Kellogg’s publicity stunt or waste of money?

Kellogg's Corn Flakes laser-etched logo
Image from @KelloggsUK’s Twitpic

If the new Kellogg’s Corn Flakes with laser-etched logo is for publicity, then hat’s off. If it’s a legitimate marketing move an actual change of the cereal production process, isn’t it a needless use of energy and cash?

Landor calls it very cool. I call it a waste of money.

What do you think?

Kellogg's Corn Flakes laser-etched logo
Photo courtesy of Mail Online

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74 responses

  1. This is ridiculous. As if we need to be reminded what we are eating right to the very last second before we put it in our mouth. Repetition works in advertising, but this is just superfluous nonsense.

  2. Personally I think they are doing it to serperate there brands flakes from the of Supermarkets and other companys. They could however be doing it to gain publicity via blogs etc. such as this.

    Depending on there aims and reasons, this phenomina could be useful or of course, pointless.

  3. Eeeeh, surely this has to be a hoax? Or at least I sincerely HOPE so… How many individual flakes do they churn out each day, every MINUTE even – and to laser etch every single one?!

  4. Hey Petchy,

    It would really just be one more machine in the factory.

    It’d take them no time at all to install it, and maybe even less than a second to align the flake and then etch it in.

    To Kellogs as a company, they would not lose anything.

  5. they should also laser etch all the spons in the world on the bottom of the cup so after you eat the cornflakes from the spoon you can still see Kellogs!

  6. In my opinion, this is branding, taken to the limit. The amount of corn flakes produced everywhere is so huge that Kellogg’s ( as the mega producer of flakes ) gotta stand out of the crowd. As Collin said, repetition works for advertising and for branding. I really don’t know how the flakes factory works, but I am pretty sure that it woudn’t be a big hit in the cost of each flake to “print” the logo.

    And it is already working. We are already discussing this, and I bet a lot of other blogs, about design, corn flakes, and food in general are already discussing this. Probably it will end up in the main stream media and all.

    I like it. I just hope it doesn’t cause cancer.

  7. You’re obviously not familiar with “phase 2” of their plan to separate themselves from the competition, and start laser etching customer’s names on each flake. Wouldn’t you pay more to have each flake personally monogrammed? Perhaps with the DA logo?! You could use them when guests or clients eat breakfast with you and have them thinking of you as they shovel the soggy yellow chips into their mouths.

  8. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’d go buy a box, which I don’t normally buy, just to see it. Think of the millions more boxes they’d sell just from people wanting to see them. Also, the publicity from blogs… I’d say it’s paying off.

  9. Haha, I’ve heard of “Make my Logo Bigger”, but not “Make my logo Flakier” ;D

    Mayne they shoulf go one step further and etch each flakes’ carbon footprint and dye it green…

  10. Well, I say – it´s a *cool* idea and nobody else DOES IT,

    BUT it´s a waste of money,and why do you need to put the logo on each one of them???

    May be you can pass with just some, that enter in each box!!!

  11. i totally agree with those who are against it and think that it is a complete waste of money. Kellog’s is well-known enough, we do know to be reminded of it with every bite we take!

  12. In my day we didn’t have laser etched cereal and we liked it that way /oldman

    This is a pretty cool idea. Though there has to be some other method of doing it then lasers, and I’d like to see the process they use to do it.

  13. Psh. Everyone knows the lasers make it taste better and fights sogginess.

    All you hippy-dippy people crying foul about the carbon footprint. Don’t you guys just chow down on granola anyway? Back off, I NEED my laser-etched Cornflakes to feel better about driving real fast on the highway in my hummer.


    Yeah, this is pretty damn ridiculous.

  14. Maybe if they showed off some actual lasered flakes rather some dodgy retouched shots we’d at least know whether it is actually real or not.

    If it is true think of the possible spin-offs? Valentine’s Day ‘Loveheart Sweets’ style corn flakes each with ‘I love you’ and ‘Be mine’ on them for starters?

