"They needed something to chew on," says Jenny Lewelling, 30, then Yoplait marketing manager at General Mills and now marketing manager-new product development of the company's joint venture with Nestle, Cereal Partners Worldwide.
Ms. Lewelling gave consumers something to chew on: Yoplait Crunch 'N Yogurt. In regular and light versions, the product packaged a cereal mix-in in a separate compartment atop the yogurt container.
"We had seen a small regional brand [do this] although the execution was not what it could have been," says Ms. Lewelling, who credits research & development with new flavors that appealed to consumers from the shelf.
"Because the package design had topping in a separate compartment, it made it look like a lot of product," she says. "Looking bigger makes it look more substantial."
To convey the image that Crunch 'N Yogurt could satisfy a hunger, introductory advertising by DDB Needham Worldwide featured a man eating Crunch 'N Yogurt as part of a campaign themed, "Do It For You." Typical yogurt advertising features women consuming the product.
"That was fairly unusual. To show a man got the idea across," Ms. Lewelling recalls.
General Mills knew it had a winner when, three months into the launch, sales were going briskly and no national competition emerged.
"We were the first ones providing what seemed to be an obvious need," Ms. Lewelling says.
Consumers apparently think so, too. According to Information Resources Inc., sales of Crunch 'N Yogurt for the 52 weeks ended in February had jumped 137% from the same period in 1993, to $43.7 million.
Ms. Lewelling says the key to the success of Crunch 'N Yogurt is that the practicality of the product made it difficult for consumers to say no.
Crunch 'N Yogurt "was a head nodder. It made a lot of sense," says Ms. Lewelling. "Those are things that tend to be big successes, even though they are hard to think of sometimes."