February 20, 2006
Is Grape-Nuts...Nuts?

I was watching my recorded version of As the World Turns the other day when I stopped briefly on a commercial from Post's Grape-Nuts cereal for their new cereal brand, Grape-Nuts Trail Mix Crunch Cereal. The tag line for this new food offering was "Tastes So Good, You Won't Believe Its Grape-Nuts!" Hmmmm...

I had a double-take, hit the rewind button and listened to it again. I didn't hear it wrong. Immediately, my wife and I started discussing the strategy here. On the one hand, maybe Grape-Nuts has a reputation as not being tasty and just being good for you, so they are showing that they are light-hearted and willing to perform a little self-deprecation. But when it comes to attacking the taste of your staple product, and taste is one of the most important features of food (even health food), I don't know if self-deprecation is the right method.

What were the people at Grape-Nuts thinking?!? No disrespect to the cereal--I even have some sitting in my cabinet right now--but the last thing you need to do is create a new product that mocks the taste of the main product of the brand. It directly contrasts with the main page for Grape-Nuts, which calls the cereal "great tasting." Is this type of contradiction bad? Or am I wrong?

Just seems to me that, if they believe the Grape-Nuts brand is worthless enough that the own company needs to start putting down its taste prominently in advertisements, shouldn't they just drop the Grape-Nuts brand and move on? When does a brand identity become of little use?

Other people have different takes on it--I found that Tom Peters had blogged on the ad as well, and many of the people commenting there found the ad refreshing and/or brilliant. So maybe I'm just not seeing it. Anyone out there who could enlighten me? Maybe even someone from the Post division of Kraft Foods is lurking out there who could make this clear to me.