Trix cereal is back… for good

A shopper program and a old-timey grocery pop-up is supporting the General Mills cereal, which is being revived after a long absence.

Trix-Shapes-in-kitchen

You are reading a story from Strategy’s Shopper Marketing Report, which covers the retail partnerships, in-store programs and consumer insights brands are utilizing to influence consumers at the shelf. To have the stories delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday, subscribe to the newsletter.

“Trix are for kids” and now those kids have grown up and want their cereal back. General Mills is obliging, with the brand announcing that the cereal from the ’90s is going to be a permanent fixture on shelves, after flirting with the idea of reviving the rabbit over the course of several years.

Trix first debuted in Canada in 1994 and occupied a little corner of the ’90s pop-culture landscape, but was discontinued as a permanent item in 2005.

Cereal, along with yogurt, makes up approximately 30% of General Mills’ overall business, and the brand has been actively engaging its classic brands as it celebrates a milestones: the 60th birthday of Trix the Rabbit, which is being honoured by bringing back the eponymous cereal. (It’s not the only milestone in the cereal space. It’s also the 80th birthday of Post’s Shreddies, marked with a social contest by Ogilvy Canada, open to buyers who find a double-sided Shreddie in a box and reconfigure it in a creative way).

“As we looked at our portfolio, we saw there was a gap with Trix not being there, ” says Fawad Farrukh, associate marketing director for General Mills Cereal Canada.

Farrukh tells strategy that a lot of people who came of age in the ’90s were asking General Mills to bring back Trix on social media, and that the brand was even seeing super fans crossing the U.S. border to bring the cereal home. He says there’s tremendous love for the nostalgic aspect of the brand, as well as the flavour, and that a lot of millennials have the brand’s advertising etched into their memories, including of course, the catchphrase, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.”

He says that when Trix came back in 2016 as a limited time offer, but with round-shaped puffs, it got some play  however not nearly as much as with its original shape/configuration.

According to reports, demand for cereal products has waned generally, as consumers shift their taste preferences to what are perceived as healthier breakfast options, or get their breakfast fix at QSRs. But Kathryn Newton, who is an assistant professor at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management (with her academic research focusing on loyalty-based relationships and brand personality), believes the move is strategic in getting shoppers to purchase more cereal.

Bringing back a brand like Trix, she says, may re-kindle consumers’ positive childhood memories, prompting them to share that bond with their own children. “In a crowded aisle like cereal, bringing a brand back or celebrating an anniversary gives the brand something fun to talk about with the consumer at shelf-level through an on-pack flash, for example,” she adds.

Trix-shopper

“We have shopper marketing programs in place to enable us to get palettes on the floor,” notes Farrukh, adding that the iconic rabbit will be used as a prominent feature to intercept consumers at shelf. Palettes will be dropped at major grocers in different parts of the store, he says, as well as end-cap displays where relevant. Displays will also show Trix being added to the core lineup of General Mills cereal. “We are using all aspects of the [shopper] arsenal,” he adds.

There is also a strong sampling program in place to remind consumers of the brand, adds Farrukh. As for packaging, the product has been updated slightly, while keeping the era-specific branding consistent. He says that whole grain, which is the first ingredient on most of General Mills’ cereal products, will also be highlighted as part of a broader marketing plan.

In addition to in-store, General Mills has partnered with HideSeek to create a pop-up in Toronto (pictured below), with a colourful room that’s meant to recreate the experience of going grocery shopping from that decade (also tapping into “kidulting” and the rise of made-for instagram spaces). According to Farrukh, the Trix and Lucky Charms rooms generated a lot of buzz (30 million impressions) that the brand has capitalized on for Trix’s return. It’s also launched a social program, which includes sending kits to influencers that contain a view-finder, t-shirt, and rainbow slinky to further cement the nostalgia trip for that demo.

Diamond supported the HideSeek activation, while Veritas was behind PR for the relaunch. Sampling is being supported by The Hunt Group.

trix-popup