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Gluten Free Chex Cereal


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An advertising plan using only secondary research. An example of a creative brief is on page 15.

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Gluten Free Chex Cereal

  1. 1. SFSU General Mills Gluten-Free Chex Cereal Tanya Saracino & Seth Breedlove 12/1/2009
  2. 2. Advertising Plan Part A I. The Problem A. The Key Fact General Mills, Inc. is the second largest company in the cereal industry next to Kellogg’s. While General Mills net sales grew 8% in 2008, compared to a modest compound industry growth of 2.9%, there are signs of a slow down and increased competition in the future. Between 2008 and 2013, the industry is expected to decelerate to a growth of 2.8%1. Ready to eat cereal makes up over 85% of the cereal market2. It is a nutritionally dense food that is affordable and a staple in many homes3. However, many individuals can’t enjoy many mainstream cereals due to a natural product in many grains called gluten. According to the National Institute of Health, over two million consumers in the U.S. are gluten intolerant. Gluten is a natural protein found in many foods that can cause reactions that range from unpleasant to fatal for those who have Celiac Disease - an autoimmune disease (i.e. gluten intolerance). Those with gluten intolerance that are exposed to gluten are at risk for mal-absorption of nutrients, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney stones, type I diabetes, seizures, and certain types of cancer. Children may experience lack of growth and behavior problems. Women are at an increased risk for osteoporosis due to mal-absorption of vitamin D, miscarriage and pre-term delivery4. General Mills has responded to this unfortunate and serious health problem with a break-through product: Gluten-Free Chex Cereal, an extension of their already popular Chex Cereal line. As not many mainstream cereal or grain products offer gluten-free versions, addressing this issue in a product is both innovative and socially responsible. Gluten-Free Chex Cereal has the potential to help General Mills gain market share and earn goodwill in the community. Despite the publicity this product has received on various Celiac Disease and gluten-free food blogs, it currently does not possess the kind of awareness that it requires to be a stand out product that will significantly increase market share. B. Advertising Objective This large and relatively unsatisfied market presents an opportunity for General Mills to increase its market share by providing consumers with gluten-free cereals and other products, while educating individuals about Celiac Disease 1 direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,url,uid&db=buh&AN=35416499&site=ehost-live 2 direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,url,uid&db=buh&AN=39651411&site=ehost-live 3 direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,url,uid&db=buh&AN=17632524&site=ehost-live 4
  3. 3. while staying in line with the company strategy of providing healthy foods. Since General Mills has already established itself as a trusted household name and leader in the cereal industry, the stage for gaining market share is already set. Simply put, our advertising objective is as follows: Inform consumers of the innovative and socially responsible product, Gluten-Free Chex Cereal, that General Mills has created, while highlighting the growing health concern of Celiac Disease and General Mills’ stance on this health issue in order to gain market share. A more long-term intention is that this advertising objective will also pave the way for other gluten-free General Mills products that will continue to help them gain market share in the future. II. The Creative Platform Part A: The Product I. The Reality SWOT Analysis Strengths (Internal): • General Mills Chex Cereal is one of the few (if not only) mainstream gluten-free cereal lines in the marketplace right now, excluding smaller specialty cereal brands. • As a mainstream cereal option, the Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line is more affordable and accessible than its more expensive health food store brand competitors. • General Mills and its Chex Cereal lines are both well established and trusted household names. • The Chex Cereal line has already created an element of community with an engaging website and contests for consumers that include their gluten-free line (located at • According to a gluten-free blog, (, the Celiac Disease sufferer community is applauding General Mills for its pioneering efforts through the launch of its gluten-free cereal line. Weaknesses (Internal): • A limited awareness of Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line. • Some bloggers and Celiac Disease activists have complained of still having stomach problems from the Gluten-Free Chex Cereal and are concerned that there might be cross-contamination from their other non gluten-free cereal lines. • A possible, yet unintentional negative perception regarding taste, (being know for being “healthy’ and “gluten-free”) may scare off potential target market consumers. Opportunities (External): • For the Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line to become much more recognizable in the mind of the consumer and to become a part of an evoked set of both gluten-free and mainstream cereal brands. • For the Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line to capture the non-Celiac Disease sufferers market share, by appealing to the health conscious, matriarchal, aging and medical communities.
