CASSIES Bronze: Grape-Nuts helps conquer mountains

The brand dug into its history and conjured Sir Edmund Hillary, resulting in climbing sales.

This story appears in the February/March 2016 issue of strategy.

Bronze: Canadian Success on the Global Stage

Situation Analysis:

Post Grape-Nuts, part of American history since 1897, had experienced a steady sales decline in recent years (-9% in 2011), with brand perception slumping to an all-time low as purchase frequency dwindled. With newer, more exciting entrants to the category and breakfast offerings exploding beyond the borders of ready-to-eat cold cereal, the core user group was becoming too small to continue sustaining the business.

Insight & Strategy:

With taste and texture barriers to Grape-Nuts preventing new user acquisition, growth could still be achieved by increasing penetration with light and medium users, and bringing lapsed users back to the franchise. Research identified that, to become relevant again, there needed to be a connection between Grape-Nuts “fuel” properties and the active lifestyle, goal-oriented consumers.


Launched in January 2014 nationally across the U.S., “What’s Your Mountain” asked, if Grape-Nuts could help Sir Edmund Hillary conquer Everest in 1953, what could it do for consumers to help them reach the top of their “mountain”? Running across television, digital, social, PR and sampling, the campaign juxtaposed archived footage from the first Everest climb against modern day scenarios of individuals conquering their own “mountain” goals.


The launch of “What’s Your Mountain” grew Grape-Nuts’ sales 3% in dollar volume and 6% in units in a declining category (-3%) and declining “healthy” segment (-6%). Revenue increased 8% and market share increased from 0.6 to 0.8, driven by penetration increasing one point. The Facebook community grew from 185,000 to 254,000 fans, double the target of 20%, while all key KPI metrics experienced positive traction.

Cause & Effect:

The combined media and PR budget for the campaign was less than the previous year while average retail unit price and distribution remained constant.


Client: Post Foods

Senior director of marketing: Mangala D’Sa

General manager: Anthony Shurman

President and CEO: Jim Holbrook

VP insight and foresight curation: Kelley Peters

Insights director: Neil Fleming

Director of media: Jen Mennes

Agency: Grey

Group account directors: Paul Curtin, Patty Moher

Account director: Jen McLeod

Account supervisors: Laura Rovinescu, Alexei Northover

Account sxecutive: Haley Stefan

CCO: Patrick Scissons

CD: James Ansley

ACD: Todd Lawson

VP director of strategic planning: Malcolm McLean

Producer: Sam Benson