For years, Frosted Flakes (Kellogg’s) and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (General Mills) have consistently ranked among the top breakfast cereals sold in the United States.
The two brands have been neck-in-neck in sales as well as TV advertising. As EDO has researched, successful ads generate search activity, which is a clear signal of consumer interest and a leading indicator of business outcomes.
Let’s further explore the TV advertising strategies of these two cereal brands.
EDO data details how Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch each aired over 49K airings on national linear TV with approximately 19B total impressions since 2021. The airings helped Frosted Flakes generate 919K incremental searches for its brand. Cinnamon Toast Crunch generated 982K searches.
Despite Cinnamon Toast Crunch generating a large total volume of online searches thanks to its TV advertising presence, Frosted Flakes was ever so slightly more effective in its TV advertising strategy. Between Q1 2021 to 2022, a TV viewer was 5% more likely to search online for Frosted Flakes after viewing one of its TV ad airings, compared to Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
What can explain Frosted Flakes’ advantage? The answer lies in several media and creative insights observations.
The two breakfast cereal brands have had similar media strategies between Q1 2021 and 2022. Per EDO data, both invested approximately 28% of their impressions during early fringe programming, but invested the most — approximately 28% of their estimated spend — during primetime programming.
They also each had a moderate ad presence on Spanish Language TV (SLTV) networks, investing about 8% of the impressions on Spanish language programming. The two brands had an ad presence on the exact same SLTV networks, however, on English Language TV (ELTV) the two brands slightly differ.
Frosted Flakes invested the most on Nick ($11.5 million in estimated spend), with the broadcast networks ABC and CBS following behind with $3 million and $2 million in estimated spend, respectively. Cinnamon Toast Crunch also spent the most on Nick, an estimated $16.5 million, but the next most-invested networks were MTV and Freeform, each with slightly below $5 million.
Further differences arise when reviewing network groupings. For instance, Frosted Flakes aired over 60% of its impressions on kids’ networks — such as Nick, Nick Toons, Cartoon Network — whereas Cinnamon Toast Crunch had less than 40% of its impressions on kids’ networks.
While the similarities and differences between the media strategies of these two breakfast cereals are nuanced, the creative differences are more clear.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch has only aired :15s spots and held the animated theme of the Cinnamoji characters that chomp away at each other. General Mills’ strategy for Cinnamon Toast Crunch has been to introduce special offers and new products, including a new churro-themed cereal that is “perfect for breakfast or anytime.” Additionally, General Mills recently introduced a limited time offer of Cinnamoji Toast Crunch cereal, allowing consumers to eat the Cinnamoji characters themselves.
Kellogg’s has had a different approach, promoting a healthier lifestyle by eating Frosted Flakes. The brand also introduced new products, such as Frosted Flakes With Marshmallows, but its main focus has been sports. Angling itself in a sporty-themed light, the cereal brand has collaborated with ESPN and celebrities, including Shaq and Alfonso Ribeiro, to target old and young audiences alike. These sports-themed and celebrity spots made up more than 70% of Frosted Flakes airings on national TV across old, young, and kid audiences.
The bottom line
Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch are performing well in terms of their national TV advertising. As seen with the media strategies, both cereal brands are keen to maintain their young consumers while building upon their adult target audience. Also, despite being in the same breakfast category, the creative strategies of Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch give our taste buds something different to think about. Even with these differences, both brands have found success engaging TV viewers.
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