Kellogg’s elastic brand

There’s been some interesting debate in the press about the decision of Kellogg’s to launch a stand-alone new brand for its new range of fruit snacks, FruitaBü (fruit crisps and fruit soaked in juice, then dried). Several commentators have been critical of the decision to not endorse this new brand with the Kellogg’s name.

The key issue to look at is the stretch from where the Kellogg’s brand is today to where the new product needs to be positioned. The bigger the stretch, the more there is a need for a new brand. This analysis should look at not one but two dimensions.Picture_3

1. Functional stretch: How credible is it that the brand could do a good job of making the product?
– A new fruit snack is a pretty big stretch for a brand
famous for breakfast cereals. They do have a (pseudo-)fruit
product in Kellogg’s Fruit Winders… but this is not seen as very natural.
=> This alone doesn’t justify the need for a new brand. A sub-brand would have done it.

2. Emotional stretch: what is the personality and emotional values the new product needs to succeed?
– This is harder to judge without seeing the mix. But the website of FruitaBü in the US (Kellogg’s bought the business) suggests that the FruitaBü brand has a small-company, quite quirky/fun feel to it
– In this case, the emotional stretch from Kellogg’s would be big. And so a new brand is the right move


In contrast, the launch of fruit and oat bars targeted at extending Kellogg’s from breakfast into "morning food" was less of a stretch, especially emotionally. And so the Kellogg’s brand was used to endorse a new sub-brand, Nutrigrain.

Perhaps Kellogg’s have learnt from the experience of Cadbury’s, who also bought and then rolled out globally a natural, small company brand: The Natural Confectionary Company (TNCC).  I posted here on the initial attempt to take the product (natural delicious chewy sweets, with no nasties) and launch it in the UK as Basset’s Naturals. This was a flop, as it took the functional story, but not the emotional one. The launch in Ireland of the full TNCC mix, as proven in the home-market of Australia, worked much better. The UK has now followed suit, and launched TNCC without any reference to Cadbury’s.

So, before you decide on how brand something, its worth thinking through the stretch involved, and doing this on the two dimensions: functional and emotional.