Gladys Santiago

Generic Cereals = Real Life Product Displacement

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Product Placements by Gladys Santiago on October 16, 2009

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According to The Daily Mail, Kellogg’s plans to laser its logo on individual corn flakes.  The drastic and peculiar plan is meant to emphasize the Kellogg’s brand name in a cereal market flooded with cheaper generic options, which they refer to as “fake flakes.”  

Helen Lyons, Lead Food Technologist at the company states, “We want shoppers to be under absolutely no illusion that Kellogg’s does not make cereal for anyone else.  We’re constantly looking at new ways to reaffirm this and giving our golden flakes of corn an official stamp of approval could be the answer.  We’ve established that it is possible to apply a logo or image onto food, now we need to see if there is a way of repeating it on large quantities of our cereal. We’re looking into it.”  [via: The Daily Mail]

I’ve debated whether generic brands are forms of product displacements and ultimately decided that they are since they mimic packaging and naming conventions of their brand name counterparts.  In the midst of a recession, consumers often buy generic products to save money.  As generic/store brands improved in quality, consumers realize that when they purchase brand name cereal, they are just paying for advertising.

The Kellogg’s laser idea is an attempt to give their corn flakes cereal a label of prestigiousness.  As I’ve stated many times when discussing product displacement, even if a brand is tweaked, consumers will still identify the greeked product with the brand referenced.  Based on Lyons’ statement, it seems Kellogg’s is worried that product displacement is working too well because consumers assume that all corn flakes are made by Kellogg’s.  Click here for another example of a “generic” cereal.  Can you guess the brand name cereal being reference?