THE MARKETING 100; BOB LOWE;BLUEBERRY MORNING

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Just when it seemed it couldn't get any better than bananas and nuts, Post topped itself again-this time with fresh blueberries.

Shortly after its outstanding success with Banana Nut Crunch, the Kraft Foods division introduced Blueberry Morning in May 1994 and became the first leading cereal marketer to use real blueberries in a brand.

It was Bob Lowe, director for new business at Post, who convinced senior executives to invest in a technology that has enabled consumers to go bananas over blueberries.

"Blueberries are one of the quintessential fruits of summer," says Mr. Lowe, 40. "This [new technology] allows consumers to taste summer all year long."

But packaging the preservative-free berries was risky business. The all-natural drying process used to keep boxed berries fresh was not only expensive, but brand new to the mass market. Yet Mr. Lowe was confident consumers would buy it.

"One of the things we recognized was that because blueberries are not available year-round, that created a real demand in the off season," he says.

A media blitz from Grey Advertising announced Blueberry Morning's arrival with TV spots, coupons in Sunday newspapers and in-store sampling.

The cereal's "real, whole blueberries" from the fertile fields of Maine and Nova Scotia, naturally, were the pitch.

The marketing and manufacturing investment paid off: Blueberry Morning garnered the highest scores in concept testing in Post history. After only eight months on the shelves, the brand claimed $47 million in sales, or a 0.6% share in the stiffly competitive $8.1 billion cereal bowl, according to Information Resources Inc.

Blueberry Morning is now the second Post cereal in two consecutive years-after years of lagging near dead last in the category-to garner success; 1993's Banana Nut Crunch posted whopping sales of $84 million in its first year.

`Consumers are looking for a variety of tastes, and as their tastes change, you want to provide them with unique eating experiences," says Mr. Lowe, who you might say has found some thrill on Blueberry Hill.

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