Bagel Bites: X Marks the Spot
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Holmes Report
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Bagel Bites: X Marks the Spot

By securing Tony Hawk, skateboarding legend and ESPN X Games champion, Ketchum executed an exceptional radio media tour that positioned Bagel Bites as the tween snack food of choice.

Paul Holmes

  When Bagel Bites decided to rejuvenate its brand by marketing toward “tween” boys, ages 9 to 14, it was Ketchum/Pittsburgh’s charge to reach this new, hip audience.  By securing Tony Hawk, skateboarding legend and ESPN X Games champion, Ketchum executed an exceptional radio media tour that positioned Bagel Bites as the tween snack food of choice.
 
RESEARCH
 
Bagel Bites, the second-largest frozen snack food brand in the U.S., wanted to reposition itself in the marketplace.  Traditionally, the brand focused its marketing efforts toward moms, even though its core consumers were children.  While the brand had shown consistent growth during its 15-year history, Heinz Frozen Food Company was looking to jumpstart their sales by reaching out to a new demographic.
 
Near the end of 1999, the brand decided to begin marketing directly to its primary consumers – “tween” boys, age 9 to 14.  While moms continued to be the primary purchasers, the brand decided to rely on kids’ influence with their parents to generate additional sales.  It was Ketchum’s charge to reach out to this new demographic and stimulate increased sales growth.
 
PLANNING
 
Audiences
  • Tween boys, age 9 to 14.
  • Media that reaches tween boys.
 
Objectives
  • Garner 14-16 interviews with popular tween-focused media.
  • Support Bagel Bites sales goals.
 
Strategies
  • Leverage high-profile celebrity to bring credibility to the Bagel Bites message.
  • Utilize radio media tour to reach audience.
 
Key Messages
  • Bagel Bites are the cool snack food of choice.
  • Bagel Bites are the perfect snack for Tony Hawk.
  • Bagel Bites bite-sized frozen pizza snacks offered eight lucky winners trips to the ESPN Summer X Games to meet Tony Hawk.  Thousands of other prizes were also up for grabs, including snowboards, X Games merchandise and free Bagel Bites.
 
EXECUTION
 
As part of this shift in strategy, Bagel Bites asked Ketchum to conduct a satellite media tour directed toward tween consumers with a well-known athlete as their major publicity effort.  Ketchum decided to conduct a radio tour because it effectively reached their target demographic. 
 
Spokesperson
Looking for a celebrity who could appeal to their younger, hipper audience, Ketchum scored a perfect “10” with their client when they hired pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, the reigning king of alternative sports.  Known as the “Michael Jordan of professional skateboarding,” Hawk is the most famous alternative sports athlete ever.  He has competed professionally as a skateboarder for more than 15 years and has introduced some of the most famous moves in the sports.  Most importantly, he is one of the country’s most popular and credible celebrities among tweens – the primary reason why Ketchum selected him as the Bagel Bites spokesperson.
 
Radio Media Tour
Ketchum far surpassed their radio interview goal with Tony Hawk.  Hawk conducted a successful satellite radio tour that aired on many of the most popular tween radio stations in the country.  During the tour, he encouraged listeners to enter the Bagel Bites X Games Sweepstakes and win a trip to the ESPN Summer X Games.
 
With limited advertising support and publicity efforts, the success of the satellite radio tour allowed the brand to achieve tween-focused media coverage that significantly contributed to record-breaking consumption figures.
 
EVALUATION
 
Objective – Garner media coverage on popular tween radio stations.
Result:  Surpassed goal.  Ketchum set a goal of 14-16 radio interviews (a standard industry assumption) for tween-focused radio stations.  Ketchum far surpassed their goal as Tony Hawk appeared on behalf of Bagel Bites in 69 markets, reaching more than 7.5 million consumers.  Only time limitations prevented us from gaining further reach.
 
Objective – Support Bagel Bites sales goals.
Result: Surpassed goal.  Following the satellite radio media tour, the brand experienced the largest consumption week ever for Bagel Bites.  The most surprising aspect of the increase was the consistency and sustainability.  The sales results almost defy logic for a 15 year-old brand:
Bagel Bites experienced a 32 percent increase in consumption over the same period the previous year – the largest consumption week ever for the product. 
 
For the 13-week period ending July 22, 2000, Bagel Bites consumption increased 21 percent over the previous year.
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