  4. 4. • For the Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line to further extend complementary General Mills gluten-free products (such as it’s Gluten-Free Betty Crocker baking mixes) to help General Mills stand out as a pioneering, health-conscious and cutting- edge company to gain market share over its biggest industry rival, Kellogg’s. • For the Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line to find and satisfy any unfulfilled ethnic market segments that may be geared to more corn or rice based breakfast foods. Threats (External): • Main industry competitors, such as Kellogg’s and Danone may try to introduce similar products. • The smaller, already established gluten-free cereal brands have already captured a portion of the marketplace and may already have loyal brand ambassadors. • These smaller competitors may also try to gain further awareness and recognition of their product through any Chex Gluten-Free Cereal campaign. • Consumer preference for the other gluten-free breakfast alternatives to cereal that aren’t in danger of having cross-contamination (ie: fruit, yogurt, etc.). Environmental Analysis New products bearing the gluten-free banner have more than tripled since 2004, reaching 700 in 2007. Through April 2009, 341 more gluten-free products have also launched. Sales of gluten-free products will hit $1.7 billion by 2010. Gluten-Free Products Launches, 2004-08 YEAR LAUNCHES % CHANGE 2004 214 N/A 2005 345 +61% 2006 575 +66% 2007 700 +21% 2008(*) 341 N/A (*)2008 figure only includes products launched between Jan. 1-Apr. 29 Originally, gluten-free foods were sought out primarily by Celiac Disease sufferers These days, however, many not afflicted with food digestive sensitivities have chosen to adopt the products as part of a perceived healthier lifestyle, said Lynn Dornblaser, director of CPG trend insight at Mintel. Lynn remarks, "We are definitely seeing more diagnosis of Celiac Disease as doctors become more aware of it, but there are also a growing number of consumers who are taking gluten out of their diets as a lifestyle choice." She continues by saying the increased media buzz has raised awareness about gluten-free products and is being sought out by both health conscious and Celiac suffering consumers. Chex’s Cereal has decided to reformulate its rice cereal for both a need to respond to the increasing demands from consumers for gluten-free products as well as the opportunity to stand out in the cereal aisle. Rohan Thakur, marketing manager for Chex at General Mills Minneapolis, states that the number one
  5. 5. complaint consumers have had in the past 3 years is that they're searching for gluten-free products or the lack there of. "If you go down the cereal aisle, you've got 200 SKUs screaming for attention, so the sheer saturation in the marketplace means that for us to stand out, we have to bring some new news to the marketplace that would be good for consumers", say Rohan. Even though there is no advertising plan in place, the Chex brand is first working on partnering with advocacy groups like the Celiac Disease Foundation and healthcare professionals, who are often the first resource that families and individuals dealing with the affliction turn to. Thakur said that the company fully "intends to talk about this product and invest the dollars to make it more visible in the marketplace." General Mills spent $9 million on advertising in 2007 to create this visibility. With this advertising scheme, General Mills can leverage the once-niche dietary category out of specialty foods and online retailers (that used to be the sole suppliers for its consumers), and bring it into the mainstream aisles of grocery stores nationwide. "These consumers haven't had the chance to walk into the cereal aisle and buy a regular box of cereal for $3.50," added Thakur. "So that's where we have a strong opportunity." However, General Mills finding this opportunity to appeal to the mass market might also destroy smaller brands that have serviced the gluten-free market. Nature's Path, out of Vancouver, British Columbia, which produces organic and gluten-free products (distributed at Whole Foods, Kroger and Wegmans, plus specialty organic retailers) may be one of the companies that is affected by General Mills’ aggressive move into the gluten-free market. Its annual sales reach an excess of $150 million. Nature's Path Marketing Director, Maria Emmer-Aanes, sees Chex moving into the gluten-free market as positive exposure for the already existing companies servicing this market, which will outweigh the perceived threats to competitors. "It's good for everyone because if the consumer has a need and a giant like General Mills gets into it," she said. "They raise awareness for the products that we already make. Just now people are able to get these gluten-free products at their grocery stores. It's way better than it used to be, even just three years ago." Current Agency and Advertising Spending As mentioned, General Mills spent $9 million on advertising to create initial awareness in the minds of consumers, as they felt and feel there is a healthy demand for gluten-free food products. Baking goods and cereal are General Mills’ two superior performing products. With household names such as Betty Crocker, Chex, and Honey Nut Cheerios (just to name a few) adapting to this market will be quite beneficial for General Mills. "It used to be, as a marketer in the food industry, you needed a $50 million idea to make the business model work," says president of General Mills baking products, Ann Simonds. "Today, you can meet an unmet need that will be a $5 million business…That would be
