Approximately 18 months after moving U.S. agency of record duties on its Special K brand to J. Walter Thompson, Kellogg has sent the business back to Leo Burnett.
Prior to that somewhat unexpected news, the Publicis shop had been Kellogg’s go-to cereal agency for more than 65 years. This change, like that one, appears to have happened without a formal review.
“Kellogg Company regularly evaluates the needs of our business and our brands to ensure we have the optimal agency partnerships,” wrote spokesperson Kris Charles. “We recently completed an examination of the needs of our Special K brand, and have decided to shift the business to Leo Burnett for the U.S. market.”
She continued: “We have multiple agencies supporting the Special K brand in markets around the globe—including JWT and Leo Burnett. The broad range of creative input provided by these partners helps insure the strength of the brand across the world.”
An agency spokesperson deferred to the client for comment.
According to statements from Kellogg CEO John Bryant, a 2015 messaging shift regarding the Special K brand concerned a desire to move away from campaigns centered on weight loss as the brand struggled to boost sales in the U.S. and Europe.
Leo Burnett created the first phase of this pivot with its “Eat Special. Feel Special” campaign, which went live in April 2015. That year, Kantar Media stated that the parent company spent around $120 million promoting Special K in the U.S., though the numbers may well be lower now.
The cereal appears to be doing well in India, though. Here’s a short spot that went “viral” more than a year ago.