THE Quaker Oats Company, in its quest to refresh the company’s 135-year-old image, could borrow the phrase “everything old is new again” for a new campaign that makes subtle tweaks to the company’s tried and true marketing approach in hopes of appealing to modern mothers, a new target for the brand.
The company seeks to revitalize its 135-year-old image with new packaging and displays, above, a Facebook application and marketing in both English and Spanish.
The campaign, and its related elements like new packaging, bolder colors, in-store displays, coupons and a slightly modified look for “Larry” the Quaker man, are geared toward mothers under 35, said Justin Lambeth, chief marketing officer for Quaker Foods North America.
“Their affinity to the brand was very much rooted in memory,” Mr. Lambeth said of research the company conducted on mothers. “But they weren’t to the point where they said, ‘Quaker is my brand.’ ”
Targeting young mothers is critical, Mr. Lambeth said, because “those moms are raising 6-year-olds and 5-year-olds who will go out and raise the next group of consumers.” Refreshing the brand, a division of PepsiCo, is also important because American parents today are much more likely to be employed, are more ethnically diverse, more mobile and more connected to technology than ever before, he said.
The advertising will help the company fulfill two additional strategic objectives — promoting new products and connecting all of the Quaker food products under the Quaker “master brand.” Earlier this year, Quaker announced its portable oatmeal product called Real Medleys and a new line of cookies. New products for the coming year will include Perfect Portions, a hot oatmeal product, and Big Chewy, a soft oat bar.
The tag line for the new campaign, “Quaker Up,” takes the name of the brand and turns it into a verb meant to invoke the energy, or fuel, needed to get through the day, said Dan Fietsam, chief creative officer at Energy BBDO, the agency that worked on the television and print ads for the campaign.
Other creative agencies include Organic for digital media, including banner ads and a Facebook application,; Alma, for Hispanic marketing; and Hornall Anderson for package design.
“People know the brand, people love the brand, but we needed to forge a stronger connection with contemporary moms,” Mr. Fietsam said. “Quaker Up” was a way of making the brand “more active” by “phrasing it in a way people talk.”
The slogan is also a way to prepare for “the epic adventures of everyday life,” said Mr. Lambeth.
Television spots for the campaign rely heavily on the theme of a child’s “epic” imagination. In one spot, called “The Hill,” which will make its debut on Friday on ABC and NBC, a boy is seen on his bicycle in front of his house, looking up at a hill with anticipation. Once he begins his ascent, the hill transforms into a snow-capped Mount Everest. The boy jumps off his bike and sprints to the top of the mountain, where he shakes his fist in the air triumphantly.
Children, Mr. Fietsam said, “don’t have to go to Tanzania to see the world. They can walk out in the driveway and their whole universe is there.”
A second spot will feature a young girl about to swim in a lake. When she jumps into the water she is surrounded by dolphins, baby whales and ships.
The campaign, estimated to cost more than $100 million, is similar to the last major campaign from Quaker in 2009, called “Go Humans Go,” which included images of people using packages of Quaker Oats as jet packs.
According to Kantar Media, a unit of WPP, Quaker from 2010 to 2011 increased the amount it spent on television, digital and outdoor advertising, while decreasing the amount spent on radio, newspaper and magazine advertising. The company spent $99.6 million on television advertising in 2010 and $132 million in 2011. Spending on digital advertising increased to $8.3 million in 2011 from $5.7 million in 2010.
Print ads will appear in March in weekly magazines like People and in April in monthly magazines like Parenting, Redbook and InStyle. On Jan. 7, banner ads will make their debut on Web sites like Hulu. The company has also created an application for Facebook that will allow parents to share their own everyday “epic adventures.”
Quaker will being a similar campaign in Spanish, geared toward acculturated Hispanics who are bilingual but use Spanish as a dominant language. It is the first time Quaker has done an integrated campaign for a Hispanic audience, Mr. Lambeth said. “We’re not just doing one Hispanic TV ad,” he added.
Spanish-language television ads will make their debut on Dec. 31 and will be seen on networks including Univision, Telemundo, TeleFutura and Azteca. Newspaper coupon inserts will be delivered in ZIP codes that have large Spanish-speaking communities, Mr. Lambeth said.
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