  6. 6. worth it for a company like General Mills."5 Although there is a fairly small percentage of actual Celiac Disease sufferers (1%), General Mills is aiming the majority of their advertising of gluten-free cereal and baking goods to the health conscious households as well. Research shows that 12% of U.S. households see it important to reduce the amount of gluten intake consumed. General Mills will not disclose exact figures on the amount of advertising they are doing in their new found gluten-free products, but states that it is much less than what it is usually accustomed to spending for national product launches6. Regardless of less spending on these products, in its most recent quarter, the company spent 16% more on marketing then it did in 2008, to keep positioning at the top of consumers’ minds7. Trends and practice show that General Mill’s is putting Chex Cereal and the rest of its gluten-free products on the digital market, where it is cheaper and easier to build awareness to niche segments of consumers. Larger companies such as P&G and Mars Inc. have also successfully demonstrated in the past marketing new products via the Internet with great success. Alison Chaltas, a marketing consultant with Interscope LLC, says that General Mills is relying on websites and direct sales to customers (via doctor’s word of mouth and specific retailers) to build customer awareness and need to purchase their gluten-free products. Google has been a primary source of General Mills’ advertising expenditures. The company paid for product links to show up more significantly when people search "gluten-free birthday cake mix" and "gluten free dessert mixes". With a tremendous amount of “information seekers” searching the Internet for recipes, ideas, and ingredients, General Mills shifted Betty Crocker's ad buys to more than half its total spending geared to online advertising while generally, around 20% of General Mills ad budgets are spent online8. The company also sent hundreds of product samples to bloggers who write about Celiac Disease, motherhood and related issues. In addition, General Mills’ gluten-free brands plan to spread the word by sponsoring online marketing, advertising in gluten- free lifestyle magazines, and participating in gluten-related events. In early May, Betty Crocker sponsored a booth at a Celiac Disease Foundation event in California.9 As a MNC, General Mills is also continuing to advertise to its international market, including its healthy food products such as the gluten-free line. Univision 55 &6 Ilan Brat. (2009, July 2). For General Mills, Wheat-Free Items Are Tricky to Make, Cheap to Market. (Wall Street Journal) (Eastern Edition), p. B.1 6 7 Fine, J. (2009). Why General Mills' Marketing Pays Off. Business Week, (4140), 67-68. Retrieved from Business Source Premier Database. 8 Fine, J. (2009). Why General Mills' Marketing Pays Off. Business Week, (4140), 67-68. Retrieved from Business Source Premier Database. 9 Wall Street Journal Betty Crocker 2009 Retrieved from Business Source Premier Database.
  7. 7. Communications and General Mills just renewed it partnership and plans to continue to reach the Hispanic market through on-air, online, mobile, and special cooking presentations. Univision Communications is the leading Spanish- language TV and radio broadcaster in the US, carried by more than 1,400 broadcast and cable affiliates. Que Rica Vida, “What a Good Life”, is General Mills’ well known Spanish oriented lifestyle magazine and website as well as the cornerstone of its Hispanic marketing program. General Mills has placed famous and charismatic TV personality, Karla Matinez, co-host of Univision’s morning show, as the face of the Que Rica Vida network. She will be a part of a series of 30-second vignettes that are aired on Univision to educate viewers with cooking and nutritional facts that will feature General Mills’ brands. "Our research shows that Que Rica Vida is playing an ever more important role in helping Latina women in their daily lives," said General Mills Multicultural Marketing Director Rudy Rodriquez. "We have been very pleased with the results of our partnership with Univision over the past year, and hope to expand it even more, moving forward." Ques Rica Vida is an essential element and key medium in the Hispanic market to bring awareness of health and wellness to stay at home moms in regards to their lifestyles and food products10. Current Message Strategy The current General Mills message strategy can be found by taking a look at their website, which is focused on informing potential consumers about gluten (in general) who it affects and introduces its’ product line of Gluten-Free Chex. General Mills was the first global manufacturer to launch a gluten-free cereal, Chex, in 200811. As this is such a new product that focuses on a disease that few have even heard