April 13th, 2015

Special K Moves in the Right Direction with Positive Nutrition Message


Ace Metrix


As recently reported by Ad Age, Special K has shifted away from its long-standing weight loss message to instead focus on one of positive nutrition, first seen in its new ad, “Eat Special to Feel Special.”

A few Kellogg’s issued statements in the article caught our attention, which we wanted to explore by testing the ad with women in our panel:

  1. “Women are moving away from the old world of dieting. They don’t want to strictly count calories anymore. Rather, they want to eat delicious foods with positive nutrition … they want to make the calories they eat count to achieve their happy, healthy weight.”
  2. “… with the new campaign, the brand will leave the model-like figures behind. Spots feature ‘women who reflect what the people who eat our food actually look like.’”
  3. “Women today want food that is part of an every-day healthy lifestyle, not just a quick fix. They want information. They want to know what’s in their food. They want to see what’s in their food.”

So, what was the overall reaction to this new ad? Did female consumers appreciate the change in message? Did they recognize and appreciate more relatable actresses?

To answer the first question, “Eat Special to Feel Special” was one of the top 3 scoring cereal ads that have aired over the past 6 months, among women 21-49 years old. The Ace Score (a holistic measure of creative strength across a variety of dimensions) of the ad exceeded its category norm by 13%. When assessing components of the Ace Score, the ad most overachieved on generating product desire and establishing relevant situations and feelings.

The ad was met with a largely positive reaction, seen in the Emotional Sentiment chart below, exceeding already strong historic benchmarks set by the brand and category.

Based on a variety of different measures, it can be seen that women are quite favorable to Special K’s new ad, but to specifically understand what drove its strength, we dove into open-ended feedback to see if consumers picked up on the advertiser’s intentions, with some highlights following.


These are just a few of the verbatim responses that helped capture that women understood what Special K set out to communicate.  As Special K and the broader cereal industry fight off sales declines, it will be interesting to observe if this new approach will help to bring customers back to the breakfast table.


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