Post re-introduces Pebbles to Canada’s ‘idea machines’

The top kids cereal in the U.S. comes to Canada with a creativity-focused campaign that's aimed towards nostalgic parents as much as it is their kids.

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The Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles that Americans know and love – and Canadians are nostalgic for – have made their way to store shelves, marketed less around cartoon characters and more around child-like artistic self-expression.

On National Cereal Day last week, Warner Bros Consumer Products and Post Consumer Brands brought the cereals to major grocery stores and online platforms in Canada. The launch was also timed to celebrate half a century since Pebbles first made it to market, named after the daughter from the Flintstones TV show and currently the number one selling kids cereal brand in the U.S.

The creative introducing the cereal to Canadians casts kids as “idea machines,” turning Pebbles boxes into armour, or using the cereal to model volcanoes.

Post brand manager Greg Olejnik tells strategy the theme of artistic self-expression is rooted in the ingenuity of the Flintstones family. “We believe inside every child is a creator ready to roar, and the Pebbles brand exists to fuel the creativity and inspire kids to express themselves,” Olejnik says.

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Fostering kids’ creativity and imagination is a global insight, Olejnik explains. “As such, we’re fortunate to have a wealth of creative that we can leverage and augment with local campaigns to engage and connect with Canadians.”

Cereals under the Pebbles brand were previously available in Canadian stores in the 80s and 90s, but its formulation and round pieces were slightly different than the flat, stone-like Pebbles that were sold in the U.S. at the same time and are now being brought to Canada.

The launch, Olejnik says, is driven by consumer request. For years, he claims the brand has seen Canadians bringing home boxes of the cereal from travels in the U.S., with demand driven both by their kids, but also nostalgic parents.

The creative approach also helps ensure Pebbles doesn’t run afoul of advertising guidelines. The Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children states that “characters (including cartoon characters) well-known to children and/or featured on children’s programs must not be used to endorse or personally promote products” in commercial messages. The campaign is also only running in English markets; regulations in Quebec prohibit commercial advertising targeted to children under the age of 13.

Olejnik says the integrated communications plan is geared towards getting the brand’s message out as broadly as possible,  leveraging digital, social, gaming and TV.

This includes a media buy geared towards kid TV; generally, Posts’ TV buy is a mix of programs that reach kids 7 years of age and older as well as programs that both kids and parents enjoy together.

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The in-store shopper marketing elements are focused around securing additional display opportunities but, according to Olejnik, investment is limited due to the pandemic and the uncertainty of how consumers will begin to shop again and whether parents will be bringing their kids to the stores.

As the country begins to open up again, Post is going to learn more on how consumer shopping habits are changing, and “adjust its plans accordingly,” Olejnik notes.

Post’s U.S. agency Barkley handled the creative, while Spark Foundry handled the Canadian media buy.