of (only 1- in- 4,700 are ever diagnosed), yet affects 1 out of every 133 people12, General Mills’ current advertising outlets (website, blogs, articles) are solely focused on providing information about this disease to the public at large. General Mills says it's spending much less on the gluten-free marketing effort than it normally does for national launches. Choosing to spread the world via online marketing, advertising in gluten-free magazines and attending gluten-related events13. Though this strategy as worked thus far, we suggest utilizing both a push and pull strategy. Instead of solely focusing on a pull strategy, where the consumers are left to their own devices and must actively search out this information, we suggest incorporating a push strategy. Utilizing a push strategy, General Mills will be able to focus its effort on spreading awareness about this disease (and a persons potential to have it) on strategically chosen target markets. This will move General Mills from an information provider to awareness builder, which is where we want them to be. Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, affects people 10 General Mills Hispanic Marketing Platform Que Rica Vida Renews Successful Partnership with Univision: Two new chefs join the Betty Crocker Kitchen's Cocina Hispana. (14 September). PR Newswire. 11 12 [2] 13
  8. 8. and they don’t even know it. With this in mind, General Mills must first bring awareness to consumers at large of their potential to have this disease in addition to providing information about it and how their products can help. There is huge market potential for gluten-free products, which, transcends people with this disease into other markets, such as: the health conscious and mothers (the latter of which will be our target audience). II. Perception Those consumers with the Celiac Disease, who know they have it, mostly view the brand in a positive light. There are numerous blogs, recipe/coupon sites, and social networking sites that are focused on analyzing and promoting gluten-free products. All have highlighted the General Mills product line, more specifically, Chex, as an “amazing”14 product. Informed consumers appreciate the attention General Mills is giving to this disease. Prior to the official gluten-free product release, the Internet was buzzing with anticipation for these products. “We were so excited to see the Rice Chex I cried in the store! Last week we found the GF Honey Nut Chex and my kids LOVE them!! I’m so excited to hear that they will make the other flavors as well! Yeah!”15. There were six very similar comments attached to this article, all from women, expressing their excitement for the General Mills gluten-free product line. In addition to article posts, there are coupon websites, primarily focused on and for mothers, to provide an outlet for coupon savings as well as a forum for discussions on products (Mom to Monkeys is one such site). General Mills has done an outstanding job translating the product standards of the original Chex product line to the gluten-free line of Chex. They have utilized online media outlets to transfer the brand equity they have built into the gluten-free realm, recognizing an unfulfilled need and building the anticipation for their product launch. Instead of altering the brands’ perception, we will take advantage of the high (and positive) brand equity to build awareness and create demand for our target market. B. The Target Audience Over the past few decades, research has shown that the typical age of American mothers has been on the rise. In 2006 the average age of American mothers was 25 years old, up from 21.4 in 197016. When taking other countries into consideration, Japan 29.2 and 29.4 in Switzerland, American mothers are still relatively young. Though the average age of mothers are not the highest in the world, American mothers are choosing to have children later in life so they can focus on establishing their careers. 14 15 free-mixes-from-betty-crocker.htm#gB3 16
  9. 9. When taking into consideration the country as a whole, women make up the majority, consisting of 50.9% of the American population17. According to the US Census Bureau, “White Americans” are the majority in the country, making up roughly 75.1% of all persons in 200018. Though White Americans are the majority, Asian Americans enjoy a higher median personal income than any other racial demographic. The only exception is among the holders of graduate degrees who constitute 8.9% of the population. Among those with a Master's, Professional or Doctorate degree those who identified as White had the highest median individual income. Most American households consist of 3.14 persons19 and earn less than $50K per year. Specifically for women, the average income is approximately $33, 075, about $10,242 less than their male counterparts20. On a psychographic level, the typical mother makes a conscious choice every morning when deciding what they will feed their child for breakfast. They take pride in providing a healthy, fulfilling meal that will start their child off on the right foot. What’s more, they see this as a reflection of their success as a mother, actively searching out and making healthy, informed purchasing decisions. They appreciate