As a Baby Boomer, I must say I enjoy seeing the millennials replace as as everyone’s target - good, bad, and indifferent: consumer sweeping generational generalizations, all-hail their openness, all scorn their helplessness, and – of course – all that consumer marketing aimed at them. It’s about time that some generation has come along large enough to take some of the attention and heat off of us. (And let me tell you, you young whippersnappers, you’re going to miss us when we’re gone. By cracky, you’re going to miss having someone around who knows how to dial a phone, read a map, and put a penny on the arm of the stereo so the needle doesn’t skip when you’re playing an LP.)
Anyway, I took great delight, a year and a half back, making fun of millennials for finding cereal too inconvenient to eat (dirty bowls and all that), and of Kellogg’s for trying to turn breakfast cereal into a snack. (Here’s my snap, crackle and popping take on that issue of great import. And if you do read it, I know, I know. There’s a point where I use “serial” for “cereal.”)
Well, Kellogg’s back at wooing the millennials, this time by:
…opening a cavernous new cereal cafe in Manhattan’s Union Square -- doubling down on a concept that it started in Times Square last year.
The cafe will be about fives times larger and feature an Instagram station with props and professional lighting, designed to help customers perfect their social-media posts. There’s a full cereal bar, giant murals of Kellogg characters like Tony the Tiger, a station to heat up Pop-Tarts and a special iron to cook fresh Eggo waffles.
“We want cereal to be seen as modern,” said Aleta Chase, a marketing executive at the Battle Creek, Michigan-based company. (Source: Bloomberg)
As it happens, I have a millennial niece who goes to school not far from Union Square. I’m guessing she wouldn’t darken the doors of this joint. Unless this cafe becomes an “ironic” setting for the millennials –could Tony the Tiger actually be woke? - who live and learn in the vicinity of Union Square, I can’t see this going anywhere.
I’m sure Kellogg’s spent a kabillion dollars market researching this idea. And God knows what I know about consumer marketing could dance on the head of a pin with Toucan Sam and Snap, Crackle & Pop. But it seems to me that the cereal cafe idea might fare better near the big state schools. Lots of millennials, but just a tad fewer hipsters than in NYC.
But Kellogg’s is desperate. Cereal sales have been plummeting for years. Thus, the company’s push to start making cereal a snack rather than a breakfast food.
…the cafe in Union Square is an attempt to generate some foodie buzz. In fact, it was the slew of pictures posted by visitors to the Times Square location that helped convince the company it needed a bigger space.
I’m guessing that this is the first time in recorded history that breakfast cereal has been associated with foodie buzz.
“We needed something that was more experiential,” Chase said. “There’s a more lasting emotional connection if they experience it firsthand -- that’s hard to do with a TV commercial.”
Oh, I don’t know about that. I have an emotional connection to the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies jingle, even if it wasn’t all that experiential.
But it’s a different world out there.
Breakfast this morning? It might be Cheerios and blueberries. Or it might be plain yogurt with granola and blueberries. Whatever it is, it will be consumed in-house and not in a cereal cafe. And it will not be shared with the world on Insta.