General Mills' recruit of social media celebrity Grumpy Cat could engage young consumers but does not come without risks, according to a food marketing expert.
The sour-faced cat has almost six million fans on Facebook and 225,000 Twitter followers, and now joins General Mills' Honey Nut Cheerios mascot Buzz in a 30-second spot available online.
Discussing the move, Vhari Russell, analyst from The Food Marketing Expert, told BakeryandSnacks.com: “Social media is such a key element to brand development and having Grumpy Cat will be a fun way to engage with the youngest consumers of the market.”
Cereal sales have decreased over the past few years - something General Mills CEO said was due mainly to industry failings on advertising and product news.
Despite being positive about this potential for consumer engagement, Russell warned that companies should think hard before choosing campaign casts.
“It is vital to get the correct celebrities. They can increase the reach dramatically and get products noticed by people who would not have looked at them before. They are also a great way of getting the fun element into your marketing and character into your brand.”
Five minutes of fame?
The new Cheerios spot featuring the Grumpy Cat might be the beginning of a long-term cooperation, but this won't come without its difficulties.
"It's hard to build new characters in adverts, especially when we have such long established characters such as Honey Monster," said Russell.