Turning Food Into Art is a Snap... and a Crackle and a Pop
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Turning Food Into Art is a Snap... and a Crackle and a Pop

With widespread and increasing scrutiny over the commercialization of school programs, The Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Recipe Sculpturing Contest For Schools needed to go above and beyond to make its third time a charm.

Paul Holmes

  Sustaining interest and keeping any PR campaign and contest fresh and exciting for three years in a row can be challenging enough, but with widespread and increasing scrutiny over the commercialization of school programs, The Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Recipe Sculpturing Contest For Schools needed to go above and beyond to make its third time a charm. 
 
Seeking to surpass the previous years participation and media awareness for the contest’s third year, Kellogg with Porter Novelli (PN) implemented a number of non-traditional communications tactics to keep the campaign newsworthy - including direct-to-school outreach, Internet activities and an expanded media relations effort targeted to local media, key influencers, children and their parents.  As a result, participation in the contest nearly doubled to 117 schools vs. 65 schools in 1999 and placements were secured in nearly 100 more outlets than the previous year.
 
CHALLENGE:
 
Following two successful years of the contest, a new Rice Krispies brand manager challenged PN to increase participation and awareness in the 2000 contest.
 
OBJECTIVES:
 
Increase participation in the contest
 
Maintain awareness of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies with media, key influencers, children and their parents to drive sales
 
STRATEGY:
 
A three-phased, grassroots public relations program was employed to target kids, schools and media to drive excitement and news: contest announcement, sculpture building and winners announcement. 
 
This approach was effective in targeting the key audiences as directly as possible, while putting special emphasis on the first phase to maximize participation and results.
 
EXECUTION:
 
Announcement phase:
In late August (in time for back-to-school), a contest announcement flyer was sent directly to more than 11,000 elementary school principals across the country in geographic areas that were of particular importance to the Rice Krispies brand and in states that had shown a high level of participation in past Rice Krispies contests.  Direct outreach had previously been limited to the 1,500 members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
 
PN also advised Kellogg to include information about the contest on their home page (www.kelloggs.com) as another vehicle for driving contest awareness.  Kellogg added a section on the site that included contest entry forms, rules, photos of the 1999 winning sculptures and the Rice Krispies Treats recipe.
 
Expanded baseline media relations efforts were conducted via intensive local media outreach and follow up to community newspapers and by sending a radio alert offering a brand spokesperson to discuss the contest.  In addition, a press release and photo of 1999’s winning sculpture was distributed to educational trades and to education, lifestyle, food and feature editors at more than 250 daily newspapers across the country. 
 
As a result, the focused contest announcement efforts generated 9 million more media impressions in 2000 than were generated in 1999.  While nearly 1,200 teachers, parents and students requested entry kits in both 1999 and 2000, the number of schools who actually entered the contest in 2000 nearly doubled.
 
Sculpture building phase:
Targeted media alerts were sent to 36 outlets in seven key brand markets where sculpture building was taking place to help build momentum about the contest and attract local media coverage of “hometown” efforts.
 
Winner announcement phase:
On December 14, the Big Sandy Elementary School (Big Sandy, TN) was announced as the winner of the contest for their Rice Krispies recreation of a “Tropical Rainforest.”  The sculpture measured 12’ x 6’ and was made using 57 boxes of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies.  As part of the prize package, Big Sandy received a breakfast party to which local media were invited to attend.  A press release announcing all winners was distributed nationally on the morning of the event.  In addition, a satellite B-roll package was produced, edited and distributed on the day of the event. 
 
RESULTS:
 
Direct contact with school influentials and a focused pre-contest local media campaign helped PN meet the brand’s primary objective of increasing school participation, nearly doubling the amount: 117 schools vs. 65 schools in 1999.  Almost 30% of this year’s entries resulted from the direct-to-school mailing and the information listed on www.kelloggs.com.
 
Effective outreach to key educators via trades (e.g., Creative Classroom, Teacher Magazine, Arts & Activities) and consumers via the grass roots efforts helped increase media coverage and generate awareness for the contest and the Rice Krispies brand.  This year’s contest generated more than 65% more placements than in 1999 for a total audience reach of more than 33 million at a cost to the brand of $.008 per impression.  The brand became the hero as the Rice Krispies name and other key messages were mentioned in 100 percent of all placements and during on-air banter between reporters.
 
Within the six-month time frame, the contest helped establish community partnerships between Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and students, teachers and parents who purchased more than 3,950 boxes of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, a 36% increase over 1999, just to build the entries.  Overall, the Rice Krispies brand saw an increase in Q4 2000 product sales versus Q4 1999.
 
Momentum was also built for 2001, as both schools and media eagerly await the announcement of the contest’s fourth year and are already calling Kellogg to learn more about how they can get involved.
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