Kellogg’s thinks the NHL is grrrrreat

The CPG co brings the nostalgia of Frosted Flakes to the NHL's adult male audience.

Kellogg’s and the NHL are hoping to reach Canadian men by connecting the excitement of the Stanley Cup playoffs with an icon from their younger days.

As part of the new partnership, Kellogg’s is using Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger across the NHL’s digital and social platforms, including branding on “play of the day” style videos that get posted throughout the playoffs and site takeovers on The creative drives to a contest where fans have a chance to win a trip to see the Stanley Cup finals. Kellogg’s has also formed a team-specific partnership with the Montreal Canadiens, with Frosted Flakes branding throughout the Bell Centre.

The NHL worked with Kellogg’s agencies, U.S.-based VML and Starcom MediaVest on media, for the partnership.

Kyle McMann, group VP of integrated sales at the NHL, says the messaging for the campaign is based around nostalgia, with the hashtag #StillGrrreat aiming to remind 25- to 40-year-old males, who loved Frosted Flakes as kids but aren’t purchasing it as much anymore, about the joy the brand brings.

“We’re looking to show there is a CPG partner that’s using league properties in a way that’s also pushing out a positive NHL story to our fan base,” McMann says. “We have a brand activating at the height of our season, where casual interest in the sport is at its height, and connecting it with this image of Tony the Tiger that excited them when they were kids.”

A sports-centric positioning is not new for the Frosted Flakes brand, but doing so to reach an adult male audience is, having been very kid-focused in the past.

McMann says many of the league’s CPG partners tend to go after the typical, female primary-purchaser demographic. While there is roughly a 60-40 split between the NHL’s male and female audiences, that female audience is still larger than for many other properties in the country.

“It’s a scale play when you really look at it,” he says. “There are more female fans of the NHL than there are female fans of figure skating, for example. But that scale is just as true for our male audience, and Kellogg’s is tapping into a core area where we know that male fan is tracking and connecting it with a compelling reminder to their youth.”

McMann adds doing a digitally-focused campaign means reaching out to fans on platforms where there is a clear desire to consume hockey content. Unique visitors for the NHL’s digital properties are up 12%, video starts are up 28% and article reads are up 67% for the playoffs so far, compared to the regular season.

This is the league’s first partnership with a cereal brand in over a decade. The NHL previously worked with Post cereals when it was still under the Kraft umbrella, but when that business was spun out in 2007, it continued working with Kraft.

“What took us a bit of time was uncovering how we could define a value proposition that made sense for a cereal brand,” McMann says. “I think the cereal category is a pretty interesting one right now, and we have a way to help them drive different occasions to combat the competition they are getting from QSR restaurants and other avenues.”