In 2014, Kellogg’s launched a new television ad campaign and I remember thinking, “this commercial is brilliant.” The message was a bit overt, sure – but it was smart. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_WBlyZ8wNw

While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, and while breakfast offerings have grown dramatically, cereal sales have been steadily declining for almost a decade. Cereal as we know it is made up of all the terrible ingredients we’re told to stay away from: sugar (bad!), artificial colorings (bad!), artificial flavorings (bad!), high fructose corn syrup (the worst!). It’s no wonder the category is suffering.

Big-brand cereal had been marketing itself the same way to kids for years: it tastes gr(rrrr)eat, has fun characters, comes with prizes and goes well with milk (good for strong bones, mom!). But cereal’s biggest fans from the 80s and 90s have grown up. They’re parents now and they make the purchasing decisions. They know more about where food comes from and how it affects their bodies, so they’re seeking much healthier breakfast options for their families.

So how can brands with dying product lines an increasingly obsolete offerings stay relevant? If parents aren’t willing to buy cereal for their kids, what could Kellogg’s do to up the ante and show that it still knew how to lead a category?

This is where I think they went right. For the first time since 2008, our economy is on the incline. Consumers are more willing than ever to indulge in new food experiences when they have money to spend. And here is where I think Kellogg’s saw its opportunity to change the game. It’s common knowledge every parent misses their own childhood. Today’s adults have fond memories of rollerblading, watching Pee-Wee Herman, playing Nintendo and pouring huge bowls of Apple Jacks when they got home from school (wait, was that just me?).

So why not combine consumers’ inherent sense of nostalgia with their eagerness to indulge? So in 2014, in its newest ad campaign, Kellogg’s stopped trying to convince everyone its cereals were a healthy breakfast choice and started embracing its venerability.

And, with the opening of the first-ever Cereal Café in NYC this summer, Kellogg’s is successfully bringing this entire concept to life right in front of our eyes. In partnership with renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi, the restaurant is telling us it’s okay – and even super cool – to enjoy Kellogg’s cereal. That the flavors you know and love can be combined with unique, modern ingredients by Tosi to become interesting new dessert applications. That Corn Pops pair well with homemade blueberry jam, lemon zest and sea salt. That an old brand we all assumed was stuck in the 90s is actually willing to learn new things.

Kellogg’s is relevant again, at least for now. It came up with the perfect recipe for combining new with old and commercial with artisanal, and the result is a treat you feel great about enjoying any time with your family. 

Posted by Gennifer Horowitz