Friday, July 14, 2017

What's in a (brand) name?

Somehow I came into possession a coupon for a new cereal, which I decided to try, inasmuch as even if it was terrible, I could probably get a blog entry out of it. Plus, it would have sugar, so it could only be so bad. And lo, here it was!

Strawberry Toast Crunch by General Mills, part of what they are calling their "Toast Crunch family." But wait! This looks nothing at all like the granddaddy Toast Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That cereal is flat and has wacky cannibalistic mascots.

This Strawberry Toast Crunch cereal looks like little pieces of toast.... Familiar somehow....

Hey! Wait just one cinnamon-toasted second, here!

It reminded me an awful lot of Tiny Toast, a cereal I reviewed favorably in this blog a little more than a year ago. Tiny Toast, in strawberry and blueberry flavors, was the first new General Mills cereal in 15 years. And this Strawberry Toast Crunch stuff is clearly just strawberry Tiny Toast with a new name!

How could I have been so BLIND?

Some determined detective work on Google requiring all of 0.77 seconds told me that what I suspected was true. Ad Age reports that General Mills rebranded the Tiny Toast cereals as ___ Toast Crunch. It seems that while sales of Cinnamon Toast Crunch are pretty robust, the same has not been true for Tiny Toast ($370.3 million in 1 year vs. $13.3 million for Tiny Toast since its introduction).

On the other hand, since its initial launch, GM (Mills, that is) has treated the wee toasties like redheaded stepchildren:

Spending on Tiny Toast appeared to live up to the product's name, with media spending of roughly $133,900 last year, according to data from Kantar Media. Meanwhile, General Mills spent about $36.4 million on Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

What happened to, you gotta spend money to make money?

To be fair, I did not do my bit to support Tiny Toast in its original incarnation despite liking it. Regular readers of this blog -- hi! -- will have the impression that I breakfast every day by chewing on a five-pound sack of Domino sugar, but it's not true. Store brand sugar is okay too. Furthermore, most of the time I don't eat comically sugared cereal for breakfast, but those are fun to try and write about. Cornflakes and Cheerios are not as inspiring.

Plus, with cornflakes and Cheerios you seldom get a lump of sugar and whatnot in your bowl, as I did here.

Well, never mind about that. Basically I was not willing to spend five bucks or so on a small box of cereal, which is what Tiny Toast was going for initially; someone in pricing screwed the pooch, I think. Seems like G.Mills has simply rebranded the cereal to try to get a free bump by tagging it to their popular Cinnamon Toast Crunch, even though the cereals are not similar. Really, from flavor to consistency in milk they are quite different.

It's your money, General Mills, but if you don't treat the little toast with respect it will not move. And get the pricing in order. Currently Strawberry Toast Crunch is going for three bucks at Target; stay on track that way and you'll move the merch, whatever name you give it.

I think it's all a shame, in that the Tiny Toast name was cute. But in Cereal Town, cuteness is not enough. Don't ask what Tony did with Katy, Elmo, and Newt, the other three mascots for Frosted Flakes. Or for that matter what became of the baker characters for Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (Hint: Those squares ARE crazy....)

Y'know, the thing about a square, he's got lifeless eyes,
black eyes, like a doll's eyes.

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