    Whether or not it’s actually worth lasering in the first place is another matter…

  15. Rite first of all it is cool no one can deny that, yes maybe pointless but still as an advertising move it works, its working rite now we r all talking bout it on this blog so they have won us over already. Advertising is alot about word of mouth yes, and we r doing it.
    Secondly it doesnt cost that much and it doesnt waste much more energy than when first installing the machine.
    And for Martin Boath i agree with you, they have opened so many doors if it is true of course

  16. Well I couldn’t bring myself to buy Cornflakes if they had Kellogg’s engraved into each flake… I’d just buy the generic brand… but, that’s just me…

  17. You say that if it’s for publicity then hat’s off, but if it’s a marketing move then it’s a waste.

    My question is – what’s the difference between publicity and marketing? They are just two vehicles to accomplish the same goal: increase awareness.

    On another note, wasn’t Pringles going to do this years ago? What ever happened to that?

  18. … and here we are discussing a cereal that’s been in our public consciousness since 1894 (or so)… if its marketing it seems to be working.

    Truthfully I’m sceptical this would be anything more than a short-run limited-edition get-the-product-into-the-discussion kind of thing if its real at all.

  19. Nice point, Bobby, thanks. I didn’t word that particular sentence as I intended, and have updated it to read more black and white. Nice chat, everyone. Just off to bed now, hence the brevity. Hope you’re all having a good one.

  20. I think it is a waste of money. What improvements to Corn Flakes does this make? Does it make them taste better? Does it provide any health benefit? I am guessing the answer to these is “None”, “No”, and “No”.

    As for marketing, I again fail to see the point. Sure it has generated a buzz but do they think that anyone will switch Kellogg’s Corn Flakes permanently based simply on the fact they laser etched their logo into the flakes? Laser etching will not make it available for $1.50/box like the store house brands Corn Flakes are and they taste the same.

  21. I heard about this yesterday, and my jaw actually dropped. I just… cannot grasp why this would be done. I agree that it’s a great publicity stunt, but I can’t see it being an efficient branding technique in the long term.

  22. If it is real, I would consider it a branding breakthrough.

    I am in NASCAR so I’m used to branding repetition but that doesn’t mean I want branded flakes. I do think this is a very smart way to cheapen the generic flakes (biggest competition) by making the ‘real’ flakes noticable all the way up until they hit your mouth.

    I would like to thank my sponsors, kellogs and mt. dew for making this Dodge Charger reply possible.

  23. Waste of time. Waste of money. Waste of energy.

    Now, if the lasered area sprouted when milk was added–THAT would be something! The Chia cornflake!

    Wait…what if only every 500th or so flake sprouted? Then you’d keep pouring cereal and milk UNTIL you got a sprouter. THINK of the sales spike!

  24. Instead of doing in and every individual flake, why not do, say, 1 out of every 10? I mean if branding the flakes is absolutely necessary (which it isn’t)…..

  25. @Jeremy– I’d buy a box too. It’s just such a unique application that being in the advertising field I can’t help but feel compelled to see for myself. I think it’s pretty cool either way.

  26. Kind of flaky if you ask me. But if you laser-etched Lucky Charms, the little marsmallows, I’d buy a box. What else can we laser etch and then eat? I once cooked a hot dog with a magnifying glass. Slowly. That’s just like this!

    I might buy a box if I see it, but haven’t bought Corn Flakes for some time.

  27. I’ll quickly add my 2 cents, I’ve not managed to read every comment above so I hope I’m not just repeating people.

    Assuming this isn’t just a publicity stunt, which for a prestigious household brand like Kelloggs seems rather unneccessary anyway, their point is to further to define themselves from any other ‘cornflake impersonators’. It’s almost arrogant, and maybe even slightly insecure, but they were here first – Kelloggs are the originals, better than the rest. They set the standard.

    It also adds to the overall experience of eating Kelloggs cornflakes. People don’t really spend the extra 50p-£1 on Kelloggs over other brands because they taste better or are healthier etc. They’re buying the experience, buying the value of the brand, the prestige, the authenticity, the history and stories and everything that goes along with Kelloggs. It’s the same reason people pay extra for Walkers over Golden Wonder, Coca Cola over the supermarket’s own brands…

    Laser etching the cornflakes… it’s silly, it’s giddy, but it’s a cheeky appeal that makes Kelloggs stand out even more. It generates conversation, provokes cynicism, distinguishes the brand from the competition.. quite literally a mark of authenticity, ‘the real deal’.

