Special K unveils new creative direction as it looks to battle ‘distrust’ of diet brands

The cereal brand is facing a global sales decline, but hopes the “positive and more modern” campaign will help turn the tide.


Kellogg’s Special K cereal brand has overhauled its advertising in response to women’s desire to have a more positive relationship with food and to increase trust with its audiences.

The ‘Powering you’ campaign, which launches in the UK today (26 December), will run throughout 2018. It consists of TV, print and online elements, including four outdoor executions, multiple 10-second digital films and gifs for online and social platforms.

The brand says it hopes to educate audiences about the nutrients that are in Special K cereals. For example, the brand’s social assets showcase the specific benefits of folic acid, iron, protein and vitamin D.

That said, the campaign is mainly looking to use “powerful and positive” images of women to make an impact. The well-known brand image of a cheery woman in a red bathing suit eating cereal is long gone.

The ad shows different moments and different women throughout the course of a day – whether swimming while pregnant, taking a run in the park, working in a studio or on a dance routine, or recovering at the end of a long day – interspersed with images of the ingredients that make up the cereal.

Special K appreciates that the modern woman doesn’t trust a ‘diet brand’ and our campaign focuses on the ways in which the brand powers women.

Tracy Murphy, Kellogg’s

Special K decided to overhaul its advertising style following female consumers’ desire to have a more positive relationship with food. It also believes there is still a job to do building trust.

“Special K appreciates that the modern woman doesn’t trust a ‘diet brand’ and our campaign focuses on the ways in which the brand powers women every day as part of balanced diet,” says Tracy Murphy, senior marketing director of balance and health at Kellogg’s EMEA.

The cereal market is in decline with many consumers viewing breakfast cereal as too sugary or unhealthy. This has led to a steady decline in sales in recent years, with Euromonitor International estimating they will be down 1.6% year on year in 2017.

Sales of Special K, one of Kellogg’s top brands, have slipped 26% since 2012. But Murphy claims the brand has recently returned to growth in the UK market after focusing on its two core cereals.

“We have experienced six months of growth on the core products Special K Original and Special K Red Berries. And to build on that we have recorded three months of growth on the brand as a whole,” she says.

The campaign, which was created by Leo Burnett, now consists of two phases: education through its social platforms and providing practical tools to help make people make “positive” nutritional choices.

“We’re making it easier for consumers to connect with the Special K Brand and take practical action by working with partners like MyFitnessPal, Asda, Tesco, Argos and Nectar to help women track their daily nutrition,” she concludes.



There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Scott Hickman 2 Jan 2018

    Special K Red Berries, breakfast of champions!!

  2. Michael Payton 2 Jan 2018

    But isn’t one of the main reasons people distrust ‘diet’ brands because of Special K itself –
    that it famously contains just as much sugar as their other cereals?

  3. Pete Austin 4 Jan 2018

    Sorry, I never eat cereals that are more than 10% sugar. “In the United Kingdom (UK), Special K Original is 17% sugar, meaning a 30g serving contains 5g of sugar” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_K

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