Special K Campaign 'Gains' Confidence, Loses Weight

This new year, Special K is putting its familiar, two-week weight-loss challenge in a new, longer-term context via a campaign themed "What Will You Gain When You Lose?"

The Special K Challenge's fundamentals are the same, but the cross-platform campaign encourages women to focus on the lasting emotional benefits of shedding extra weight -- such as more self-confidence, courage, pride in themselves -- rather than fixating on pounds.

"The Special K Challenge provides the kickstart that women are looking for in January, but this campaign's approach recognizes that for most women -- and men, for that matter -- weight loss and maintenance are a 24/7 journey," explains Mylene Pollock, creative director for Special K at the Leo Burnett agency.

Take, for example, an interactive kickoff event scheduled for Jan. 3 in New York's Times Square. Consumers will be invited to step onto a larger-than-life scale and have their reactions projected on a large screen in that oh-so-public venue. Instead of their weights, the scale will display a word or phrase capturing an emotional benefit of achieving their weight-loss goals.



Some of the Times Square event moments will be used in a TV commercial that will begin airing soon after Jan. 3. The 30-second spots will be broadcast during a range of daytime programming (including "General Hospital") and prime-time shows (including "The Biggest Loser").

One major element is a Special K sponsorship of the January launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network, which includes both traditional commercial airings and sponsorship units tied in with various programming. Watching Oprah's personal dream of having her own television network become a reality syncs with Special K's message of envisioning and realizing personal weight-loss/emotional goals, notes Pollock.

Print ads will run in cooking, entertainment, fitness and more general women's magazines. Online and social media components are central to the campaign. The tools/engagement opportunities offered include a free mobile app called myPlan, which puts recipes and tips, plus a shopping list capability and personalized two-week weight-management plan, in the user's hands.

The app, downloadable in versions compatible with Apple and Android devices, can be used to track weight-loss progress and earn "achievements" that can then be shared with friends on Facebook.

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