- Cheez-It, the cheesy cracker brand owned by Kellogg, is celebrating its centennial with the introduction of a new direct-to-consumer (DTC) site offering a variety of merchandise and exclusive products, per an announcement.
- Consumers can pick up a range of branded goods from Cheez-It HQ, such as a fanny pack ($16), an apron ($26) and a bundle featuring a onesie, blanket and socks ($140). Starting Aug. 11, the platform will also sell limited-edition four packs of Cheez-It Extra Toasty that include the original crackers and three never-before-released variants: Extra Cheesy, Extra Spicy and Cheddar Jack.
- The commerce play intends to help Cheez-It speed up new product introductions, executives said in the announcement. Kellogg follows other large packaged foods marketers in investing more in DTC as consumers put a higher premium on convenience.
Cheez-It is ringing in 100 years with a website that doubles as a venue for selling branded swag and testing new food concepts. The move follows packaged foods rivals that have pushed more of their business online to accommodate shopping habits enshrined by the pandemic and the continued preference for at-home snacking. PepsiCo last year introduced two dedicated DTC sites, including a Snacks.com offering centered on its Frito-Lay line.
DTC platforms can be a simpler means of acquiring customer data versus traditional in-store channels. Marketers broadly are encouraging consumers to fork over more personal information as they prepare for the deprecation of mainstay digital targeting tactics like third-party cookies.
"This Direct-to-Consumer site gives us the opportunity to bring future food innovations to market faster than ever before, while also collecting feedback from our consumers in real time," said Jordan Narducci, director of global DTC e-commerce at Kellogg, in a press statement.
Cheez-It HQ also serves as a way for the cracker label to cater to diehard followers who may be willing to pick up a hoodie, beanie or koozie bearing its logo and red-and-yellow color scheme. Apparel has become a prominent tool for marketers looking to establish their brands as lifestyle purveyors that people will happily champion in public.
In kind, competitor Cheetos last month extended its partnership with reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny through a collaborative leisurewear collection produced with Adidas. Fans could receive early access to the clothing line through a finger-scanning technology that recognized whether the user's hands were coated with Cheeto dust, or "Cheetle."
Kellogg has been sinking more money into marketing and advertising as the pandemic's early grocery frenzy continues to cool and demand stabilizes. Cheez-It, a $1 billion retail sales brand, has helped keep the company ahead in the cracker category even as it contends with ongoing pressures on its supply chain.