Food & Drink Influencer Marketing Marketing

The Drum-branded Pop-Tarts? How to create a food & drink-themed brand extension


By Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter

February 22, 2024 | 9 min read

For our Food & Drink Focus, we find out first-hand what goes into edible product innovation.

Collection of toaster strudels with The Drum logo

The Drum, but make it a snack / Juicy Brick

It seems that every celeb and influencer has a booze brand, runs a sweet shop, sells baby food or hawks hot sauce. So, why can’t the marketing industry’s leading publication?

Finding out how it works so you don’t have to, we’ve been playing the part of an influencer looking to bring a branded product to market lightning-fast, all with the help of Juicy Brick, a product innovation agency capitalizing on this emerging market.

So, how did we get on?

Stage 1: The Pitch

We drew up a brief for Juicy Brick that set out The Drum’s founding story from its humble roots in 90s Glasgow to one of the world’s biggest marketing platforms.

We included The Drum’s values and mission to help marketers make better decisions and laid out our publication’s unique editorial POV. We also handed over our audience and demographic data and set out where we would like to grow our readership.

After a first round of market research, the agency uncovered three trends that The Drum could tap into.

1. Retro snacking, but make it 2024

  • Fashion, music, make-up and now even snacks are having a 00s moment.

  • Brands are leaning toward bold, maximalist colors and flavors.

  • Functional ingredients that give nostalgic snacks a health upgrade.

  • An opportunity to bring back jingles, mascots and back-of-pack games.

2. Good for the gut, good for the brain

  • The gut is having a moment with more thought about how the gut and mind are linked.

  • Demand for products with functional ingredients promoting gut health, such as fiber, prebiotics and resistant starch.

3. Inspired by sea life

  • Growing concern for environmental sustainability has led to a shift in consumer preferences towards more eco-friendly food options.

  • Seeing sea life popping up from Kelp burgers to sea moss crisps, uber-posh tinned fish to mainstream alternatives to caviar popping up all over the shop.

We thought the retro-snacking route was a good fit for The Drum, especially the bit about bringing back jingles and old adverts. We thought a parody of some classic ads would be very fun as part of the marketing.

Gut health didn’t do it for us; it’s a bit too big a trend and it feels like it would be hard to break that market or to find a clever way in for our publication. The fish idea also didn’t feel aligned – although tinned fish but in an oil drum, anyone?

After digging into the trends, Juicy Brick came up with three concepts…

Stage 2: The Concept

Concept 1: Low-fat, snacking rice cakes

  • Rice cakes are typically low in calories, making them a guilt-free snack that won’t contribute to excessive calorie intake, promoting sustained energy levels.

  • Developed with whole grains, providing complex carbohydrates that release energy gradually.

  • Could create buildable snacks – think ‘adult Lunchables.’

Concept 2: Functional toaster strudels

  • Pop-Tarts have been a household item in the US for decades, but never quite hit it big in the UK. The Drum could pave the market for a protein-rich, functional morning routine snack.

  • Unlike traditional Pop-Tarts, healthier alternatives would be made with natural sugars to avoid brain burnout.

Concept 3: ‘Morning beat’

  • An adaptogen-infused mineral mix blends sachet or tin to make a low-caffeine coffee or frappuccino.

  • Sachets and tins to be infused with adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and rhodiola to help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being.

Initial launch idea

  • Start your day off right with ‘Beat of The Drum’ a morning rave.

  • A brightly colored wall of different brain pump coffee infusion powders to infuse into your coffee, all made with superfood ingredients.

  • Post-rave reading pods where guests can take their drinks and receive a sensory experience of calm music with diffusions of matching scents and printed stories from The Drum.

Rice crackers felt a bit too dry (literally) for The Drum, although an ‘adult Lunchable’ idea could work, especially with the tie-in to the nostalgic element. We ruled out an idea linked to caffeine as Marketing Brew is a competitor. We also felt the concept felt a bit too tech bro for The Drum.

Toaster strudels or waffles won us over and we immediately imagined The Drum logo-shaped toaster snack. Since most offices have a toaster, it felt like a logical place for a trade publication to be. There is a good hook around avoiding burnout in advertising while preventing your toaster snack from burning. Could it also be positioned as a pre-pitch ritual?

For the launch concept, we liked the link to music. But we like to think The Drum is a bit more The Strokes than David Guetta. Think of a sticky dive bar with guitars and drums rather than a rave.

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The Drum toaster snack concepts

Stage 3: The Product

Introducing the Beats toaster strudel

  • Working name ‘Beats’ as a riff on drumming, mixed with not wanting to miss a beat with your work.

  • Marketing phraseology around ‘this isn’t just any tart’ or ‘we make sure our pastries don’t burn, do the same for your brain.’

  • Pop-Tarts could be embossed with The Drum logo.

The Basement pop-up launch idea

  • A basement staging reminiscent of 70s and 80s American sitcoms.

  • Plenty of furniture, instruments to jam with, fantastic sound system and record player.

  • A wall full of vintage toasters to be able to try out the new The Drum product.

  • Reading pods where guests can take their toaster pastry and coffee to catch up on the latest news on The Drum.

Now we’ve picked a concept and planned the product launch, the next stage is to scope out manufacturing costs as well as distribution. This info will form the foundation of the business and investor plan. Then, it goes into product development after that stage, with the first batch of samples to be created for sign-off.

Then comes packaging and marketing materials, along with web development and a social strategy. The final part will be devising an influencer and PR gifting plan and arranging the pre-launch event. The Drum could expect to pay upwards of $18,000 (£15,000) for the project.

So, how about it? Would you buy The Drum’s retro toaster snacks for your office?

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