Friday, April 18, 2008

Marketing Memo: Mega-Food Marketer Kellogg Co. is Launching a Line of Hip, Urban Streetwear as a Way To Earn Some 'Street Cred' From Younger Consumers

Mega-food company and breakfast cereal brand king Kellogg Co. isn't historically known as a hip and edgy brand marketer.

In fact, for decades since it's founding as the conservative food company from Battle Creek, Michigan which specializes in iconic breakfast cereal brands like Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Frosty Flakes, Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies, along with 22 other varieties, it has been a generally conservative and mainstream food product marketer.
However, Kellogg Co. did start moving into the natural foods segment a few years ago. First it acquired the natural foods brands Worthington and Loma Linda, which it still owns. Both are all natural brands of canned and frozen all-natural, vegetarian healthy foods products. Kellogg's has expanded both brands to include additional varieties of both canned vegetarian items and healthy frozen entrees.

A little later Kellogg's acquired the Morningstar Farms brand of healthy and vegetarian frozen and refrigerated entrees, side dishes and breakfast items, which it has grown considerably in the last few years.

The mega-food marketer then followed these acquisitions up by buying the Kashi natural foods brand, which at the time was primarily a line of all-natural and organic cereals with a couple other items like cereal bars under the Kashi brand name.

Kellogg's currently markets six different varieties of Kashi brand cereal, ranging from the original Golean variety to the newer Heart-to-Heart heart-healthy line. There also are energy and breakfast bars and snacks under the Kashi brand, as well as frozen foods items.

Most recently, the $11 billion a year food company acquired two strong natural foods brands: natural and organic Bare Naked Granola, a line of granola-based cereals and Garden Burger, the healthy soy-based line of burgers and related items. Both acquisitions fit perfectly with Kellogg's core natural and organic foods business, which is breakfast cereals and related items and healthy and vegetarian-based meals and breakfast foods.

In many ways the Battle Creek food and cereal maker and marketers' move into the natural foods sector shouldn't be a surprise. Not only is it a smart marketer that has spotted the huge potential of the natural and organic categories, but Kellogg's actually has its roots in making and selling healthy cereal such as All Bran and the original Kellogg's Corn Flakes, which contained no sugar or other artificial sweeteners.

Of course, it then got into sugar-sweet cereals like all of the other major cereal marketers because frankly that was--and to a large degree still is--hot. The company's best-selling cereal brands remain its sugar-filled cereals such as Frost Flakes, Fruit Loops, Frosted Mini Wheats, Apple Jacks and others.

However, even with its key brands the company has been coming out with reduced sugar varieties, as well as bulking up the cereals with more whole grains and fiber in recognition of the healthy eating trend.

Kellogg Co. also is a major maker and marketer of crackers and cookies, including mainstream brands like Keebler, Sunshine and Austin, specialty brands like Carrs and Famous Amos, and natural brands under the Kashi label.

The company also markets high sugar content snack items like Kellogg's Pop Tarts and Kellogg's Rice Krispy Treats, but also offers health snack items like Kashi granola and cereal bars and Stretch Island Fruit Leathers, which is another natural foods company it acquired.

Lastly, Kellogg's has extended its brands into a mainstream line of products it calls its specialty channel offerings. These items include Kellogg's Graham Cracker Pie Crust, Keebler Ice Cream Cones and a handful of other items.

Kellogg's gets hip with new line of urban streetwear

The purpose of the brief history above of Kellogg Co., from conservative mainstream food product and breakfast cereal marketer to a more diversified food company which is increasingly looking to the natural and organic foods categories for new growth and sales, is simply to show an evolution in the development of the mega food company, including growth in the natural channel via acquisitions.

With that diversification, as well as general changes in the culture and spirit of the times over the years, Kellogg's has decided it needs to create a bit more edgy and hip image for its brands.

As a way to do this, the company has launched a line of Kellogg-branded "urban design" apparel in partnership with the popular urban clothing design company Under the Hood. "Under the Hood" is one of the hottest new lines of clothing to hit the market, and has an urban streetwear, hip-hop style to its designs.

The Kellogg's-branded items in the line include: Kellogg's Corn Flakes-logo hip T-Shirts and pants; Fruit Loops-branded pants with the famous Fruit Loops' parrot logo on the pants' pockets, along with Fruit Loop T-shirts; Tony the Tiger Kellogg's Frosted Flakes emblazoned T-shirts, jackets and sweat pants; Honey Smacks cereal Jeans and Shirts; Jackets, pants and shirts featuring the famous Keebler Elves and other branded clothing items. Items also include shoes and "hoodies," the trendy and popular light jackets worn by young men and woman.

The Kellogg's-branded urban wear apparel line created and produced by Under the Hood is designed to appeal to young, hip kids and young adults. And, since that is the super-popular "Under the Hood" clothing companies target market--the line should do very well.

The hip street wear also is designed to strengthen sales of Kellogg's cereal and other food products among the younger demographic, as well as to help create a more hip and edgy image withing this target market for the brands.

Since the urban-style and hip hop scene which goes with it appeals to young people of all races, along with the fact that suburban youth love it as much as urban residents, the Kellogg's-branded apparel should reach a wide target audience.

The idea is to mesh a person's lifestyle with what one eats. It's sociographics mixed with psychographics, along with identity marketing.

We expect the hip streetwear line to do well because of the association with Under the Hood, which is such a hot clothing company and line right now many of its items are back ordered by consumers.

We also expect to see lots of cross-marketing by Kellogg's of its cereals and the branded urban streetwear clothing items. For example, offers on the back of cereal and snack foods item packages, in-store point-of-sale displays, giveaways and media advertising in hip publications targeted to the same demographic as Under the Hood's clothes are.

In terms of the quality of the Kellogg's-branded streetwear from Under the Hood, we recently talked to a 16 year old who bought a Tony the Tiger T-shirt, Jacket and pair of black sweat pants with Tony embossed on all three items of clothing. His comment when we asked how he liked the three items of Kellogg's-branded streetwear? He said, mimicking Tony the Tiger..."There Grrreat!

No comments: