When my team was charged by Frito-Lay with helping re-launch the Cracker Jack brand after years of indifferent marketing (on the part of previous owner Borden) behind this American classic, I led development of a direction and theme (“Whadjaget?”) based on one key insight: it’s the prize, stupid!
But how the real challenge came in figuring out how to make the classic “surprise inside” meaningful to kids again.
- Constrained by budget and FDA guidelines to offering just paper prizes, I applied my kids marketing expertise to researching how kids interact with toys — and with each other, when toys are present.
- That research included multiple focus groups with youngsters, and consultation with child psychologists. And simple firsthand observation of my own kids, who were squarely in the targeted age range.
- Our strategy: developing a variety of interactive surprises, each delivering a “six second smile” — because for a kid-directed prize or insert to be effective, our research found it needs to…
- Deliver a simple, stimulating dose of fun that should value originality and inventiveness, and allows socialization among kids — because that’s the context where it’s most often enjoyed!.
- Our target audience craved novelty and variety, too, so we committed to creating an entirely new run of Cracker-Jack surprises every quarter.