Will we all be waking up bleary-eyed to bowls of tattooed Corn Flakes any time soon? Probably not, but by suggesting that we could, Kellogg’s has hit on a winning marketing ploy.
Adverts featuring perfect families in perfect kitchens digging in harmoniously to bowls of cereals may have their merits but nothing beats the power of a neatly organised media event.
Kellogg’s pulled off such an event last week and all it had to do was publish a press release and write a few words on the social networking tool Twitter.
News that Kellogg’s may employ laser beams and mirror galvanometers to brand its logo onto individual flakes in an attempt to stamp out imitation cereals spread quickly across the internet. The Telegraph, the Metro, the Guardian and dozens of other news sites and blogs spooned up the story and swallowed the key marketing message.
Laser branded flakes would demonstrate that the cereal in a box of Corn Flakes is different to the cereal found in cheaper Supermarket creations.
At a time when private label foods are gaining ground on branded rivals, persuading consumers that Corn Flakes merit their higher price tag is a priority.
In its press release, Kellogg’s pushed the marketing message to the foreground and much of the media happily carried it free of charge to thousands of consumers.
Entitled “Kellogg’s combats fake flakes”, the press release told journalists that the company had embarked on the project to “reinforce that they don’t make cereals for any other companies and to fire a shot across the bows of makers of 'fake flakes'”
Newspapers dutifully explained to readers that laser branded flakes would help Kellogg’s stamp out imitation cereals and allow people to distinguish Corn Flakes from Corn Fakes.
"A great story"
As likely as not Kellogg’s will not end up burning its logo into cereal flakes. A spokesperson for the company told me that branded flakes were just “one of many” ideas that food technologists pass on to the marketing people at Kellogg’s. The scheme has not been trialed and the cost has not been considered but the spokesperson said the marketing team thought it made "a great story”
It is indeed a good story and in the office we all had a chuckle thinking about how Kellogg’s could apply the laser to Rice Krispies. But it is also a potentially lucrative story for Kellogg’s that may persuade some consumers to steer clear of private label cereals.
And Kellogg’s is not bound to roll out boxes of branded Corn Flakes. After all, it was enough just to tell the media that bosses were considering the idea for newspapers to tell their readers the full story.