A few years ago, in an office in Toronto, an Oglivy advertising intern named Hunter Somerville, was working a part time job for a Kraft Cereal brand client, called Shreddies.
Shreddies Cereal Had a Major Problem
The Shreddies brand was facing a major dilemma. It was 60 years old with an aging and declining customer base.
So Kraft hired Ogilvy, in a bit of a hail-mary attempt to come up with fresh ideas. Their goal was to return their crown as the rightful heir to the throne of the breakfast kingdom they had once dominated.
So Kraft tasked the Ogilvy to give their older brand an exciting new makeover. But only under one condition, the couldn’t actually change any aspect of the actual product…
With that massive caveat in mind, the Ogilvy team acccepted the challenge. But now how would the team alter the perceived brand value without changing the actual product?
Then an Idea Emerged…
The answer turns out, came in the form of a joke made by an intern in a client brainstorming session.
You see, during a team meeting, according to Fameable, Hunter Sommerville, reached into the cereal box, and pulled out one single square piece of Shreddie cereal.
Holding the square carefully in his fingers, he then rotated it 45 degrees, and jokingly boasted; “this isn’t a square, it’s a DIAMOND!”
It was in this moment, out of these fateful ashes, where Hunter planted the idea for the new, and far more exciting, Diamond Shreddies. I kid you not.
They Didn’t Change the Product – They Just Changed the Story
The team immediately jumped on the fresh idea. A square is a term that literally means boring. But a diamond, that’s rare, coveted, and exciting!
They spun Hunters joke into pure gold. They stepped into it and made it a full campaign. They made it into a viral sensation. Reviving the aging brand in awesome fashion.
They re-tooled the messaging while maintaining all the physical characteristics of the original. With a twist (literally).
They Became Worth Talking About
But wait, what happend to the square Shreddies version? Don’t worry, they came up with a concept to make them both available. In a combo pack! LOL!
They gave consumers the option of choosing between the two shapes, traditional or diamond. Both of which were, in fact, the same exact product. It became an inside joke that create awareness for the brand.
By updating their messaging they were able to create awareness for the product that translated to an increase in sales by 18%.
You can watch the entire campaign explained by Ogilvy executive, Rory Sutherland here:
For starters, it paid off to turn to an outside perspective for a fresh approach to solve an aging brand problem. Specifically, from someone that occupied the demographic they were hoping to attract.
Second, they choose to address the obvious elephant in the room, that their brand became became stagnant. They turned the problem inside out and openly made it into a campaign and something fun to talk. Finding a fresh way to tell the story of a 60 year old product to a new generation of buyers.
They brilliantly introduced themselves to a new era of Shreddies consumers that now view the brand as fun and creative.
The Shreddies story is a great example that innovation can take place without changing the product but how you introduce your product or service. Shreddies increased sales by 20%, just by simply talking about their product in a new way.