Special K Kicks Off 'Wake-Up Call' in Times Square

Digital Push Appeals to Consumers With New Year's Weight Goals

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Even as the ball drops at Times Square and millions down champagne and greasy party food, Kellogg's Special K will be reminding revelers it's time to diet.

Special K's messaging and product shots will run on Times Square billboards for the month of January.
Special K's messaging and product shots will run on Times Square billboards for the month of January.
The package-food company's brand is planning an assault on New Year's resolutions. Special K's "wake-up call" campaign kicks off on the Nasdaq and Reuters billboards in Times Square just before midnight on New Year's Eve. It will run the month of January.

New you
Consumers can text their weight-loss goals via short code "newyou" and have them displayed on the Nasdaq billboard. The Reuters billboard will work in tandem, running Special K's messaging and product shots all month. Online banner ads will support the effort, asking consumers to share their "wake-up call moments," while also driving traffic to specialk.com and the brand's Yahoo group. Another online ad will ask consumers a few questions about holiday indulgences and then react with -- you guessed it -- a corresponding wake-up call.

"With Special K's focus as a weight-management brand, we always had a marketing presence during resolution season," said Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles. Last year, Special K advertised in New York's Penn Station and Boston's Harvard Station. But Ms. Charles said the new effort "represents our most significant effort to date."

While the company appeals to consumers' diet goals, Kellogg's resolution for the New Year is greater return on investment. To that end, chief marketer Mark Baynes has said the company will cut commercial filming in the coming year by bundling products in the commercials it does make, and drive more spending online. Special K has been a leader in this push, with digital efforts for the brand surpassing broadcast ROI by a factor of more than two.

Broadcast included
Kellogg devotes 9% of total sales, or more than $1 billion, to advertising alone, making it a leader in an industry that's been stepping up marketing efforts as a whole. Kellogg's agencies are Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and Starcom.

But the company isn't bypassing broadcast in this campaign. Three 15-second spots, all pegged to a meal of the day, deal with "relatable wake-up calls women have when they've realized it's time to lose a few pounds or change their eating habits," Ms. Charles said. The company also has a 30-second spot ready to go. As for whether this signifies the beginning of a big digital year for Special K, Ms. Charles said, "We're always looking at new and unexpected ways to reach consumers, as it makes sense."

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