Lowdown: Stephen Colbert Takes on New General Mills Cereal

Tiny Toast Is Company's First Completely New Cereal Brand in 15 Years

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The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.

Tiny Toast
Tiny Toast Credit: General Mills

General Mills is out with its first completely new cereal brand in 15 years called Tiny Toast. And according to Stephen Colbert, it might be the "biggest breakfast news since Sonny the Cuckoo Bird finally went into rehab." Mr. Colbert dedicated four minutes to the cereal during his "Late Show" monologue Tuesday night, noting that General Mills "finally found a new way to combine sugar and corn." Skrillex and Chance The Rapper even joined Mr. Colbert on stage to rap about the new brand.

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General Mills said it worked on the product -- its first truly new brand since the discontinued Harmony cereal debuted in 1991 -- for more than a year. "People told us that both varieties tasted real, and not fake like they typically associate with fruit-flavored cereals," General Mills Product Developer Mike Evenson said in the company's blog, Taste of General Mills. "We heard from several consumers that the Blueberry Tiny Toast tastes like a blueberry muffin, which is just awesome praise. That's exactly what we were going for. When we heard that, we knew we were on to something good." General Mills said it did not pay for the mention on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert."

Dos Toros is out with its first advertising campaign, #NoBull, from BigEyedWish.
Dos Toros is out with its first advertising campaign, #NoBull, from BigEyedWish. Credit: BigEyedWish for Dos Toros Taqueria

Speaking of tiny: Small (but growing) Mexican chain Dos Toros Taqueria is out with its first advertising campaign. The out-of-home campaign from creative agency BigEyedWish uses a little bit of an attitude to push against other chains with the line #NoBull. While Dos Toros does not mention struggling industry behemoth Chipotle Mexican Grill specifically, it does draw attention to things such as transparency and pricing. Lines in the campaign, which breaks Wednesday, include "We're crazy to charge $.92 for guac, You are if you pay $2.30." Dos Toros has 10 locations, all in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and plans to open 15 to 20 new spots in the next three years, including expansion into Boston and Chicago. The campaign is set to run throughout the summer in subways, subway stations and bus shelters.

PepsiCo is fighting back against charges levied by a boutique ad agency that claims the beverage giant stole its Super Bowl idea. At issue is a spot that ran during this year's game showing Janelle MonĂ¡e walking through three rooms, dancing to three different songs from three different time periods. It ends with her remake of the old "Joy of Pepsi" jingle. The Marketing Arm was credited with the spot. But in a lawsuit filed Thursday, Betty Advertising of Connecticut alleges that the idea came from a concept they first pitched to PepsiCo late last year that was called "All Kinds/Living Jukebox." The suit alleges Betty's idea involved the following: "Every time the hero character enters a new room, the genre of music and dance style immediately switches to reflect a new vibe in that room." The agency alleges that it never gave up intellectual rights for the concept. In a statement to Ad Age, a PepsiCo spokeswoman said: "This lawsuit is without merit and we plan to vigorously defend ourselves." A Marketing Arm spokesman did not immediately return an email request for comment. The lawsuit was first reported by the Associated Press. Here is the ad that ran in the Super Bowl:

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Ghostbusters-themed Papa John's Pizza Card.
Ghostbusters-themed Papa John's Pizza Card. Credit: Papa John's/Business Wire

Papa John's will promote and appear in the upcoming new "Ghostbusters" film. The pizza chain made its announcement on Wednesday, also apparently now known as Ghostbusters Day in honor of the date the original "Ghostbusters" film was released in 1984. Papa John's said its "Ghostbusters" plan is its biggest film integration to date, including appearing in the movie, a new limited-time product and pizza box related to the film, and a campaign with a new TV commercial "featuring one of the most iconic Ghostbusters characters," set to debut on June 27. Of course, Papa John's isn't the only brand tying itself to the movie. "Ghostbusters," which hits theaters on July 15, already spawned the return of Hi-C Ecto Cooler.

Charmin v Scott.
Charmin v Scott. Credit: Walmart.com

Predictive data modeling has come to toilet-paper advertising, but the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus isn't buying it. The NAD has recommended Procter & Gamble Co. discontinue claims in ads for Charmin backed in part on predictive modeling of how long it takes people to use rolls of its brand vs. Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Scott 1000. The NAD determined the predictive model didn't provide adequate substantiation for Charmin Ultra Mega Rolls' "Last Longer" and "More 'Go's' Per Roll" claims vs. Scott 1000. The NAD was also concerned that P&G did other testing on its Double Rolls to substantiate claims for how long its Ultra Mega Rolls would last (though the latter is actually bigger). P&G in a statement said it would make the modifications recommended by NAD and "continues to have great respect for the industry self-regulatory process."

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum limited-edition black bottle.
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum limited-edition black bottle. Credit: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

It seems like every brand in America is getting into the patriotic packaging trend this summer -- but no one is showing as much skin as Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. The brand this week unveiled its take on patriotism, which involves putting an image of a pin-up model in a patriotic bikini on limited-edition bottles. The graphic is artwork from "the undisputed father of old-school tattooing, Norman 'Sailor Jerry' Collins, for whom the rum is inspired," according to the brand.

Pfizer has launched a corporate branding campaign from HealthWork, a joint venture of Omnicom's BBDO and CDM, focused on the stories behind development of cures. "Our hope is that if more people understand what it takes to bring a new medicine to patients that together we can create a better environment for discovering treatments," a spokeswoman said. The digital, TV and print campaign includes a micro-documentary on Pfizer Senior VP and Group Lead of Oncology-Rinat R&D Bob Abraham and lung cancer patient Matt Hiznay at Pfizer.com/discover and a 60-second spot featuring five Pfizer cancer researchers who each have a personal stake in finding cures.

Decision-making is hard; some shoppers apparently need to be told exactly what to buy. According to a new study from brand experience agency Momentum Worldwide and shopper marketing design consultancy ChaseDesign, 60% of buyers want shopper tech to identify the right product to purchase. The report found that retailers need to enhance their brick-and-mortar experiences with technology to create more seamless shopping with mobile devices. Survey participants also said they would like technology to show them how to maximize product use and provide information on what others are buying.

Finally, an executive move:

Michele Buck.
Michele Buck. Credit: The Hershey Company/Business Wire

Hershey promoted Michele Buck to the role of EVP-chief operating officer after more than a decade in various roles at the candy marketer. Ms. Buck continues to report to Chairman, President and CEO John Bilbrey and lead Hershey's North American operations, and now also oversees operations in Central and South America. Hershey said supply chain, sales, marketing, innovation, research and development, and consumer and shopper analytics and insights capabilities report to her. Ms. Buck joined Hershey in 2005 and most recently served as president of Hershey's North America business, which accounts for more than 85% of the company's revenue.

Contributing: Jessica Wohl, Jack Neff, E.J. Schultz, Adrianne Pasquarelli

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