By Bob Boucher, Senior Copywriter
Trix, a popular cereal brand from General Mills since 1958, has used packaging and ad spots featuring an illustrated Trix-loving bunny that was repeatedly told, “Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids!”
While Trix may be for kids and have always been represented as a ‘fun’ consumer product, General Mills takes its cereal branding very seriously. Super sugary cereals have come under intense fire by parent groups, health agencies and nutritionists for their connection to childhood obesity. Responding to the outcry, General Mills committed to reformulating its cereal brand’s ingredients, starting with Trix.
To announce the switch this past October, Trix unveiled #realtrixrabbit. The contest, promoted via social media, invited the public to submit photos of “real live bunnies” that would temporarily replace the illustrated silly rabbit on Trix packaging.
“Screen testing” for the role of the real life Trix Rabbit
The photo submissions showed true out-of-the-cereal-box creativity. In addition to rabbits, images featured pet kittens, dogs, and even hamsters – many dressed in rabbit ears. Nominees also included a Santa Claus bunny, Batman bunny, and several rabbits dressed up in top hat, bow tie and “tails.”
The most important message Trix is making in the promotion is this: our brand wants to assure consumers that we’re replacing artificial flavors and coloring with “real” (and more nutritious) ingredients. To emphasize the switch to “real” food, the brand invited photos of real rabbits and pets that would appear on custom packaging.
In a blog post, Steve Bruch, General Mills associate marketing manager said, “We hope consumers can appreciate and celebrate what we’re doing by removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources, because ultimately we’re making this change for them. We feel like we cracked the code [with the reformulated ingredients] to still make fun, vibrant colors.”
In January 2016, grocery stores in the winner’s hometown will stock limited-time custom-printed Trix boxes that feature the first place bunny. We imagine that the customized boxes will be hopping off the shelves.
Custom packaging for consumer product promotions is gaining steam – a notable example being Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. That campaign encourages customers to search stores to locate a Coke bottle labeled with their own or a friend’s name. It builds sharing, community and connections.
Digital Production Enables User-Generated Creativity for Your Custom Packaging
Changing the look and feel of a package is the extrinsic benefit made possible by digital print. Let’s not forget the intrinsic value. Enhancing the all important user experience is important psychological benefit of digital packaging production.
The Trix contest invites buyer-generated suggestions, which, even if you aren’t the winner, is sure to engage higher personal connection with the brand. Allowing your customers to offer their creativity with a well-established international brand is a pretty effective way to build buyer loyalty among kids and their parents.
And there’s nothing the least bit silly about that.
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