- The Kellogg Company is introducing a fresh creative direction for its Pop-Tarts brand of toaster pastries by reinventing some old characters, according to a press release.
- A new campaign from the marketer calls back to a series of “Crazy Good” ads that ran in the aughts and featured anthropomorphized versions of the treats as they fled from hungry people. Those characters are back, but rather than running from consumers, they now actively entice people to crave them.
- Pop-Tarts is supporting the “Agents of Crazy Good” strategy with a media plan spanning TV spots, digital marketing, social media and experiential channels. The brand has also struck strategic partnerships around college football and with Adult Swim to promote a platform that positions Pop-Tarts as an anytime snack option.
Pop-Tarts is the latest brand to try and tap into 2000s nostalgia, a trend that recognizes the growing spending power of groups like Gen Z that came of age in the era. “Agents of Crazy Good” attempts to makeover old brand characters in a way that is better suited to modern tastes, per the announcement. On the business end, Pop-Tarts wants to associate its products more closely with snacking occasions versus strictly breakfast. The company indicated it has seen an uptick in adults who snack on Pop-Tarts since 2019.
“This new creative direction reinforces Pop-Tarts as an anytime food while simultaneously delighting fans with characters that remind them of their childhood love of Pop-Tarts,” said Heidi Ray, senior director of marketing at Pop-Tarts, in a statement.
The original “Crazy Good” ads were memorable for their morbid sense of humor. Done in a simplistic illustrated style, the commercials showed anthropomorphized Pop-Tarts running into a variety of outlandish scenarios where they ended up on the menu. In one, a toaster pastry fleeing from a pack of hungry people barges into the house of a lizard eating breakfast to seek refuge. The lizard recommends it jump into a giant toaster to hide, with the pastry obliging and eventually becoming his next meal in a diabolical twist.
Pop-Tarts’ refresh of the concept flips the script. Rather than being terrified of being eaten — and seeing those fears realized as a punchline — the mascots are proactive about stoking cravings in consumers. The line-up of characters, including Frosted Strawberry, Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Hot Fudge Sundae and mini-sized Bites, also appear to be rendered in sleeker 3D animation versus the school-desk doodle aesthetic of the past.
Consumers will get their first taste of the creative at the Adult Swim Fest in San Diego, California, starting today (July 20), where the brand is also putting on a fine dining experience. Pop-Tarts said it will expand its work with the network in the months ahead. New video ads made with Formerly Known As, Pop-Tarts’ creative agency of record, will begin airing on TV in September.
Pop-Tarts is also tying the campaign into the Pop-Tarts Bowl, which marks the first time the marketer has sponsored an NCAA college football bowl. The event, organized by Florida Citrus Sports, will be held in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, in December, and be broadcast live on ESPN. As part of a multiyear deal struck with Florida Citrus Sports in March, Pop-Tarts has exclusive naming rights, in-stadium exposure, product sampling and on-site activations at the game and other events.
Clarification: This story has been updated to include additional details about Formerly Known As, Pop-Tarts' creative agency of record.