Quaker Kicks Off Brand Campaign in Times Square

Massive Oatmeal Giveaway Aims to Boost Entire Portfolio

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Quaker Foods launched a yearlong campaign in New York's Times Square this morning with a massive breakfast giveaway, part of its cause-marketing effort to combat hunger. The campaign -- themed "Go, humans, go" -- is the first work from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which nabbed the account last fall. Quaker's business was previously with Element 79, Chicago.

Celebrity chef Art Smith, who has cooked for the First Family and Oprah Winfrey, serves oatmeal at the Quaker Oats giveaway in Times Square this morning.
Celebrity chef Art Smith, who has cooked for the First Family and Oprah Winfrey, serves oatmeal at the Quaker Oats giveaway in Times Square this morning. Credit: AP/The Quaker Oats Co., Diane Bondareff
Quaker Chief Marketing Officer Annie Young-Scrivner said the work represents a more "holistic" approach to Quaker products by leveraging the iconic Quaker man, a property that has about 100% recall with consumers, she said. Ms. Young-Scrivner said while consumers are getting more interested in oats, and the Quaker brand has a lot of equity, there's some confusion about the breadth the company's product line. As a result, the campaign aims to pump up the entire portfolio -- and the health benefits of oats -- rather than a particular product. "This helps [consumers] understand what else they can buy from Quaker," she said.

Teaser billboards with the Quaker man's face and the new tagline began appearing in select cities earlier this month. In broadcast-TV work, a man is propelled into the sky with a jet pack made from two Quaker Oat canisters. "The message is that Quaker can fuel you and give you sustained energy throughout the day," Ms. Young-Scrivner said.

The company is hosting a food drive to benefit New York-area hunger organizations. As part of the promotion, Quaker will also offer 100 "Go Grants" of $500 apiece to consumers interested in working with local hunger organizations. Consumers can also get involved on a more hands-off basis: The company will donate a bowl of oatmeal for every Quaker-oat UPC code entered on its website.

Teaser billboards with the Quaker man's face and the new tagline began appearing in select cities earlier this month.
Teaser billboards with the Quaker man's face and the new tagline began appearing in select cities earlier this month.
The Chicago-based PepsiCo division will also boost the power of oats on Bravo's "Top Chef" in one of the show's signature "Quickfire Challenges" on March 27.

Quaker is seizing on two big trends in marketing: massive sampling and community activism. Denny's gave away 2 million Grand Slam breakfasts after the Super Bowl. IHOP, Quiznos and Coke's Vault have followed suit. On the volunteerism front, Starbucks offered a free cup of coffee to every American that pledged to do five hours of community service following the inauguration.

Quaker is handling digital and event work in-house. Edelman handles public relations, and OMD is the company's media-buying agency.

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