Monday, September 8, 2008

Special K Meets the Online Challenge

Perhaps you noticed the Ad Age article Thursday on Kellog’s advertising entitled “Digital ROI Surpasses That of TV.” There was a follow-up on Saturday with a more specific headline, “Kellogg Says ROI on Digital Trounces TV by 'Factor of 2'.” Something interesting going on here!

Unfortunately, they aren’t talking about their advertising metrics, and that may be the most interesting subject of all, given their pronouncements on ROI. But a quote from CMO Mark Baynes seems to capture the essence:

"Maybe the biggest opportunity over time is driven by what the digital environments afford, and we are working to embrace this aggressively."

What are they doing?

I think the Special K Challenge is aptly described as an integrated promotional campaign. It’s been going on since at least 2006, winning an award from Promo magazine in that year for its multidisciplinary campaign. In the November 2006 issue of the magazine the components of the integrated campaign described the components as follows:

Sweepstakes: instant-win participants could redeem a free pair of blue jeans when a goal size was achieved
Online: advice, tools and chat to keep dieters motivated and engaged

FSI Coupon: with seasonally relevant on-pack offers and a coupon offer that boosted multiple purchases

Retail: events in key markets and promotional P-O-P garnered in-store attention for the Challenge, which was reinforced by on-pack punch

Media: print ads in fashion and parenting magazines and newspapers, as well as heavy cycling through TV programming with large female viewership kept aw
areness high

They seem to have stayed with those basic components to a large extent over the campaign and the message has been consistent with a variety of executions. One of the main rotating themes on the main site is a “get a friend” approach. That’s good weight loss/exercise advice; it’s also good direct marketing strategy. They aren’t talking about the effectiveness of the Yahoo! Group, but it seems to be active, and it has a lot of content. One thing you notice when you track the program around the web is the aggressiveness of their “diet” competitors (the challenge is not described as a diet). When you search “Special K Challenge” they own the first place in the PPC ranking; all their main competitors appear to have purchased the term also.

Where are they doing it?

That was one of the more interesting results of my searches. I wanted to find a banner ad. I found one on an Australian site. I hope the banner works for you. It’s a great interactive banner. The message is essentially the same as in the US. Get ready for summer by dropping a jean size.
The UK site features a more individual approach. That’s interesting. Is it just execution, or is the friends/groups approach less successful there?

The one that really surprised me is the execution of the campaign in the United Arab Emirates. They continue to focus on the “drop a jeans size” theme. The “wall” section of the site says 2500 women have taken the challenge and lists inches lost by various participants. The current campaign there seems to have an events thrust. According to an article in local business paper Al Bawaba in May:

Hundreds of residents from across the UAE descended on Jumeirah Beach Park yesterday to participate in K-Day UAE 2008, which kick started the Kellogg's Special K two week challenge in the UAE, and follows from the phenomenal success of the challenge so far around the globe.

Is this why the Special K Challenge has achieved such an impressive ROI? It is a long-running campaign—giving a change for learning and development. It has been consistent in theme and messaging, keeping a clear focus. There have been various executions of the basic message. The campaign runs globally, with a consistent message adjusted for local effectiveness. The answer is clearly yes, for all those reasons!

So integrated marketing communications work—no surprise there! The ability to measure the effectiveness of online within that complex framework and to identify online as more effective than traditional media—in this case TV—is the achievement of Kellog’s marketers. They deserve all kinds of credit for careful, clearheaded marketing planning and measurement. Many of the rest of us could take lessons!

No comments: