LET'S TALK ELVES
Keebler is losing market share to Nabisco and private label.
This is why:
- Poor packaging [leads to a very magical brand experience]
- Not leveraging the brand's iconography
- Their target demographic (kids//age 6-12) grow up
1. Product redesign
2. Put Ernie & the treehouse front and center
3. Use magic to disrupt the monotony of adulthood
[differentiating Keebler on a cookie shelf of sameness]
KEEBLER WAS LOST IN ITS OWN
"SEA OF SAMENESS"
Every Keebler product was packaged the same, regardless of variant. We're talking same shade of yellow, nearly identical fonts, Keebler logo in the upper left quadrant, Ernie standing front and center. It was difficult distinguishing one product from another — an observation later echoed by one focus group participant, who said that Keebler felt like "a second-tier Nabisco."
On the other hand, each Nabisco brand had its own identity — color, shape, logo — making it easy to tell one product from another, which explained why survey respondents had an easier time recognizing Nabisco products over Keebler.
step two: sample the product
Nabisco was clearly winning when it came to looks.
But it's what's inside that counts, right?
I loaded up my shopping cart to see how we compared.
KEEBLER'S ENTIRE BRAND
EXPERIENCE WAS LACKLUSTER
It turns out, Keebler's packaging isn't resealable — any attempt to reinsert the cookie tray back into its container was like watching OJ putting his hand into that glove; it just didn't fit. Customer comments on Keebler's website proved that many found the inability to reseal rather frustrating.
Again, this was an area Keebler's competitors excelled in — Pepperidge Farm pioneered vertical and closable packaging, while Nabisco had recently unveiled a resealable tab that allowed consumers to snack without having to remove the entire cookie tray from its bag.
step three: improve the brand experience
We knew we had to redesign the packaging — and we did.
MEET THE FAMILY:
Upright packaging design pays homage to Keebler's treehouse bakery
Fold-over top allows users to grab, snack, and reseal
Tiny doors are actually removeable stickers — when peeled off, they expose a window to the cookies inside; customers were encouraged to stick the doors around their house, a continuation of Keebler's existing tiny door project
[leveraging brand iconography to distinguish Keebler from the competition]
step four: digging deeper
I conducted an audit of Keebler's marketing,
checked the pantries of families I babysit for,
and interviewed current and former Keebler customers.
From these, I found that poor packaging was a surface level problem.
The real issues went much deeper.
KEEBLER ISN'T MAGICAL ENOUGH
Yes, Keebler is a mass brand.
But its factory is a treehouse. And its bakers are elves.
This is what separates us from Nabisco and private leverage.
And it's what we need to leverage in order to regain market share.
We're not a second-tier Nabisco. And we're better than private label.
We're Keebler. And we're made by elves!
step five: identifying who needs magic the most
when Keebler Kids grow up,
they stop buying our cookies
Those I spoke with had fond memories of our cookies,
but didn’t feel they were missing out by not buying them anymore. Keebler is a part of their past, and potentially their future —
a treat for the children they may eventually have.
But right now, it’s just not a brand that’s on their radar.
they've forgotten the magic
This isn’t about growing up in terms of age; it’s about mindset.
In becoming adults, they’ve lost a sense of magic and wonder.
Their lives became drab, ordinary. But here's the thing: magic is sweet. And it’s up to Keebler to remind them of that.
growing up happens at a cost
According to science (i.e. research conducted by psychiatrists at Harvard), lack of imagination has been linked to declining memory in adults. This particular study indicated that the part of the brain that stores memories is also used for imagination. And when that muscle isn't exercised, its function is lost.
To bring the target problem to life, I invented a medical term.
“Lackamagic” is an epidemic affecting adults age 23-31,
which, also happened to be the age group of our target!