    It’s a idiosyncratic gimmick that some people will hate, but many will probably love, find humourous and just ‘have to buy into’. Just like watches that allow you to dive to 50metres, USB mug warmers, toasters with digital timers… I can’t really think of any food related examples but the point is – it’s a completely useless gimmick, but people love gimmicks. And I bet it’ll sure sell…

  28. completely ridiculous. waste of time and money.
    They’d have been better off investing in making each flake the shape of cute animals and things, then i’d buy more kellogg’s.

  29. It is irrelevant.

    Seriously. Can’t we discuss more interesting or realistic topics?

    It doesn’t matter one way or another if it is a waste of Kellogg’s money to brand their cereal.

    If it raises my cost for the item… then yes, it is detrimental. If my cost stays the same… it is of no consequence if they want to paint it purple.

    What a waste of time this site is becoming. Used to be very good.

  30. It is not a waste of money but it is a publicity stunt to make people aware that laser etched corn flakes can be possible. :)

  31. If it’s to protect the brand… it’s a waste of time, money and energy (how much energy it takes to make a regular one and a branded one). Beside this the Chinese can replicate that much too easy, making each Chinese stamp a cornflake (sorry, I know it’s not very nice, but partially is true)

    If it’s for pure advertising reasons… it sucks. I wouldn’t buy more cornflakes just because they are laser branded.

    Anyway it’s not too smart :D

  32. Even if the actual cost of a box were to remain the same, it’s the perceived value that counts. For instance, I was once responsible for the production of a cancer charity newsletter. It was printed on a lightweight paper stock, and although the print company told us a heavier weight of cover wouldn’t cost any extra, the decision was made to stick with the lighter, cheaper-looking stock. People making donations don’t want to think their money was being spent on a high-quality print run, even if the print cost wouldn’t have changed.

    I think that’s an appropriate comparison.

  33. I think it would be cool if it was something more random, like 1 in 20 corn flakes.
    Anyway, I would buy them just to see what they look like and I bet a lot of people would do the same :/

  34. Not convinced that this is even cool let alone serving any sort of purpose at all.

    I mean, who really cares if their breakfast has the brand etched on it or not. Seriously no one cares, and thus it brings no value to the customer.

    It also (searching for reasons for them to do it) doesn’t in my mind enhance the brand in any way because it’s simply not particularly cool, and hence seems like a total waste of money to me.

  35. Oh yes, following on from the 1 in 20 comment. What really ‘would’ have been cool is if they had done a Willy Wonka thing and etched just say 20 of them and then offered a factory tour by the owner for those who find them.

    Now that would have been worth it for the sheer mileage of PR they could generate from that.

    Imagine all the kids demanding to have cornflakes for their cereal so they can find the ‘etched ticket’ …. with the recentish release of Charlie and the Choc Factory remake featuring Johnny Depp, the whole notion of this idea would light children’s imaginations on fire.

  36. Whether or not this has been a waste of time and money remains to be seen, I think. If this stunt builds awareness and increases profits as a result, then it wasn’t a waste and Kellogg succeeded in what they set out to do. If not, then it was a waste. Some people find a sense of comfort in a major name brand in the sense that they’re getting a quality product. I think that the Kellogg logo communicates that pretty well since it’s the signature of the Kellogg brothers. Laser etching every flake is like personally guaranteeing that every bite of cereal will be the best. The fact that the logo has remained virtually unchanged in the last 100 years says that the product is so good, it hasn’t had to change. Coca-Cola can claim the same.

    So, smart? I would say yes. Especially from a branding standpoint. Excessive? Probably. There’s always the generic brand cornflakes that are just as good. The only difference is that the generic cornflakes don’t use branding to give us that same perceived value as the national brand.

