Healthy snack efforts

By Published on .

There's a whole lot of innovation coming in wholesome snacks and with it, a whole lot of advertising.

Under new parent PepsiCo, Quaker Oats Co. hopes to continue the momentum of its granola bar business with the January launch of new chocolate-covered Quaker Chewy Dipps and a Bites version of its Fruit & Oatmeal Bars, which will collectively be supported with an estimated $30 million in media. The ads were created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, which is losing the PepsiCo accounts to a new Omnicom Group agency.

Kellogg Co., meanwhile, will aim to reassert its leadership in the category with the February launch of a new line of Nutri-Grain Yogurt Bars, followed in May with Nutri-Grain Minis. Together, the new products will receive upwards of $20 million in marketing support in 2002 via Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

The high expenditures follow a year of minimal spending for the snack bar brands. Quaker spent a mere $7.5 million in measured media on its Chewy Granola and Fruit & Oatmeal Bars in January through August, while Kellogg spent only $5 million in the same period for Nutri-Grain and Rice Krispies Treats, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Although Quaker is second to Kellogg in the $1.5 billion snack and granola bar category, its sales grew 7.4% to $246 million for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 7-despite a lack of advertising. During the same time frame, Kellogg sales in the category fell 10.2% to $299 million, according to Information Resources, Inc.

The decline, according to Jeff Johansen, VP-Morning and Wholesome Snacks at Kellogg, was the result of Kellogg's decision to cut 14 varieties (roughly $12 million worth) of the brands to fit them into newly acquired Keebler Co.'s direct sales force.

With its new Nutri-Grain Yogurt Bars, Kellogg hopes to capitalize on the strong nutritional halo of yogurt-and its household penetration of more than 70%-with an eye toward expanding the snack/granola bar category, currently found in only 27% of households.

The line also aims to combat General Mills' success with Milk `n Cereal Bars. The new Minis nod to the hand-to-mouth snacking trend that has driven explosively successful mini versions in other categories.

Nutri-Grain's marketing effort bows in January, initially touting the base brand, being restaged with 10% more fruit and new package graphics. Introductory ads for the new varieties will follow in spring and summer. Instead of relying mainly on TV advertising for the brand as it has historically, Kellogg will broaden its "Respect yourself in the morning" campaign created by Burnett to include print, in-store and out-of-home media-including bar coasters reminding New Year's Eve revelers of New Year's Day resolutions.

Rice Krispies Treats advertising, due back in January after a year's hiatus, is also handled by Burnett.

Quaker, meanwhile, will put "record levels" of support behind its three new indulgent Dipps varieties, intended for teens and adults, and Fruit & Oatmeal Bites, positioned to moms as fun snacks for young kids.

Quaker will also relaunch its fast-growing Crispy Minis Rice Cakes brand under the Quakes name in January to capitalize on the product's crunchiness and the Quaker equity, according to company spokesman Mark Dollins.

The initiatives for the Quaker brands will be handled by FCB.

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