Friday, January 14, 2011

Cereal and social networking

I recently came across an interesting website called Where's the Cap'n, created by a passionate lover of Quaker Cap'n Crunch. Along with a Facebook page and Twitter account this Cap'n fan is on a campaign to get Quaker to establish a social networking presence for Cap'n Crunch. Apparently this is a genuine "grassroots campaign" (and not a marketing ruse) as the claim is "No brand affiliation, independent movement".

Apart from one's opinion as to whether this is a worthy cause or just a waste of time, it does raise the question about the role of social networking in marketing cereals. If cereal is comfort food and consumers have passionate relationships with some cereal brands, why aren't cereal companies using social media more?

As I observe the social networking landscape I notice the following: 1) Most major cereal companies are doing very little in this medium; 2) There are exceptions, such as during the launch of Wheaties Fuel, but even in that case it has diminished significantly; and 3) Startup and specialty cereal companies appear to be leveraging social media more aggressively since they have less access to mass advertising.

In a highly competitive marketplace establishing relationships with consumers is essential. Will the big cereal companies get more involved in social media, or will they also fall behind in this aspect of innovation?

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