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Kellogg has the last laugh

KelloggsWhen Kellogg announced it was lasering its brand name on Cornflakes, to avoid any confusion with own-label imitators, the reaction was derision mixed with incredulity. Surely even Kellogg can’t be that paranoid? Or, on reflection, maybe they’re having a laugh… In fact, come to think of it, this is a super-sophisticated stunt. They’re not really spending all that money on proprietary laser technology at all; it’s just a clever way of getting journalists to put their ‘pure branding’ message across free of charge…

Well, not exactly. The first thing to know about Kellogg is that it doesn’t do humour or wind-up. They’re deadly earnest over at Battle Creek, Michigan. It turns out they really have been experimenting with laser branding – on Pop Tarts in Canada. But ridicule isn’t the right reaction either. Kellogg just does everything by the book. And as a result, competitors will now be smiling on the other side of their face.

Because Kellogg has just produced a recession-busting set of financial results. And the reason? Religious adherence to the Book of Branding, of course. See chapter two, Advertising During a Recession, in particular. Last quarter, they increased spend by 17%. Next quarter, they plan another double digit rise. “Rather than take advantage of lower rates to reduce the cost of our advertising investment, we see this as a great opportunity to increase our investment and build even stronger brands in the future. Higher spend combined with media deflation and a push on efficiency is driving a significant increase in advertising pressure,” says Kellogg chief financial officer John Bryant. So there.

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