IDEA: Bored by breakfast? The Crunchy Nut is here to save you. Dreamed up by Leo Burnett for Kellogg's Crunchy Nut cereal, the zealous masked faux superhero—outfitted in skin-tight yellow and red latex, with matching cape, belt and boots—appears out of nowhere in a plume of smoke, swings on ropes, and hands out bowls of goodness to citizens afflicted by poor-tasting villains like bran, whole grain and granola. "It's flakes and honey and some peanuts. We don't make any health claims on it at all," said Burnett creative director Mike Doyle. "We thought, what if we created a character who was not so much a shill for the brand but an ambassador or enthusiast who just loved Crunchy Nut and made it his life's mission to bring fun back to breakfast?" The Crunchy Nut does just that in a 30-second spot that launches a whole intricate and appetizing campaign on- and offline.
COPYWRITING/SOUND: The character was inspired by the old superhero shows of the 1960s and '70s like Batman and Spider-Man. "They didn't take themselves too seriously, even though the mission was serious," said Doyle. "That's where some of the humor comes from. Adam West [as Batman] plays it straight, even though everyone knows it's kind of silly. Or look at Bill Murray from Ghostbusters—these are characters on a mission who brought drama to it based on their seriousness and dedication." The 30-second launch spot is almost like the opening credits to the campaign. It shows the Crunchy Nut saving one guy from a bowl of oatmeal—and features a jingle whose lyrics explain the character and his mission, much like the old Spider-Man jingle did. The tagline is, "It's super delicious."
ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Mike Maguire shot the launch spot over a few days on back lots in Los Angeles. The costume was crucial—it had to be a believable superhero outfit, but with comic touches. "When we started it was a little goofier and sillier. We toned it down," said Doyle. "But he still has a spoon on his nose and a honey stick and a bottle of milk in his belt." The spot's color palette is bright and sunny—morning-like. Maguire brought in Bill Pope as director of photography, who was DP on The Matrix and several Spider-Man films. "He gave it that level of finish and cinematic quality that we thought was important," said Doyle. "If it came off as too silly and kitschy and too commercial-like, it would just be goofy. There'd be no sense of commitment to the genre."
TALENT: James Moye, a New York stage actor currently seen in Dogfight at Second Stage Theater, plays the Crunchy Nut. "He's almost Adam West-like," said Doyle. "There's a seriousness, but there's a smile to him. He's a likable guy. Even his physique is likeable. This isn't a health cereal. It's not going to make you muscular. James is a fit guy, and a good physical performer, but he's not Lou Ferrigno." The other actor in the launch spot brought "an innocence and an enthusiasm," Doyle added. "His face just lit up the screen."
MEDIA: The spot, also running in cinemas, is just the beginning. The Crunchy Nut appeared in a sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and a whole story line is now rolling out on Facebook, along with Webisodes showing him on different missions. More TV spots are coming, and the character is also popping up at live events. "It's entertainment; that's the main thing," said Burnett global creative director Graham Woodall. "It gets people involved with the brand in a not-very-shill-like way. We see a big future in the stars for the Crunchy Nut."
Client: Kellogg's Crunchy Nut
Campaign: "The Crunchy Nut"
Spot: "Super Hero"
Agency: Leo Burnett
Global Creative Director - Graham Woodall
Creative Director - Mike Doyle
VP, Strategy Director - Adrian Fogel
Executive Producer - Tony Wallace
Senior Producer - Juan Woodbury
Producer - Jason Passanti
SVP, Account Director - Varsha Kaura
VP, Account Director - Jason Kim
Acct. Supervisor - Nickay Penado
Acct. Executive - Taylor Stat
Business Manager - Courtney Novotny
Senior Business Manager - Miffie Gardner
Talent Manager - Kara Finley
TV Production Company - Biscuit Filmworks
Director - Mike Maguire
Production Company Executive Producer - Colleen O'Donnell
Director of Photography - Bill Pope
Line Producer - Jay Veal
Post Production Company - Utopic
Editor - Jan Maitland
Assistant Editor - Daniel Fogarty
Editorial EP - Heather Mitchell
Colorist - Mike Matusek - Nolo
Music Composer - Greg Allan
Music Company - Sonixphere
Sound Design / Mix - John Binder
Audio Company - Another Country