companies that they can trust in offering honest, healthy choices as an alternative to the norm (in this case, an alternative to sugary breakfast cereals). They envision themselves as protectors and watch dogs of their child’s diet and General Mills has already established itself as a trusted brand and now, gluten-free Chex is an obvious, healthy choice. Profile: Average American Mother Name: Mary Age: 25-35 Race: White Gender: Female Individual Income: $35,000 Career: Teacher Lifestyle: Family orientated, “soccer mom” - daily routine includes: making/providing breakfast, taking children to school, going to work, picking them up, taking them to practice (for multiple sports), cooking dinner, helping their children with homework and putting the children to bed. When she doesn’t have to take/pick up her children from school, she enjoys working out, running errands and occasionally going out to dinner with the girls. Justification of Target Market 17 qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_DP1&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-CONTEXT=qt 18 qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_QTP6&- ds_name=D&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false 19 qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_QTH2&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_DP1&- ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false&-CONTEXT=qt 20
  10. 10. Celiac Disease and its Social and Personal Impact on Mothers Women with celiac disease can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation for both biologically, neurotically and social reasons. The disease untreated can cause embarrassment with uncontrollable gas and feeling ill. Treated it can cause isolation by not being able to partake in the same items that those without the disease can. Neurologically it can cause depression. In all these ways, a person who suffers from celiac disease can feel that are not a part of those around them. The mother-child relationship was studied in 28 children with celiac disease. It was found that there was a high incidence of emotional symptoms in these children, namely withdrawal, irritability and clingingness. Accompanying these symptoms in the children there was a significant disturbance of the mother-child relationship, with maternal anxiety, maternal depression and maternal preoccupation. These symptoms in the mother and child disappeared or greatly improved once the child had responded to a gluten-free diet, except when the mother was already emotionally disturbed before the onset of the child's illness.” (Gardiner, Porteous & Walker 1972)21 Frustration in the Doctor’s Office: In addition to problems at home, many mothers find trouble in the doctor’s office. Often the disease, with symptoms such as diarrhea and congestion are confused with infections and diagnosed incorrectly. On the other hand, doctors may insist that there is nothing wrong with the child. Diana Korn, an author about the disease and considered to be a patient expert tells her story a story of a doctor’s office threatening to ban her if she kept insisting something was wrong with her child. She states, “They kept telling me not to worry and sending me away. After several weeks of this, I just kept calling and trying to get in and, at one point, they would not accept me in the office again. They said there was nothing wrong with Tyler and that if I was going to continue pressing the matter, I would be “excused” from the pediatric practice as a patient. So, in a way, we were fired!” Often mothers are treated as if they were the neurotic ones. Diana Korn did not find help until she found a gastroenterologist who was an expert in malabsorption conditions (Korn 2009).22 21 AU: A. GARDINER, N. PORTEOUS, J. A. WALKER-SMITH, THE EFFECT OF COELIAC DISEASE ON THE MOTHER-CHILD RELATIONSHIP, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health VL: 8, NO: 1, PG: 39-43, YR: 1972, ON: 1440-1754, PN: 1034-4810, AD: Department of Child Health, University of Sydney, and the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.1972.tb01784.x US: ttp:// 22 Korn, D. (2009). A Mother’s perspective: danna korn tells her story. Promethius Therapuetics & Diagnostics, 2009. Retrieved from
  11. 11. Additional Responsibilities: After diagnoses of the disease, mothers face the challenge of learning what will be a healthy diet for those who are gluten intolerant and passing down this information to their child. Many doctors and dieticians are not familiar with the disease and spread misinformation about what the child can eat. A mother may feel anxiety while feeding her child in fear of harming him or her because while she knows the child is gluten intolerant, she may not know what gluten is. Reinforcing this diet, while other children in the house are enjoying bread, pasta and cereal can cause discord in the home. Young children may lack the capacity to understand why gluten is bad for them. It can cause fights between parent and child. The child feels left out while seeing brothers and sister enjoy food that he or she can’t. A child must be taught from the start that they live in a gluten world and must take responsibility for their own diet. The child must taught that a gluten free diet is not a punishment and there are many other things they can eat. For example when going to a birthday party, while they may not be able to eat cake, they can enjoy the ice cream. Additionally, controlling the child’s diet when he or she is away from the parent can be a daunting task. Parents most become advocates and educator of the disease to any one that may provide food for their child. It is not until the child gains maturity, often not the teen years that the child can take responsibility for his or her own diet (Korn 2009). 