Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quaker Oats Preps 'Amazing' Plan

Aug 24, 2010

Consumers these days just don't have a lot of time on their hands. PepsiCo-owned Quaker Oats, however, hopes to be able to get them to stop and think—even if it's just for a moment—about the benefits of eating breakfast. Preferably, a Quaker breakfast.

Toward that end, a new campaign tagged, "Does your breakfast make you amazing?" launches next week. The effort is part of PepsiCo's push to grow sales of its Quaker business, which has faced private label pressure, but more importantly, a general category decline. (Agencies Juniper Park and OMD handle.)

The initiative also coincides with the launch of new products—including hot cereals and customizable, kid-friendly creations—to make oatmeal top of mind for many breakfast-skipping consumers. Per Quaker's research, an overwhelming majority of Americans say eating breakfast is important, but fewer than half of them actually do so. The company has also teamed up with Bob Harper, co-host of NBC's The Biggest Loser, to remind on-the-go consumers why they shouldn't skip the most important meal of the day.

Quaker CMO Kirsten Lynch (pictured above) spoke with Brandweek about the new effort:

Brandweek: Quaker Oats is launching a new campaign next week. Tell us about it.
Kirsten Lynch: The new campaign is all about stopping consumers and provoking them with one simple question: "Does your breakfast make you amazing?" It includes TV and print ads, as well as a whole online component and a consumer engagement program.

How did Quaker come up with the idea for it?
We've done research, and over 90 percent of consumers believe that breakfast is important. We see breakfast growing slightly, but over half of Americans still are not eating breakfast on a regular basis. . . . So, the idea is to really stop consumers with a thought-provoking question: "Does your breakfast make you amazing?" And to get them to think about how crucial eating breakfast is. And also that not all breakfasts are created equal, and Quaker is a great choice for breakfast.

Why are so many Americans not eating breakfast?
People are leading hectic lives. Look at what is going on with the economy. There's a lot of pressure on people and [eating breakfast] is about time and [it's also about] making it a priority.

Give us a snapshot of some of the creative elements.
We've got a great print campaign that shows the amazing potential of people every day when they have breakfast. We have a TV campaign that will launch that has an equity component of showing again the amazing potential of people when they eat breakfast. It also highlights the new [product news] on the business. We've got a couple of elements that are really critical here: We've got our core product news that we are sharing. [Its instant oatmeal is now made with larger, whole grain oats, has a heartier texture, and three varieties have 25 percent less sugar and all natural flavors.] And we've also got some new news to back it up: Mix-Up Creations Instant Oatmeal, which is oatmeal for kids and taps into the insight that kids love to make oatmeal themselves and customize it the way they want. And then Hearty Medleys Instant Multigrain Hot Cereal is another one of our innovations that completely transforms oatmeal. It has a whole grain texture, real fruits and nuts and is targeted towards adults and boomers.

Any social media in this launch?
We're driving our consumers to Facebook as part of a consumer engagement program, where we really start to transform how we interact with them. So, [we're moving] from just communicating in a one-way dialogue with advertisements and print in traditional media to [creating] an experience that is relevant to their lives, and provides them with content and a dialogue to help them realize their full potential and be amazing. We've partnered with Bob Harper as our coach to help with that and really create that personal connection with our consumers.

Why do you think this campaign is particularly timely now?
Now, more than ever, what consumers are looking for are realness and authenticity. And so, because we embody realness and authenticity and we're a trusted brand, now is a great time for Quaker to really be able to step it up and play a leadership role. It's about what we've [always] had, but it's also about what is going on in the cultural context and what consumers are really looking for in brands. And by that, I don't just mean products that stand for realness and authenticity.

What's going on in the category? Consumers, for one, are trading down to private label. Is that a big threat?
The hot cereal category, in particular, has been flat in the past three years, and then declining in the most recent. We used to believe that private label was a source of the decline, but actually, everyone is declining. The whole category is declining. This is really a category relevance [issue], and our job as the category leader is to step it up and figure out how to reinvigorate it. It gets back to this idea of, "Does your breakfast make you amazing?" and to get consumers to stop and think about what they had for breakfast and how that sets them up for their day. . . . So, it's not about a share game between us and private label. It's about taking a category leadership role.

This campaign really reminds us of Quaker Oats' big "Go humans go" ad effort last year. How does it build on that?
It's a nice evolution of where we were in 2009. With "Go humans go," we were really trying to elevate the role that the oat played and I would say that we are doing the same thing here. It's a very logical evolution and progression for us.