  37. This is definitely crossing a line of some kind. There should be enough confidence at Kelloggs that their customers are going to remain loyal to the brand that they don’t have to (literally) shove it down the audience’s throats. It’s a step too far and, frankly, a waste of time.

    Tessa Carroll
    VBP OutSourcing

  38. I was thinking the same thing about M&Ms.

    I’m not sure on sales, but I’d guess Kelloggs and most major cereal manufacturers are competing with super market knock-offs that cost considerably less. I don’t think this “stunt” is unexpected – cereal brands have been notorious for using gimmicks, like, colorful, bold logos, interactive packaging, free toys and mail-away offers, and probably in this case, special editions.

    I think the next step is to use polylactic acid plastic (made from corn) for the bags. ;)

  39. They’ve already conned us into paying over the odds for what is essentiall over-processed slurry that’s been dried out into flakes. This is just another part of the con to get us to eat what is essentially not that far removed from industrial animal feed. Humans are much better off eating whole-grain cereals that are hardly processed at all. Now only if we could use the power of logos and marketing to wrench people away from this insane childhood nostalgia that breakfast cereal companies tap into to sell their products (but that’s a nother whole issue).

  40. To my mind, I think a lot of people have missed the observational connection with the “m” on every m & m.

    When you consider the market for cereals in hotels around the world this could be a great move. It is yet another way to measure whether where you are staying (particularly in regard to the conference sector) is quality or not.

    Up until this moment you couldn’t tell whether they were supplying you with the quality cornflakes or a cheap no-name.

    (This in itself indicates that the difference between the two is negligible.)

    Watch hotels buy Kellogs now that their scrimping can be determined.

    Smart move.

  41. I’d believe they’d mark the flakes but surely the whole laser thing is someone making stuff up?

    More likely whatever flattens the flakes has something similar to an emboss die on it?

  42. A total waste of money and energy producing these prints.

    Kellogg’s has been around for some time, almost synonymous with breakfast cereal. They certainly don’t need to reemphasize their brand (logo) on every flake. What a waste!

  43. Anything so ridiculous as this is bound to generate lots of buzz, which is great for business. In fact I’m hungry just thinking about Kellogg’s.

  44. Speaking of M&Ms. You guys do know that you can get custom ones with your logo on them right?

    What would be really cool is if the logos turned red when you poured milk on them and got cold.

  45. Looks like a cool idea to me. I don’t see why it’s a waste of money when it’s putting their name into your mouth… surely it’s not massively different to M&Ms, wine gums (before they got tight and stopped writing the words on them), or even those wee crackers you see with the names embossed on the back.

    I agree with the point above that it sets them apart from other cereals on the shelf.

    I’m equally aware it could be a hoax too.

  46. This would be great if you bought then in a shop with no packaging, you just scoop the product into your own box, pay per weight and take it home.

    It’s a clever marketing ploy, it got lots of attention in the press. I don’t believe they will actually do it.

    Don’t mess about with food! Leave the graphics to the packaging.

  47. From a Graphic Designer’s point of view, it seems unnessesary. From an everyday guy’s point of view, kinda fun to see. Idk.

  48. I think it would be time consuming, but at the end everyone would want to have a box, wich means their plans of selling more products will actually work. Although it would be easier if they did it just to some of the flakes not the entire box.

  49. All this concern about waste of energy, what it they converted their plants to solar power. Would it still be a useless addition? I think it’s interesting, especially to differentiate between the “off” brands, but I’m not particularly sold on the idea…yet.

  50. Its simple!
    Design agencies like Landor need gullible companies to make money off, and as most big companies use the peter principle to promote their brand managers the synergies are obvious..

    The original concept was the “kings new clothes”

    Nowadays share holders hear the CEO talk of “Innovation” they expect a delivery, they get it! wrapped carefully in well worded BS… and every body goes “great” the stock rises a little (for maybe a day) and everybody agrees rather than risk appearing foolish

  51. I expect a lot of copy cat etchings on other food products such as donuts and pickles. Of course products like m&ms and crackers have long had the brand name printed on each individual food morsel.

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