The campaign is meant to tap into the growing trend of dads
buying groceries. More than half of men ages 18 to 64 identify
themselves as the primary shopper in the household, but only 22 %
to 24% feel that packaged-goods advertising is speaking to them,
according to a recent survey of 2,400 U.S. men by Yahoo. Also,
Kellogg and Leo Burnett say they have found that more dads are
eating Frosted Flakes along with their children.
"Dads love to share the things that he is passionate about with
his kid and Frosted Flakes and sports are two of those things,"
said Kellogg Senior Marketing Director AnneMarie Suarez-Davis.
The campaign -- which will air during adult programming on
networks including ESPN -- comes as Kellogg and other food
advertisers face a new proposal by the federal government that
would all but eliminate kid-targeted ads for sugary cereals such as
Frosted Flakes. The industry, led by the Better Business Bureau's
Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative , has countered
with rules that are less strict, but still tighter than the
initiative's current guidelines. Indeed, the industry's proposal --
which would take effect in late 2013 -- would bar Kellogg from
running Frosted Flakes ads to kids unless the cereal is
reformulated to lower its sugar content. The cereal now has 11
grams of sugar per serving, while the new rules would prohibit
child-directed ads for breakfast cereals that have more than 10
grams of sugar.
The new campaign ostensibly allows Kellogg to keep Frosted
Flakes top of mind with dads (and by extension, their kids) without
running afoul of the new proposals. Still, Kellogg representatives
said the planned crackdown in no way played a role in their new
strategy. "This campaign came from the place of understanding that
there was a big opportunity on Frosted Flakes up against dad," not
in response to external pressure, Ms. Suarez-Davis said. Indeed,
Kellogg is still running a kid-focused campaign, which currently
targets Little Leaguers, including a TV ad and website featuring
baseball tips from Tony.
Of course, Tony still has his critics, including the Center for
Science in the Public Interest, whose battle with Kellogg in 2006
and 2007 led the company to adopt nutrition standards for what it
advertises to children, including barring kids' ads for products
with more than 200 calories per serving. (Frosted Flakes has
"At its best it is cynical advertising" to use a sugary cereal
character to tell kids to exercise, said CSPI litigation director
Stephen Gardner. "Eating Frosted Flakes and then going and running
around the block are not going to solve the obesity crisis," he
said. But at the same time, he said there was "nothing deceptive"
about the new dad ads and even credited Kellogg for spreading a
good message of "eating and sharing sports with your kids."
Tony's appearance has changed quite a bit over the years since
since he was first created by Leo Burnett in 1951 to sell the
then-new cereal. He's grown more muscles and now stands at
six-feet-two. But in the past few decades, his sports-themed
message has remained pretty consistent, such as a 1980s-era ad
showing Tony interacting with kids at a volleyball game and
explaining how the flakes can "bring out the tiger in you." And the
message has worked: Tony ranked No. 9 on Ad Age 's 1999 list of the
Top 10 Advertising Icons of the Century, just behind Aunt Jemima
and the Michelin Man.
Even Tony's voice remained constant, forever supplied by Thurl
Ravenscroft until he died a few years ago. Leo Burnett spent more
than six months trying to find a suitable replacement before
finally finding an actor who sounded similar. "We saw hundreds of
people, even Thurl's son we looked at," said Craig Barnard, Leo
Burnett senior VP-creative director. Tony's "voice is so
indentified with his character -- that deep, loving, tender voice."
(He declined to name the replacement, although he said it is not
Meantime, at age 60, Tony endures, outliving his mother, Mama
Tony; his wife, Mr. . Tony; his daughter, Antoinette; and son, Tony
Jr. -- who were all introduced over the years but later