23 Psychological Implications: There are two different roads children with celiac disease may follow. One is of empowerment where the child can be proactive in finding foods that are healthy for him or her. These children live a normal lifestyle and maintain a positive attitude. Instead of being left out, they become advocates and educators of the disease themselves (Korn 2009) The other road is one of anxiety. There is little feeling of control as the child has not been empowered with information. The child is dependent of the parent to tell the child what is the right or wrong thing to eat. The child avoids social events, eating out in restaurants and does not learn how to build his or her self- confidence. Teaching children independence can boost confidence for both the mother and child. Social Phobia and Depression 23 Korn, D. (2009). A Mother’s perspective: danna korn tells her story. Promethius Therapuetics & Diagnostics, 2009. Retrieved from
  12. 12. In a study of forty individuals with celiac disease and fifty additional healthy individuals without the disease, seventy percent of individuals with celiac disease suffered from social phobia versus sixteen percent in the control group. Within the group of individuals with the disease with social phobias, 73% were recently diagnosed while 68% were on a gluten free diet; surprisingly, not a large difference. Additionally 52.5 percent of those celiac disease suffered from depression versus eight percent in the control group (Addollarto, 2008).24 An individual’s immune system with celiac disease immune system responds to the protein gliadin differently than a person with out the disease. “The protein is similar in structure to other proteins present in the body, including those of the brain and nerve cells. A cross reactivity can occur whereby the immune system “confuses” proteins in the body for the protein gliadin. This is called cellular mimicry and the result is the body attacking its own tissues with inflammation resulting. When inflammation happens in the brain and nervous system, a variety of symptoms can occur, including depression.” (Addollarto 2008)25 In addition, celiac disease interferes with absorption of nutrients including proteins and amino acids. One such protein, tryptophan is a protein in the brain responsible for a feeling of well-being and relaxation. A lack of tryptophan may cause depression, anxiety and feeling not connected with others around them. It is possible that some individuals diagnosed with having a chemical imbalance may actually suffer from celiac disease. Celiac disease also can affect women in other ways biologically and even interfere with a mother and child’s religious observations, please see appendix I. C. The Competition The gluten-free cereal market is rapidly growing, but at this time it is still highly fragmented with no industry leader. There are several reasons for this. First, there is the lack of public awareness of Celiac Disease. Secondly, is that as of October 26, 2009, there is no FDA standard for gluten-free products. A rule is 24 Addolorato G, Mirijello A, D'Angelo C, Leggio L, Ferrulli A, Vonghia L, Cardone S, Leso V, Miceli A, Gasbarrini G. 2009, Institute of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy Retrieved from 25 Addolorato G, Mirijello A, D'Angelo C, Leggio L, Ferrulli A, Vonghia L, Cardone S, Leso V, Miceli A, Gasbarrini G. 2009, Institute of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy Retrieved from
  13. 13. expected any day that all gluten-free products must have less than 20 parts per million. Until then, any cereal can make a claim that they are gluten-free. It can be expected that once a standard is established, some competitors will leave the market due to being unable to reach the standard or afford testing and quality control to ensure the standard. Lastly, is brand awareness. Most gluten-free cereal brands are privately owned and found in privately owned specialty food stores such Rainbow Grocery or Trader Joe’s a publicly owned Wholefoods. In addition, most of these privately owned cereals also come with premium pricing. One of the lower priced cereals is Bob’s Mill Five Grain Rolled Cereal at $7.90 for 4.5 pounds. However, all of Bob’s Mill’s gluten-free cereals must be cooked and are therefore, not ready to eat. An example for ready to eat cereals is Gluteno’s Gluten-Free Honey-Nut sold at Albertson’s grocery stores for $5.69 for a 10 oz package. Nature’s Path Enviro-Kids Leaping Lemurs cereal meant for kids also sells at a hefty $4.59 for a 10 oz package and makes the claim of being environmentally friendly since it donates 1% of its proceeds to save endangered species26. Nature’s Path lowest priced cereal is Enviro-Kids