Brands Mean a Lot
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Brands Mean a Lot

Pride Month with Tony the Tiger

🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈 Doing things a bit differently this week. Here’s some fan fiction dedicated to the Kellogg’s cereal mascots.🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈

Speaking of Pride month, if you’re new here, I’d be proud to have you as a subscriber

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…When Count Chocula had abruptly left him, Tony’s affinity for tidiness and order in the home left with him. On the table lay a bag of Chex Mix, open from last night’s episode of mindless eating, its contents leaking across the surface.

Q2 sales were trending down, down past the outer crust of mild disappointment all the way to the layer of the soul where the damp depression of unmet expectations resides. The four preceding quarters had been no better — the pandemic had awakened an urge for homemade breakfasts across America. Where once sat bobbing Fruit Loops bathing in milk now sat scrambled eggs, grapefruit, or worse still, oatmeal.

The team at Kellogg’s knew that an adjustment had to be made. To reverse the trend would take a force of will and divine inspiration. The arrow had to be grabbed by the pointy end and lifted with might. Kellogg’s wasn’t just at war with the likes of General Mills and Nestlé, it was at war with breakfast writ large.

These sort of numbers and projections were the type to spur introspection. Rubbernecking as the likes of oats and eggs whizzed by Kellogg’s sales numbers was not a vantage point to which the team was accustomed. Kellogg’s convened the 2021 Q3 sales prep meeting with improvement in mind.

Save for production facilities, the cereals on the Kellogg’s roster operate independently from one another. Fruit Loops occupies a niche separate from Frosted Mini Wheats, and the occasion was rare that Rice Krispies found itself butting heads with Frosted Flakes for customers. The roster was siloed, a bunch of free agents wearing the same hat, but playing on different fields.

Tony, the leader of the group in both title and recognition, faced a reckoning. In the midst of souring odds and atomized mascots, what was he to do? It had been nearly two decades since the team last came together, collaborating on Kellogg’s ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom Flakes’ cereal. Toucan Sam deserved credit for the green marshmallow tanks, but it was Cornelius Rooster’s masterstroke for the corn-blend cereal to turn the milk black, allowing spoons and US armed forces alike to discover oil.

Snap, Crackle, and Pop, thinking the hunt for Saddam could be fun if it were brought stateside, but occurring at the bottom of a cereal box, wanted each box to contain a miniature figurine of Saddam’s likeness. After conferring with the marketing team though, Tony put the kibosh on the idea. To Tony, it was nothing more than a business decision: the unit costs of the figurines were too high to justify their inclusion.

Snap, Crackle, and Pop saw Tony’s aversion to their idea as more than that. To them, Tony had wielded his decision in service of a decades-long grudge beginning in the mid-70s when invites to Snap, Crackle, and Pop’s monthly swingers parties stopped arriving in his mailbox. Tony was good natured then, but his cocaine habit, and the red bandana he wore signaling any in-the-know participants to his penchant for fisting, was off-putting to the Rice Krispie crew’s preference for subtlety.

The fissure spread across the team — some siding with Tony, others with the Krispies Crew. Decades later, coming into the Q3 meeting, the lesion festered. By the late 2000s, Dig ’Em Frog became an island unto himself, rarely leaving his terrarium. At the time of the meeting’s convention, the team had tired of his sermons about fluoride as a mechanism for government mind control. His reactionary views repelled even Mr. Mini Wheat.

Tony lamented the teams’ emotional distance and yearned for a way to reunite. As leader, it was incumbent on him to salve the wound and bring Dig ’Em Frog back to reality.

He thought back to the Chex Mix. A Chex here, pretzel there, a rye chip in the corner — if each grain-based morsel could coexist to create a sum greater than the parts, why couldn’t the Kellogg’s team? It dawned on Tony that what split the team nearly two decades ago could bring them back together. They needed to collaborate again.

Ideas are refutable. The self is undeniable.

Kellogg’s needed a new cereal to reflect this. The input wouldn’t be concepts, but rather each member’s whole self. They needed to be united, so Tony would put them together. This, with the right marketing and merchandising, could be the upward jolt the revenue arrow needed.

The start of Q3, June, was also Pride month. They’d need to incorporate it.

It was going to be GR-R-REAT!

🥣🥣 Pour yourself a bowl of Brands Mean a Lot, once a week and subscribe

Originally published at https://brandsmeanalot.substack.com.

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