When it comes to the crunch: A look at Kellogg's Crunchy Nut marketing overhaul

Following the overhaul of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, implemented last year, The Drum’s Stephen Lepitak speaks to marketing manager for Crunchy Nut Jenny Powell, about how the brand has turned itself around.

The trouble with Crunchy Nut, one of Kellogg’s most popular cereal brands over the past three decades, was that people had lost interest, which led it to return to the use of its most familiar slogan: ‘The trouble is, they taste too good’.The brand implemented an overhaul in 2012 in order to rebuild consumer awareness around its central selling point – the taste. The resulting campaign activity, reverting to the use of ‘The trouble is’ slogan, has led to it once again becoming the second biggest selling cereal brand for Kellogg’s, as it prepares to roll out a new chocolate variant.“We could see it in the sales figures. When we really looked at the truth behind the brand it became quite clear how we could develop a plan to turn it around,” says Jenny Powell, marketing manager forCrunchy Nut.

The previous advertising campaign, introduced in 2011, featured comedian Rob Brydon as several characters working for a breakfast TV programme, and focused on their obsession with the cereal.Powell admits however, that despite the comedic value of the campaign, it took the focus away from the brand’s core message. “They made people laugh and people realised that the food was tasty, but the food wasn’t central or driving the drama,” Powell explains.

“It was clear that we needed to focus on taste and by focusing on our previous campaign idea [‘The trouble is’] we were able to make food central to our advertising once again and really drive home eating a bowl of the cereal as the creatures are set to emerge out from a cornfield.“Now when you think of our advertising, the food is absolutely integrated into the advert and it’s the crunch that causes the trouble. That leads through to the irresistibility, and that’s really working.” Alongside the core brand, a number of Crunchy Nut variants have recently been released in an attempt to attract consumers back to the brand, including, in the last six months, Red Fruit Bites and Crunchy Nut Cranberry and Almond. They join Clusters Milk Chocolate Curls, Bites and Nuts and Caramel variants.Describing the insight into why so many variants have rolled out, Powell reveals that the team at Kellogg’s view their consumers as “magpies” who are attracted to “new and shiny” things released in-store.This is one of three “brand truths” central to the Crunchy Nut refocus. Alongside the ‘magpie’ brand truth, Powell explains: “We realised that at a point of purchase in-store we weren’t as visible as we should be. It was really clear that we needed to focus on brand saliency to turn it around.“We had high levels of consumer awareness, but it was our spontaneous awareness that had degraded over time. No one was talking about Crunchy Nut any more, we weren’t famous in that sense and our advertising wasn’t delivering.”To help turn around the problem, experiential activity became one of the core aspects of the campaign to reignite consumer awareness of the brand’s taste. This activity included pop-up ‘restaurants’ at the Manchester Arndale and Westfield White City shopping centres, where shoppers were invited to take a seat at a table and choose from a menu featuring the different Crunchy Nut variants, which were then served in a porcelain bowl. After eating their cereal, consumers were handed a branded voucher. As a result of the brand overhaul, Crunchy Nut has seen a 10 per cent uplift in sales, reaching £88m, while there has been a growth of in-store sales in recent weeks of 18 per cent. A 25 per cent increase in penetration within UK households now sees one-third of households eating the brand, Powell reveals.In the coming weeks a new £2m advertising campaign will break, promoting another new variant (Chocolate Crunchy Nut) and will feature activity devised by Leo Burnett and Carat, while The Lounge Group handles experiential.“Everything we do for this brand is about reinforcing the taste and message, whether it’s through new foods, through experiential or advertising.Fundamentally, everything going back to the root that it’s the tastiest cereal.” It seems, for now, the trouble with Crunchy Nut is at an end.

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