Special K is a $1 billion brand in the U.S., selling an estimated 168 million boxes of cereal a year. This spring, Kellogg's and Weldon Owen are hoping a massive marketing campaign can extend the brand's success into the book world.
The Special K Challenge & Beyond: Your Guide to Weight Management, Healthy Living & Delicious Cooking, the first book from Special K and the only Kellogg's book currently scheduled, was released April 19. The announced first printing is 150,000 copies, and the e-book is being released April 25, priced at $9.99. It's also the first Kellogg's book associated with a diet, taking off on the Special K Challenge, a diet plan launched in 2003 that suggests eating cereal or other Special K products for breakfast and lunch, followed by a regular dinner, in order to "drop a jeans size in 2 weeks." The company won't say how many people have gone on the diet, but a spokesperson said, "It's in the millions."
Weldon Owen is publishing the book; Simon & Schuster is distributing it (as it distributes all WO titles). Weldon is working with Kellogg's licensing, brand, communication, and shopper marketing teams and Ketchum Public Relations on a multifaceted, $350,000 promotion for the $16.99 paperback. "The partnership with Kellogg's is an opportunity for us to work with a brand that has proven success in developing market-leading strategies from beginning to end," said Amy Kaneko, v-p of sales and new business at Weldon Owen. Marketing plans include 4,000 15-copy floor displays, which will go into bookstores, grocery stores, and mass retailers. Some 23 million cereal boxes and seven million bars and snacks boxes will show the book cover and feature a $2 mail-in rebate offer; supermarket point-of-purchase displays will offer a $3 mail-in rebate.
Throughout the month of May, there will be broadcast, print, and online ads for the challenge; the ads will refer consumers to SpecialK.com, which gets more than six million visits a year and will prominently feature the book. Ketchum will lead a social media marketing campaign, with posts promoting the Special K book to more than 400,000 Facebook friends and online chats with fans on Special K's Facebook page.