Carl's Jr., Hardee's Woos Young Adults With Froot Loops Donuts

Looking to draw more millennial and Gen-Z patrons for breakfast, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are zeroing in on these younger generations’ well-known penchant for sweet, nostalgic cereals. 

The sibling QSR brands have teamed with Kellogg’s to offer Froot Loops Mini Donuts — an item that also plays on young adults’ tendency to consume their sweet cereals as snacks, sans milk. 

The selection of the colorful donuts, said to “exactly” replicate the taste of Froot Loops, are available for a limited time in a portable pack priced at $1.99. 

They’re being supported with a digital #NotMilk campaign, from the brands’ in-house agency, comprising 7- and 16-second videos that lightly parody the famed “Got Milk” campaign. 

One execution (below) specifically promotes the “not milk” theme, including a guy sporting a colorful (not white) mustache, while another shows Froot Loops in a cereal bowl turning into donuts when the bowl is flipped over. 



The restaurant brands have also teamed with celebrities, including '90s heartthrob Mario Lopez and Catherine Giudici, winner of the 17th season of “The Bachelor,” to use social to encourage fans to post photos of themselves with colorful mustaches, on Twitter and Instagram, using #NotMilk and #FrootLoopsMiniDonuts. Some submissions will be featured on the brands’ social channels. 

With sales of cold cereal brands other than the sweet throwback ones still lagging, the exposure for the Froot Loops brand (and presumably some remuneration from the donut sales) is also a no-lose proposition for Kellogg’s. 

Last summer, the cereal maker launched a “Whatever Froots Your Loops” campaign specifically targeting millennials, by selling colorful merchandise co-branded with hip brands like Neff. It was Froot Loops’ first new campaign since its introduction in 1963. 

Millennials have been called “cereal killers” because they’ve depressed the category’s sales by mostly shunning the cold-cereal-with-milk breakfast scene. But a 2017 Mintel study found that 53% of them report having eaten cereal as a dry snack at home, versus just 32% of baby boomers. And Gen Z is the cohort most likely (21%) to eat cereal as an on-the-go snack.

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