Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grrrr! Tony the Tiger exploits children, parents and the entire grass-roots community movement

Normally I'm all for rebranding efforts, especially if say, your brand happens to be especially unhealthful, loaded with sugar and empty calories. But when I saw Kellogg's latest Frosted Flakes advertising campaign, complete with a Super Bowl ad, beautifully-designed website, theme song and a mission statement-- I thought: wow, the Kellogg's ad execs (or Leo Burnett) are either really onto something or this is one of the most egregious advertising campaigns I've seen in years. Are we really supposed to buy into the "Plant a seed. Nurture it. Help it Grow" concept from Tony The Junk Food Tiger?

Check out the campaign mission statement:
"Kellogg's Frosted Flakes believes that every kid should have a place to be active and play hard so they can be their very best. But as communities everywhere face difficult financial decisions, many are finding themselves without the funds they need to maintain their local playing fields. This is why we are committed to rebuilding athletic fields across America. On the right field, it's amazing what you can grow.
Here's the fine print listed in the Official Rules: 30 grand prizes will be awarded to local playfields in need of makeovers. Each amount will not exceed $15,000. Not including the cost of the website, publicity or the Super Bowl ad spot, which I'm sure was substantial-- Kellogg's contribution to this worthy cause will not exceed $450,000. This amount is essentially a drop in the pan for Kellogg's-- money that could have been spent on a campaign that is more in line with Frosted Flakes branding, personality and core values.

My final verdict? It' not a bad campaign. In fact, it's a very, very good campaign that just happens to be paired with the wrong brand. If a sporting brand were to embark on the same mission, it would be a perfect fit. Cause-related marketing is one of the best ways to engage your audience and do something good and Kellogg's simply missed the mark. Big time. If I were Kellogg's next time I'd choose something that makes them look less like a bunch of Frosted Fakes and more like a grrrreat cereal brand that understands the nuances of its target audience.

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