Marketer: Cereal Partners Worldwide (a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé)-Todd Huntley, marketing manager
Agency (Europe): Saatchi & Saatchi, London-Scott Buckley, regional account director; Blair Meyler, account executive
Agency (U.S.): Saatchi & Saatchi, New York-Dave Shea, creative director/copy; Jacques Dufour, creative director/art; Tom Dakin, producer; Ann Shanley, management supervisor
Animation: Expresso Animation, London-Philip Vallentin, animation director
Music/sound design: Michael Carrol Music, New York
Markets: Poland to start, may subsequently run in other markets.
The idea: To apply New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi Kid Connection’s kid expertise to an existing campaign for Kangus, a Polish breakfast cereal.
The campaign: One 30-second animated spot debuting during kid-friendly slots in Poland this month. Additional spots may follow.
Marketing to kids has been compared to marketing to aliens: Kids aren’t just pint-sized adults-they see the world in a whole different way. Now imagine marketing to Polish-speaking aliens.
That task landed in the lap of Dave Shea, senior VP and group director at New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi Kid Connection a few months ago. He had been lobbying to work on Saatchi’s international kid brands for some time, and almost a year ago, he got not one, but three overseas brands: Trix (South America), Estrelitas (Spanish-speaking and East Asian territories) and Kangus.
Kangus, a puffed wheat and honey concoction, has been available at supermarkets across Poland for several years now, and is easily identified by its bright red plastic packaging sporting brand-critter Kangus the Kangaroo.
When Shea reviewed the spots that have supported the cereal for the last three or four years, he immediately spotted how to tweak the campaign for maximum kid impact. ‘In the past, having the cereal would put kids in the awkward situation of getting caught by their parents. The cereal was a guilty pleasure,’ he says. For instance, in one spot, the hero pretended to be sick so he could stay at home and sneak some Kangus, but when he eats it, he goes ‘kangu-crazy’ and the ruckus alerts his mom to the deception.
‘We changed it a bit so that all the ads had a more positive outcome at the end,’ says Shea. In this new spot, a boy is rescued from a tedious train ride by the raucous `roo, and the two of them hoppily wreak havoc on fellow passengers as they go kangu-crazy. No disapproving parents ruin the fun.
The idea was to ensure that the brand is only associated with positive emotions, and Shea went a step further: ‘What we’ve brought to the campaign is branding the way the kid goes crazy.’ The new ‘branded’ symptoms start with a close-up of hopping pupils, progress to a hopping kid, and eventually the whole train is hopping along the tracks like a huge mechanical kangaroo.
Shea says he has developed similar taste reactions for General Mills cereals Cookie Crisp and Cocoa Puffs, and has found them to be a remarkably effective way to ensure that when real kids sit down to what might otherwise be just a bowl of frosted wheaty bits, their minds flash back to the fantasy. ‘It’s an affirmation of the whole eating/marketing experience,’ he explains.
The basic concept is universal, but Shea still had a cultural hurdle to jump, because breakfast cereal is a relatively new concept in Poland. Before Nestlé and General Mills infiltrated the market, it was unknown. ‘We have to show that milk is poured on, we have to show that you eat it with a spoon, and that it’s good to have in the morning,’ Shea says. ‘It’s been quite an eye-opener.’ Buckley notes that while the US$6-billion cereal market represents a household penetration of over 95% in the U.S., in Poland it’s only 33%.