Many food and beverage brands are pruning their product lines, but Kellogg's Special K is definitely not among them.
The latest additions -- Special K Low-Fat Granola and Special K Fruit Crisps -- join a line that already includes eight varieties of cereal, plus protein shakes, K20 Protein Water Mixes, protein snack bars, protein meal bars, cereal bars, waffles and crackers, according to the brand's Web site.
The brand's weight-management, "Special K Challenge" platform has, in other words, enabled it to move well beyond the cereal aisle, to stake out territory in the diet/nutrition, snack, cracker and frozen food aisles -- and provide women with reasons to turn to its products throughout the day.
While some marketing pundits have expressed doubt about the viability of new extensions along the way (David Kiley predicted on BusinessWeek.com back in 2006 that Special K would soon be running up against the pitfalls of "brand extension greed," for example), they keep coming.
The reason isn't hard to identify: Repositioning the brand as a multifaceted weight-management solution for women -- particularly within an increasingly sophisticated marketing strategy that emphasizes healthy, realistic goals and lifestyles that contribute to self-esteem -- has proven extremely successful.
"We know from talking with weight-conscious consumers that they are looking for products that help them stay on track with weight-management goals without sacrificing great taste" or feeling that they are depriving themselves, Kellogg Company director, brand PR Susanne Norwitz tells Marketing Daily. "It is with this goal in mind that we are constantly evaluating our portfolio and offering up new and creative meal and snack solutions for consumers to enjoy."
The brand's well-researched emphasis on achieving sensible, overall weight/health goals is more evident than ever in its latest TV commercials from Leo Burnett Chicago. The series of ads features "real" women expressing and achieving attainable weight and physical fitness goals, as opposed to featuring rail-thin models ... or even touting specific Special K products.
In addition to airing a barrage of these spots timed to start off the New Year, Special K launched a new Web site (thevictoryproject. msn.com) devoted to tools, tips, articles, discussion areas and video profiles of women succeeding at implementing healthier lifestyle plans.
Not surprisingly, Special K is also employing online and social media outreach for its product launches.
For example, for the launch of the low-fat granola (50% less fat than the "leading" granola, with 190 calories and six grams of protein per serving), Special K previewed the cereal to thousands of women visiting the Special K Web site in January looking for New Year's resolution tips/information, according to Kellogg. Visitors were greeted with a simple invitation: "Granola lovers wanted." Special K also reached out to brand advocates via an email and its branded Facebook page.
In addition, having laid the foundation with the general lifestyle commercials, starting Feb. 1, Special K will begin airing TV spots devoted to the new granola. Those will be accompanied by coupon offers on SpecialK.com, Facebook and other online media.
As for Special K Fruit Crisps -- two fruit-filled snack bars per pack totaling 100 calories -- the launch plan includes PR supporting the product's debut on shelves this month, a TV spot airing in the first two quarters of the year, and additional digital support in Q3, reports Norwitz. In addition, the crisps will be featured as part of TV support between February and March, and again in July as part of new creative supporting Special K Bars.