The marketer is packaging three of its top tween-targeted cereals in canisters into a brand called Snack 'Ums. The line is set to be launched in December, supported with $25 million in advertising beginning early next year.
Anxious to find more profitable growth arenas than what it has been seeing for its base cereal business of late, Kellogg found that 5% to 10% of cold-cereal consumption is for snacking. Though it already has Snack Packs of three top cereal brands, the new line features larger, flavor-enhanced versions of Fruit Loops, Rice Krispie Treats Krunch and special caramel-flavored Corn Pops in resealable packs Kellogg hopes will be relevant to the younger, on-the-go set.
The specifics of the TV and print ads from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, are yet to be determined.
"Kellogg's track record at new-product introductions and innovation certainly has been checkered, focused seemingly more on quantity than on quality," said David Nelson, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston.
Past efforts with portable milk-and-cereal Breakfast Mates kits were pulled while the cholesterol-lowering Ensemble line was scaled back from a regional rollout to a one-market test.
Also, the upscale Country Inns bagged cereals, showing disappointing sales, are now being repackaged in more-durable boxes.
One grocery buyer for a Midwest retailer said she's not taking on the new Snack 'Ums because, she said, "To have cereal packaged as a convenience food item is a stretch, and I'm tired of being a test market for them."
Entering the snack market is an even more daunting proposition because of plans Frito-Lay laid out during a securities analyst meeting last week.
The PepsiCo snack marketer pledged to move beyond its typical salty snacks domain to become what it termed a "macro snacks company" using its 15,000 store-delivery trucks to go up against everything from Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars to meat snacks.
Kellogg's Nutri-Grain franchise , part of the convenience-breakfast category Frito hopes to encroach on, has become a $140 million business. It has since been bolstered by $43 million, with the recent introduction of Nutri-Grain Twists.
Kellogg will add to Twists in late December with a S'Mores version, while its $138 million Rice Krispies Treats lineup-regarded as the company's greatest new-product success in a decade-will get a new Scotcheroo butterscotch variety.
Beyond product innovation, Kellogg has been trying to reach new audiences with more aggressive ad efforts targeting younger consumers.
"Kellogg is starting to get a little edgier, a little less predictable in their advertising," said one executive close to the company.
An example of that is the new "Muffin Man" campaign for recently launched Eggo Toaster Muffins, which breaks this week from Burnett. The campaign humorously follows the emotions a baker goes through when the new portable Toaster Muffins put him out of business. Print ads in November issues will play off scenes from the TV spots; outdoor will feature ads for the Toaster Muffins that the