The Keebler deal, which is not expected to gain traction until early 2003, is clearly a vote of confidence in the Walt Disney Co. alliance Kellogg forged last September. That's significant, since the first new products to come from the deal-Mickey's Magix, Hunny Bs and Buzz Blasts cereals-have all just hit the shelves.
"The share numbers [for the Disney cereals] so far are looking great," said Jeff Montie, president of Morning Foods at Kellogg. He added the launch is intended to grow Kellogg's portfolio in the growing kids' cereal }segment, where the company "doesn't have a breadth of brands."
However, some Disney products now starting to invade stores are underwhelming retailers. Early marks on Coca-Cola Co.'s Disney-themed Minute Maid juices-Extreme Coolers and Hundred Acre Wood 100% Juices-are much less stellar.
"The line is doing horribly," said one East Coast retail executive. "Everyone was hoping that [the Minute Maid juices] were going to grow their category, and they haven't." Already, he said, Minute Maid has lowered the promotion price in some stores for what were intended to be higher-margin products.
Sales for the juices reached $23 million as of Dec. 30, according to Information Resources Inc., and a company spokesman said the line is performing at "category-leadership levels" and "right about at expectations." Print advertising for the Hundred Acre Woods 100% Juices, based on Winnie the Pooh, broke in January with a heavy schedule; TV advertising for the Extreme Coolers is scheduled to break this month after a slight delay.
Much of the advertising for the new Disney-themed products is being handled by Leo Burnett USA, Chicago. The Bcom3 Group agency is a roster shop for Disney, Kellogg and Keebler. Although the bulk of longtime client Minute Maid's business departed the agency amid the recent shuffling of Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo agency alignments, Burnett retained the Disney Minute Maid juices as a result of its Disney expertise.
Media ad spending for the upcoming line for Keebler, which relies heavily on in-store promotions, is expected to be limited.