- Hazelnut spread Nutella is positioning itself as a topping alternative to maple syrup around National Pancake Day, the company announced in a press release.
- The Ferrero brand is promoting the effort with a pop-up in New York's Grand Central Terminal on Feb. 29. At the "Nutella Syrup Swap Shop," visitors can exchange a bottle of syrup for a container of Nutella and sample pancakes topped with the sweet spread.
- The campaign includes an integration with Amazon Alexa, where users can ask the voice assistant for breakfast ideas. Saying the phrase, "Alexa, open Nutella Creations" will unlock recipes that include the spread and four interactive memory games geared toward families. Nutella Creations, an online recipe hub, provides families with socially shareable guides to whipping up six new dinosaur-themed pancake designs.
While Nutella is the dominant chocolate spread, commanding 54% of global market share and $2.3 billion in annual sales, one challenge it faces in driving U.S. growth is competing with different pancake traditions — not rival chocolate spreads — such as syrup in order to gain popularity at American families' dining tables.
The brand is positioning itself as a fun and creative alternative to syrup, and activating this message through an event at one of the country's busiest transit hubs. By asking people to swap bottles of syrup for a free container of Nutella, the brand is attempting to introduce the hazelnut spread as a staple breakfast ingredient. In-person events like this can help brands directly interact with fans and deepen ties. Though Nutella's pop-up takes place days after the official National Pancake Day, Feb. 25, the move was perhaps a strategic choice to compel more visitors to the event while they're not rushing through Grand Central during their commute.
Including an Alexa skill in the campaign is a savvy move, as 25% of U.S. adults own a smart speaker, per Pew Research. About one-third of consumers use a voice assistant in the kitchen to help with recipes, according to Food Network. By positioning Nutella as a top-of-mind breakfast ingredient, the company is smartly integrating its product into a popular channel for cooking inspiration. Customers can use the voice-powered to find and follow recipes as they cook, or have kids interacting with the memory games as they await breakfast.
Nutella's latest breakfast positioning follows last year's promotion for National Pancake Day, a $2.4 million media investment that included TV ads and special product packaging.