CPG Roundup: Coke x Uber, Pillsbury, Kellogg’s, Chobani, Pringle’s and Kit Kat


Pillsbury Ugly Sweater

Welcome to brandchannel’s first CPG Roundup, a recurring column that will highlight news, developments and trends in the marketing and advertising of foods, beverages, health and beauty products and the range of packaged goods.

In today’s edition, we look at a Yule-themed advertising mashup between Coca-Cola and Uber, Pillsbury’s reach efforts around Christmas, Philadelphia’s clever double-dipping campaign, Chobani’s new yogurts for kids, Super Bowl advertising news, Kellogg’s potential big new hit, and Kit Kat flavor fever in Japan.

Coke, Uber Team for Tears

Coca-Cola and Uber have joined forces in an ad and promotion for Uber Eats. The service delivers Christmas Eve meals—including a bottle of Coke—to workers in France who are pulled away from their loved ones during the holidays.

The commercial shows a night watchman trying to pass the time during a Yuletide shift while the rest of his family eats a home-cooked meal on Christmas Eve. But when he gets his Uber Eats delivery meal, a personalized Coke and an ugly Christmas sweater, he realizes his family hasn’t forgotten him.

Meanwhile, in time for the holidays, Coke is partnering with an entirely different sort of brand, too: Aldi, the Germany-based grocery chain with a growing US presence. The Coca-Cola Mini-Can Fridge looks like a giant can of Coke and holds as many as eight 12-ounce soda cans.

Pillsbury Smells Like Christmas

No longer content to be a passive player in holiday recipes, General Mills’ Pillsbury brand is going all experiential this season.

In anticipation of National Ugly Sweater Day on December 21, Pillsbury produced some of its own truly garish garments, with the Dough Boy prominently displayed on the front. They sold out quickly.

Meanwhile, as part of a new campaign for the refrigerated-dough brand during the holidays, Pillsbury chose about 25 movie theaters scattered around the country for a “scent marketing” campaign that featured the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls wafting among the seats in accompaniment of cinema ads for the rolls before features such as The Grinch.

“Think of it as a great big air freshener,” a General Mills spokeswoman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune“It pumps on low during the commercial and then turns off afterward so the smell dissipates.”

Digital Wrist-Slapping by Philadelphia

Americans can’t help themselves from double-dipping at holiday parties, with a recent survey revealing that one in four guests secretly does so despite the social disapproval of doing so.

Kraft’s Philadelphia brand of cream cheese purports to have come up with a Double Diptector, a “smart device” that combines sensing technology with a nasty disposition to “track and catch with almost certainty if a person decides to double dip,” as the brand puts it, tongue firmly in cheek (or is it chasing that last dab of Buffalo Style Philadelphia dip?).

The Double Diptector will be auctioned off on eBay with proceeds going to charity.

Kid Appeal for Chobani

Still seeking new places for Greek-style yogurt to go, Chobani introduced a kids line called Gimmies, which include a Crunch sub-brand similar to the Chobanni Flip format, yogurt milkshake drinks, pouches and tubes. Gimmies will be available in 13 flavors overall, including one called Best Birthday Ever for Crunch, and another called Bizzy Buzzy Strawberry for milkshakes.

Chobani called it the most significant launch since it unveiled Flip a few years ago, a sub-brand that has reignited growth in a Greek-style category that has begun flattening out overall.

“Options [for kids’ snacking] today are lousy or impractical,” Chobani Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said in a press release. “We wanted to break that cycle and it’s a challenge we took really seriously.”

Chobani Gimmies

Super Bowl Looms

Super Bowl LIII on February 3, 2019, is ready to follow hard on Christmas in the marketing world, and more brands are lining up with commitments.

For example, Pringle’s, the Kellogg-owned brand, said that it plans to return to Big Game advertising after making its initial foray in last season’s Super Bowl. Pringle’s debuted its “Flavor Stacking” campaign during Super Bowl LII, and it has promised—without details—to continue to demonstrate its gazillions of potential chip-flavor combinations in its Big Game ad in February.

Meanwhile, Bud Light, a perennial and important Big Game advertiser, wants to follow up its memorable debut last year of its “Dilly Dilly” universe. The brand hasn’t said yet whether it will return with in-game advertising this time around, but  Bud Light announced that it will put on a music festival in Atlanta on the day of the game.

Bud Light Super Bowl

New Combo for Kellogg

Combining a popular untapped taste with one of its iconic cereals, Kellogg’s plans to launch Honey Nut Frosted Flakes nationwide in January, after testing more than 50 flavor combinations. Of course, Honey Nut Cheerios are a staple for rival General Mills.

The new Kellogg cereal was “a tough nut to crack,” said Brant Wheaton, Frosted Flakes senior brand manager, in a press release. “It was such a fun challenge to combine the two well-known flavors of honey-nut and Frosted Flakes to make something completely unique and quite frankly, g-r-reat.”

Kellogg's Honey Nut Frosted Flakes

Flavor Mania for Kit Kat

When you’ve already got hundreds of flavors of a CPG product, what’s a few dozen more?

Well, if you’re talking Kit Kat candy bars in Japan—it’s a big deal. Kit Kat Japan has launched an average of 20 to 30 new Kit Kat flavors each year, sometimes 40 or 50, on its way to the introduction of a total of more than 350 flavors over the 45 years of Kit Kat eating that have been enjoyed by fans of the Nestle Japan-owned brand.

Right now, only about 40 flavors of KitKat are available in Japan, with sales led by the original and matcha flavors. Sake, Wasabi and Tokyo Banana also are hits.

KitKat Japan