Amazon Flakes at $4.59 for a 14 oz package. Additionally, Nature’s Path was voted Canada’s greenest employer in 200927. At this point in time, Nature’s Path can be considered General Mills largest competitor in the gluten-free market. General Mills has worked hard to build it’s sustainability record ( and it is vital that it brands itself as such to compete against other brands like Nature’s Path and others that gain a similar perception by being sold in “health- food” stores. However, it does still appear that General Mills has a real competitive advantage. It is an internationally recognized brand that is available in large retail grocery stores reaching millions of consumers, and at a price of $3.99 for a 14 oz box of cereal, it is the most competitively priced. A possible substitute for General Mills is Captain Crunch, which contains oats. It's not technically a gluten-free cereal, but oats themselves have much less gluten so some people who have Celiac Disease may be able to tolerate this cereal. However, since oat cereals are often made on the same equipment as other cereals, gluten contamination is still a relevant concern. Oats also contain another protein called Avenin, which can harm the intestines of people with Celiac Disease. That said Captain Crunch could be a possible substitute depending on the person. D. The Single Most Compelling Benefit Our Brand Can Provide Them The single most compelling benefit that General Mills’ Gluten-Free Chex Cereal can provide to consumers is the slice of tradition and belonging that it represents. According to, General Mills is the sixth largest food company in 26 Na tu re 's , Pat h. (2009 , No v 03) . P ro d uc ts Re trie ve d fr o m h ttp :/ /w ww . n at ur es pa th .c o m /p ro du ct 27 NN at ure ' s , Pa t h. (2009, N ov 03). N at ure . R e t ri ev e d from ht tp ://w w w . nat ure s p at h.c om /p rod uc t
  14. 14. the world, operating in more than 100 countries with more than 100 consumer brands. Despite all of the choices available to consumers at their local grocers, “on an average, the US shoppers prefer to place at least one General Mills product into their shopping cart each time they visit the grocery store.” This equates to the fact that General Mills holds the first or second position in every category in which it competes28. Not only do General Mills products appear to be readily available, they also appear to carry with them high brand recognition and brand loyalty. With ready to eat cereals accounting for 88.10% of the Global Breakfast Cereals Market Segmentation % share by Value (2008) and General Mills accounting for 16.10% of Global Breakfast Cereals Market Share % by Value (2008), their presence in international as well as domestic households is quite large and meaningful29. Bearing that in mind, General Mills as a company has a great presence and underlying significance in many domestic households, with its Chex cereal line acting as a part of food-related family traditions and daily routines that create normalcy and consistency. As the need for gluten-free products can signify a sense of isolation and differentiation, having a mainstream, trusted brand offer a gluten-free product creates a sense of belonging on a simple but integral level. While there are many benefits that any gluten-free cereal can provide for Celiac Disease sufferers and non-Celiac Disease sufferers alike, General Mills Gluten- Free Chex Cereal is different. Specifically, it offers the benefit of being both readily available and cheaper than the competition, but most importantly it leverages its time-built brand equity and all of the symbolism that comes with it. For parents with or without Celiac Disease sufferers in their family, it’s a small way, to provide their families with a healthy start for the most important meal of the day. In summation, the single most compelling benefit that General Mills’ Gluten-Free Chex Cereal can provide to consumers is the slice of tradition and belonging that it represents. E. Why Should They Believe This? Chex Cereal’s have been at the family breakfast table since 1937. It is a brand with global recognition and trust. Many of its cereals are made from gluten free ingredients. For those products labeled as ‘gluten free’ that are made from wheat or multigrain, consumers can trust that the claims are accurate coming from company under the public eye and trust. The FDA proposed regulation states that gluten-free products contain less than 20 ppm gluten. General Mills products with a gluten-free claim already comply with this proposed regulation. Additionally, General Mills processes their gluten free products separately to ensure no cross contamination occurs (Savy Celiac 2009). 30 28 1(n.d.). General Mills, Inc.. Datamonitor. Retrieved (2009, November 20) from 29 2 (2008). Global Breakfast Cereals. Datamonitor. Retrieved (2009, November 20) from 30 Anonymous, . (2009, April 10). Gluten-free chex cereals — ensuring “gluten-freeness”. The Savy Celiac,
