Unlike the somber approach typical of some health-oriented products, the company's new campaign is "trying to cut through the clutter of healthy food advertising with the absence of negatives and the presence of positives," said Steve Benoit, president of Kellogg's Ensemble Functional Foods Co.
A LIGHTHEARTED TURN
TV spots from Y&R Advertising, New York, that crank up in Ensemble's five Midwestern test markets this week, take a lighthearted turn.
The first spot, called "Try Again," is modeled after a game show, showing items in the line, such as four-cheese lasagna and blueberry miniloaves, and asking which actively lowers cholesterol.
The theme: "Good food that does great things."
'COMMUNICATE THE UNEXPECTED'
A second commercial breaks next month and follows a fictional character who talks about how he is lowering cholesterol-while digging into foods that normally do just the opposite-Ensemble's lasagna, cookies and potato crisps. "It's designed to communicate the unexpected," Mr. Benoit said, and to show the ease with which Ensemble can be grafted onto a person's diet.
That's crucial, since at least three servings of psyllium-based Ensemble will be necessary each day to lower cholesterol, hence the breadth of the line across breakfast, dinner and snacks.
The line will be shelved next to their non-cholesterol-lowering counterparts, not a separate section, and no quantification will be claimed as to how much a person can lower his or her cholesterol through using Ensemble.
A 60-second direct-response spot also will be used, directing consumers to an Ensemble program that pairs them with nutritionists via phone for counseling on cholesterol reduction. The service costs $150 for a two- to three-month period; Kellogg figures the vast majority of sales will come from the food.
Mr. Benoit wouldn't discuss what Kellogg is spending on the Ensemble launch, but it's sizable given the scope of the program.
In addition to TV in prime-time slots in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio, print will support in magazines such as McCall's and Prevention. Radio spots will support later in the year.
Also, a full professional communications program is under way to physicians, nutritionists and insurance providers; sweepstakes and events begin next month; and a major in-store sampling program is planned.
A mail solicitation will go out to a specialized list Kellogg has culled by analyzing frequent-shopper data at major retailers.
Because of this wide range of communication, Mr. Benoit said Kellogg is working with other units of ad agency parent Young & Rubicam, including Sudler & Hennessey, Wunderman Cato Johnson and Burson-Marsteller.
The stakes are potentially huge. Kellogg estimates there are 95 million adults with elevated cholesterol in the U.S.-a full 60% of households. For one-third of that total, their cholesterol registers over 240. "Doctors recommend dietary changes as the first line of treatment," he said. "That's our first opportunity."
Kellogg's regional launch will be watched closely by breakfast rivals and food companies in other categories that have tried to tap the functional food market with tepid success.
Mr. Benoit said what sets Kellogg's line apart from others, such as Campbell Soup Co.'s failed Intelligent Quisine, is that "we have an ingredient proven to actively lower cholesterol.
"We've asked consumers what they wanted and how [Ensemble] can best fit into their lifestyle," he said. "This is the kind of food they are already eating, and the substitutions will be as simple as possible without compromising on