to take the idea of attention-grabbing sections to as many categories as we can," said one executive from an East Coast chain. And, in most cases, he said, the labor and costs associated with those sections will be taken on by marketers such as Kellogg.

PepsiCo already has leveraged its PepsiCo beverages and Frito-Lay snacks together in special "Power Aisles" that similarly aim to draw shoppers by leveraging its well-advertised brands. Nabisco, too, has tested concepts that aim to make the cookie and cracker aisle a destination. And if Kellogg's test goes well, an extension of Breakfastland into more stores might mean an inclusion of other cereal marketers' brand icons.

"Displays do have the proven ability to lift volume, which makes them a pretty efficient use of marketing funds for consumer products companies," said Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jaine Mehring. In the past, however, prime displays around the peripheries of stores -- where consumers tend to spend most of their time -- have been the domain of snack companies, Ms. Mehring said.

"In a way, this is like taking cereal and trying to make it more of an impulse purchase, which sounds like a creative concept for an aisle that hasn't seen a lot of creativity," she added.

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