Kellogg’s marketing chief John Broome: we’ll take more risks next year, the FMCG category has got too conservative

John Broome: six months in

The marketing director of Kellogg’s has said that he wants to take more risks next year – and with increased advertising spend – as the cereal maker eyes faster growth.

John Broome, who is six months into his role as Kellogg’s ANZ marketing director, said that while media spend from FMCG brands in Australia has “gone backwards”, Kellogg’s intends to increase spend by 13% in 2013.

“FMCG media spend has gone backwards by 11%, year on year. Spend on TV is down by 15%. Digital is up 14% – but it is up 23% across all categories,” he said.

Part of the jump in Kellogg’s spend will go newly acquired snack brand Pringles, which the company paid Procter & Gamble $2.6bn for in May. “We’re not just in cereals anymore. We want to win in the savoury snacks too,” he said.

Next year will see “a change in marketing approach” from Kellogg’s, with a greater focus on shopper marketing and “a gradual decline” in spend on television, which receives 58% of the media budget.

Currently, 11% of Kellogg’s spend goes on digital, 2% on search marketing, 4% on both magazines and press, 2% on radio and 19% on outdoor.

Broome brought another agency into the fold in November, hiring Leo Burnett Sydney to work on another newly acquired brand Be Natural, ending JWT’s 10-year monopoly of the account.

But Broome said he had “no plans” to hand more work to Leo Burnett.

The two agencies produced recent campaigns for Be Natural and Crunchy Nut that used no TV at all, with all the spend going on bus shelters, magazines and online.

“FMCG brands have got too conservative over the years. They’ve cut their way to growth, and there’s been a fear of private labels and the retail squeeze. The sectors needs to play to its strengths – its brands,” said Broome, who has worked at Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser and, until six months ago, Goodman Fielder.

On the rise of private labels from supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths, Broome said: “I don’t care. We need to stop preaching about the retail environment. If you’re building a brand and satisfying the people who buy it, you don’t have to look over your shoulder.”

On his appetite for taking risk, Broome said: “On a scale of one to 10, I’d say I’m a healthy seven. The FMCG category is not renowned for taking risks – there’s a heck of a lot at stake. But doing the same old thing is not going to transform the business. I’ve been encouraging my teams to flex their creative muscles more.”

Kellogg’s has a team of 34 marketers, and besides Leo Burnett and JWT works with Mindshare, Liquid Ideas, Tongue and Loop.

“The FMCG sector is a tough environment – but that’s not an excuse. We have a growth agenda. And to grow, we have to push ourselves to the edge more.”

He said he was “open minded” about selling Kellogg’s products directly to consumers online, but said “there doesn’t exist a model that adequately delivers in a large geographic market with a relatively low population”.

“It’s hard to replicate what exists in the UK. With Coles and Woolies setting up their own portals, we’re happy to be part of that,” he said.

LCMs ad: “pester power”

Kellogg’s was – again – on the receiving end of some bad press for marketing to children last month, with lobby group The Parents’ Jury naming Kellogg’s LCMs brand in its Fame and Shame Awards for ‘pester power’. It was an improvement on last year, when Kellogg’s dominated the awards, faring worse than McDonald’s.

Broome said he was “very comfortable” with the Parents’ Jury’s position, saying “everyone has a right to their opinion”.

“My personal view is that mums and dads are responsible enough to guide their kids to a balanced diet. Ultimately, parents choose what their kids eat,” he said.


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