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The Drum

Kellogg’s Special K moves away from ‘red swimsuit’ branding to muscle in on the sugar debate in £3m campaign

Katie Piper is Special K's new brand ambassador

Kellogg’s is asking the public to separate the classic ‘red swimsuit’ Special K ads of the 90s from the perceived nutritional qualities of the brand – enlisting model Katie Piper as an ambassador.

The cereal giant has shelled out £3m on a digital campaign to bust myths surrounding Special K and to reshape perceptions that it is ‘tasteless’ and ‘sugary’. The brand is looking to move away from an imagine pinned around diet plans to marketing that is focused on healthy living.

Last year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned ads from Kellogg’s after the brand claimed the product was “full of goodness,” and failed to support general health claims with specific authorised benefits

The company has since reduced the amount of sugar in the cereal by 10% as part of a wider commitment by its parent company to improve and adapt its food to meet consumer demand.

Now in a news series fronted by Piper, the company is looking to open up conversations about Special K via experimental videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

One video sees Piper take to the streets and dish out Special K’s recently launched Nourish variant, touting its nutritional values and attempting to change people’s ideas about what the healthier option tastes like.

In another spot the model asks pedestrians how much sugar they believe is in a single serving of Special K, before revealing that it amounts to one teaspoon per recommended serving.

The campaign will also include advertorial on Hearst platforms, with Woman’s Health having already hosted a social take over. It will continue to run on the publisher's platforms, such as digital banners and online videos, until September.

Special K brand manager, Emma Birks, said: “For years Special K was associated with the woman in the red dress or the two week diet challenge to fit in to your bikini. We know our customers have moved away from this style of dieting and towards nourishing their body through a healthy lifestyle – they want to eat well and feel confident the brand can deliver this."

The brand's move to wade into the health debate comes amid an ongoing conversation around sugar in the UK and the role brands have to play in policing its consumption. Just last month, MPs called on the government to introduce new advertising restrictions which would stop supermarkets discounting unhealthy food and drinks as part of strict new measures intended to tackle child obesity.