  15. 15. F. Tone In order to create awareness of General Mills’ Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line among families (with and without a Celiac Disease sufferer in the family), we suggest that our primary market segmentation focus on the family unit. While we would like to emphasize a primary focus on the decision-making members of the household (specifically mothers), we feel that our tone and messaging should be relevant to the entire family unit. As a brief background to better understand our tone and messaging, it is important to recap that the main defining factor of having Celiac Disease is that the person with this disease must avoid gluten-containing products on a daily basis, often forcing them to observe an extremely strict and constraining diet and even limiting certain social activities. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation ( gluten is found in everything from bread and pasta to processed luncheon meats, communion wafers and play-dough. Such restrictions can prove to not only be expensive (having to specifically buy specialized gluten-free products) but also socially stifling. Being a Celiac Disease sufferer or having one in your family seems to create a sense of disconnect and isolation, as illustrated by the various Celiac Disease support groups, websites and blogs. Already being a trusted household company (and brand), General Mills’ Chex Cereal line is a part of many American families’ breakfasts and snacks (Chex Mix) and is a pantry staple. It carries with it, a sense of routine and mainstream normalcy – something that is missing in many Celiac Disease sufferers’ lives. Being able to take part of a “normal” breakfast or snack routine without the feeling of differentiation, references the Maslow-esque idea of “belonging” and “social acceptance.” We would like to position General Mills Gluten-Free Chex Cereal, not just as a healthy and delicious food, but also a link to mainstream behavior and inclusiveness. In summation, General Mills’ Gluten-Free Chex Cereal needs to project the idea of belonging and mainstream normalcy. Its tone should be informative and heartfelt, but light-hearted as well. The overall effect should be to tug at the mind and heartstrings, while still infusing humor and “normalcy” into the heart of the messaging. III. The Creative Brief Brand: General Mills’ Gluten-Free Chex Cereal Why are we advertising? To create awareness of General Mills’ new Gluten-Free Chex Cereal line, by Retrieved from
  16. 16. promoting its healthful benefits, competitive price and accessibility, while simultaneously leveraging the already existing brand equity of the Chex cereal brand. Who are we talking to? HHI 35,000 plus, 25-35, white, mother or mother-like figure, looking for a healthy breakfast cereal to feed her family (with or without a Celiac Disease sufferer). She’s a busy woman with many priorities, but her first priority is her family and providing them with a healthy and safe lifestyle. What must the advertising say? General Mills’ Gluten-Free Chex Cereal means more than just nutrition, it means belonging and normalcy. A healthy start for everyone in the household. Why should the consumer believe it? A trusted and well-known brand with an innovative approach to mainstream nutrition. A brand that offers a competitively priced and easily accessible product for “the most important meal of the day” that everyone in a single household can consume without dietary concerns. What tone of voice? Informative and heart-felt, but still light-hearted and slightly humorous. Appendix I Fertility, Menopause and Menstrual Cycles Up to thirty-nine percent of women with untreated celiac disease may experience irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea (no menstruation). Some studies indicate that as much as eight percent of women untreated may suffer from infertility. Though, it is difficult to ascertain the actual amount, since many women may not exhibit any other symptoms other than infertility. Women with untreated or undiagnosed celiac disease enter menopause three to five years later than women who treat their celiac disease by eating a proper diet. However, once treated, most women return to normal fertility rates for their age group (Burkhart 2009).31 Other Social Implications: “For Catholics with celiac disease, the most painful personal and social aspect of living on strict gluten free is the inability to receive the host, or bread, at Communion along with other members. Catholics believe that the bread is transformed into the Body of Christ. This transformation and the reception of the Body of Christ, called the Eucharist, takes place at Mass. Mass is the center around which the 31 Burkhart A MD PHD (2009) Pregnancy and Celiac Disease, National Center for Celiac Disease, Retrieved from Research/134/vobId__2030/
  17. 17. religious life of a Catholic revolves. To be suddenly denied this by virtue of having celiac disease is devastating to many Catholics……… Because the Catholic Church states that Communion bread must be made of only wheat and water with "sufficient gluten to attain the confection of bread," the only option for the Catholic celiac has been to receive Communion under the species of wine alone. Likewise, parents of celiac children are troubled by having their child receiving Communion differently from other children or by having their child drink wine (Coughlin 2009).”32 32 Coughlin M.D, B. (n.d.). Catholic communion and celiac disease: the options. Retrieved from Last accessed Nov, 10 2009