Riding the wave of rising sales in 2020, thanks to a boost in pandemic pantry-stocking and at-home breakfasts, PEBBLES’ 2021 brand goals were aggressive. To beat last year’s impressive sales, relevance and consideration metrics, we could no longer confine ourselves to the cereal category — we needed to go beyond the bowl to relaunch PEBBLES as a brand that didn’t just feed kids, but fed the inventions, ideas and creations that fuel kids’ daily lives. We set out to be a creator brand and kick-start greater engagement with parents and kids.
To join the ranks of creator brands like Lego and Roblox, we focused on empowering kids to unlock their imaginations (in a very locked-down world). Connecting with our target audience of parents with kids ages 6-10 called for proving our relevance beyond “tasting great.” We had to reimagine ourselves as more than a cereal brand, reemerging in a highly visible, kid-centric way that celebrated vibrant creations and imagination as the shared DNA between PEBBLES and its kid audience, solidifying our role as a catalyst for kid creativity.
From the start, we knew we needed to lay the foundation for our shift from fun cereal to colorful kid co-conspirator. At our targets’ age, kid brands have a chance to positively impact development and empower expression, which few in our competitive cereal set were doing. This became our singular mission.
Ages 6-10 are a critical time for identity formation … which, for this generation, was interrupted with an unprecedented challenge: the pandemic. Just when they were figuring out who they were and how to express themselves, they were sent home, trading classrooms for screens. Their world went from big — full of inspiration and socialization — to small, limited to their homes in an instant.
We dug into how kids’ behaviors were impacted, specifically around creativity. Our primary research showed kids thrive off seeing other kids’ ideas — a potential pandemic barrier. However, we found kids were actually creating at a record pace during lockdown: TikTok dances (#HappyAtHome reached 21B views); Pinterest crafts (100% rise for the site’s search term); DIY creations (JOANN stores saw a 24.3% YOY increase in revenue).
The insight: While the pandemic put the world on hold, kid creativity was thriving under constraint. A role for PEBBLES emerged. Step one? All those pandemic lockdown creations needed to go from inside to outside, for the world — and the kid creator community — to see.
The idea: The Never Stop Doo-Ing Project. We brought kids' pandemic-produced art into the open, transporting kids' creations from the four walls of home to custom outdoor gallery walls in four major cities.
We published a call-to-create for parents and kids, where parents were invited to submit their kids’ pandemic-era creations to our online portal, and kids were invited to view their peers’ work for ideas and inspiration. Of the hundreds of submissions displayed in our digital gallery, 23 were reproduced in unmissable public mural spaces. Select submissions became outdoor showcases as we created mural galleries across LA, Denver, New York and Nashville in high-traffic, family focused venues, putting hundreds of kids’ creations on display for the world to see — and other kids to be inspired by. A local artist designed each wall using the selected submissions. Our own augmented reality technology extended the mural experience, directing to the PEBBLES web experience.
Bringing “The Never Stop Doo-Ing Project” to life began with a series of all-calls on social platforms, OLV and in partnership with our influencer network, meeting our audience where they were already seeking inspiration (channels like Discovery Family Channel, DIY and Food Network). PEBBLES teamed up with celebrity mom Ali Manno to drive awareness of the program and displays, which were ultimately highlighted by numerous publications including Yahoo!, People, Cheddar, Today in Nashville, LA Parent, INSIDER and more, and were promoted across our social channels and highlighted by local influencers to boost their reach.
Within the markets that hosted galleries, PEBBLES saw a YOY lift on weekly spend volume averages: +4.5% in Denver; +14.8% in Los Angeles; +1.0% in New York; +0.5% in Nashville. Online, we reached 10.7M total digital impressions and 5.5M unique viewers of OLV (84.55% VCR, which is 12.4% higher than YT CPG benchmark).
PEBBLES also hit our highest dollar share of the RTE category in the brand’s history. This coincided with growth to our highest share of kids’ cereal in 3 years, at 4.6% YOY, and $23MM dollars versus YA, leading to us maintaining our spot as No. 1. kids’ cereal by market share.
Becoming the #1 kids’ cereal brand required proving value beyond the bowl. The Never Stop Doo-Ing Project laid the foundation for PEBBLES’ role as amplifier of inspiration, spotlighting kid creators with 170+ pieces of artwork showcased for 47,000 families to see. By acting as a canvas as much as a cereal, we embraced creator-brand ambitions to feed inspiration while championing kids’ self-expression in the real world. The best part: It’s just the beginning. The gallery launched our Yabba Dabba Doo You campaign into 2021 and beyond, where kids are championed as the creators, and PEBBLES is the catalyst.