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From Cereals to Snacks: New Product Testing to Maximise Launch Success
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From Cereals to Snacks: New Product Testing to Maximise Launch Success

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Special K is an iconic brand with a strong following in Australia – it exists to nourish every woman’s journey to her own best self. But what if a new savoury, snack version was introduced? Would Australian consumers enjoy it and buy the product?

This was the challenge facing the Kellogg’s brand team recently, when the opportunity to launch Special K Cracker Crisps arose. Can you extend an iconic cereals brand into salty snacks?

The Nielsen new product development (NPD) team was called in to review the offering and help determine how to launch the product locally to maximise success. The focus was to optimise the campaign and determine the possible revenue Kellogg’s could derive following a product introduction. The Nielsen BASES 12 Factors for Success framework was used to enhance the likelihood of successful launch.

Message testing was undertaken to determine which messages were most attractive to the target consumer. Various product attributes were put to the consumers, who were then asked: which of these messages are most tempting to you? Results showed that too many messages were attempting to be conveyed. The brand needed to simplify its core offering to make it simpler to understand and therefore more attractive to busy female shoppers.

The brand team also needed to determine where in the shop it would place Special K Cracker Crisps. Due to their savoury, crunchy nature research showed consumers saw the product as a healthy chip-alternative – and this is where most sales would come from.

Insights from Nielsen’s Homescan Panel were incorporated to work out who might buy Special K Cracker Crisps. Current brand buyers are often open to consider cross-brand launches, so this is where the initial activity would be targeted.

The two most popular brand messages were then re-tested, and it was determined ‘60% less fat’ would resonate more than the number of chips people could consume for less than 100 calories. This message was then included in the pack design so shoppers could easily identify the key USP.

A marketing launch plan was devised and optimised including in-store activity, an innovative PR program incorporating social media activation and sampling, plus TV advertising. The Special K Post Office achieved reached 200,000 consumers via social media channels Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, plus reached one million consumers via traditional media advertising.

While an increase in competitive activity hindered the targeted results, by streamlining communication for Special K Cracker Crisps and focusing on the key benefit of ‘60% less fat’, the results showed a 35% increase in volume potential. By moving through the BASES methodology the brand also substantially reduced the risk of in-market failure.

And Special K Cracker Crisps are being discovered by women across Australia who are looking for sustaining, enjoyable and nourishing food to help them on their weight wellness journey.


These insights were presented live on stage at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference (July 31 – Aug 1, Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains). Representatives from Kellogg’s and Nielsen discussed how tapping into consumer insights dramatically improved the odds of success with the Australian launch of Special K Cracker Crisps. A fascinating story about refining brand communication to reduce risk and drive volume sales.