The Kellogg’s Eggo Story
By Steven DuPuis
The reinvigoration of the venerable Kellogg’s breakfast brand, Eggo, has been one of the true success stories in the category. Total Eggo dollar sales rose nearly double digits in each of the past three years, as a variety of new products were introduced (including special edition licensed items). Eggo was widely recognized by trade and general business publications as a major brand story. In fact, Eggo was chosen by FORTUNE magazine as one of its “Breakaway Brands” of 2005.
How did it happen? Can other brands look to Eggo as a template for their own success? Sure—if brand, marketing and innovation managers, along with their package design teams, are willing to collaborate, look critically at their brands, and leverage the principles of design for shop-ability.
Kellogg’s Eggo, the number one brand of frozen waffles in the United States, is a mature all-family brand that has enjoyed tremendous success for decades. The product’s slogan from an early TV commercial, “L’Eggo my Eggo!,” had permeated our culture and can even be found in slang dictionaries. The product line had expanded from the original waffle, created in the 1930s, to more than 37 SKUs today. However, sales came under pressure in 2004 as a variety of competitors were challenging the brand’s dominant position.
Studies conducted by Kellogg found that Eggo was experiencing some consumer confusion at retail, in spite of enjoying a very favorable product impression with those same consumers. Pressed for time, and overwhelmed with choices, many consumers simply felt stressed out about selecting and providing a convenient nourishing breakfast. The decision was made to optimize the packaging, offerings, and promotions for Eggo.
Winning the waffle wars
In revitalizing the Eggo branding and packaging, Kellogg worked with The DuPuis Group, a strategic design agency. Together, the team looked at both the rational and emotional purchasing habits that drive purchase. How were consumers interpreting the current packaging? What visual elements best communicate and supported the brand’s promise? This led to the development of a visual brand essence document, which was referred to throughout the design process.
The document was also used in establishing the core objectives: to increase aesthetic appeal, facilitate easier selection of a particular variety, and boost appetite appeal. The new design system had to be unique and engaging to the shopper while still maintaining recognizable Eggo equities. To successfully achieve this goal would mean an increase in the brand’s “shop-ability”—its ability to translate consumer demand into purchases.
Eggo, with more than 30 SKUs, posed some real challenges—on shelf, large brands can either be easy-to-find and hard-to-shop-flavor, or hard-to-find and easy-to-shop-flavor. Implementing an impactful brand architecture across the brand block while developing an easy-to-find flavor system is critical to a brand’s success. In Eggo’s case, there posed an additional challenge: the line consisted of both adult and kid offerings, so the design system had to allow for both types of products to commingle.
The new brand block also needed to allow for the yellow equity to dominate, drawing consumers to a wall of sunny, yellow boxes promising the delights of a great breakfast for the whole family. The Eggo brand had always featured yellow as a key color behind a product shot and a big, red script logo. The problem was that these elements were not engaging. The colors looked flat, and the food didn’t appear as appetizing as its competition. Additionally it was hard to shop the line and select a particular flavor variety, so many flavor choices were going unnoticed.
The design exploration clearly showed that by enhancing the Eggo logo through minor modifications to the typography and spatial effects, a higher value perception resulted. A “color wave” was incorporated at the top of each package to visually link the cartons together. The wave served several key functions: it provided visual movement to enhance the billboard quality in the freezer case, and it differentiated flavors. Consumers could follow the wave from one package to the next until they found their flavor.
Another important piece of the packaging redesign was the product shot. To increase appetite appeal, each product was styled with syrups or fruit and placed in a variety of angles and plate configurations to differentiate between lines of products.
Designed to sell
The result of the redesigned Eggo packaging system is that consumers, typically busy moms, can easily see and quickly shop the product offerings.
Eggo is now almost a $500 million brand at retail. In terms of the Eggo success story, it is clear that many factors were at work both in terms of packaging and product innovation, as well as the expansion and promotion of this product. Design played a strong role, and the use of color, imagery, typography and visual movement supported the brand story and clearly appealed to consumers. Retailers allotted more shelf space to Eggo, and great package design helped deliver sales.
When designing for increased shop-ability, the following milestones must be accomplished:
Create a billboard effect to draw consumers to the brand
Provide clear differentiation in varieties
Show the benefits and appeal of the product
Hierarchically organize competing elements and imagery
Spotlight innovations and features
Connect emotionally with buyers
Design for flexibility and expansion of the line
The Six-Month Rule for Kid Products
We recommend that one of the following maintenance activities takes place every six months to keep kid brands fresh and out in front:
Stay current with new licensed properties
Revitalize packaging often to stay connected
Make the package interactive
Anatomy of a Standards Guide
One of the ways in which Kellogg was able to perpetuate the benefits of the rebrand and protect their design investment was to ask The DuPuis Group to develop a Brand & Packaging Standards Guidelines.
The booklet includes sections covering:
Brand positioning statement
Brand signature elements
Design system overview
Adult wellness & non-waffles
Kid design system
Carton packaging PDP
Steven DuPuis is president and creative director for DuPuis, an international branding and packaging firm. Contact Steven at 805.277.5202 or firstname.lastname@example.org