Get poppin'

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Kellogg Co., after costly detours, is returning to an old truth, and about time. There will be no lasting turnaround until its marketing efforts squarely tackle putting snap, crackle and pop back into its core cereal brands, where sales have been soggy for far too long.

Yes, traditional breakfast habits have changed (but rival General Mills' cereal sales are up nonetheless). Yes, Kellogg's convenience food brands -- such as Eggo, Rice Krispies Treats, Nutri-Grain bars and Pop-Tarts -- post flashier sales growth numbers. But sales momentum, or the lack of it, in cereals is critical when the category represents about 75% of a company's total sales, as it does at Kellogg. Without at least modest growth there, no turnaround can bloom over the long haul.

Kellogg's pledge to securities analysts last week that it will emphasize individual brands in its coming marketing plans, and "bring excitement back to the U.S. cereal category," is the right direction. As ever in marketing, there is always room for new products. But marketers neglect their franchise brands -- and franchise categories -- at their peril.

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