Special K pursues victory for 'real' women in latest effort

When Special K launched "Be Victorious" in January, the effort quickly drew parallels to the "Campaign for Real Beauty" by Dove.

Company: Kellogg's Special K
Agency mix: Leo Burnett, Ketchum, Starcom
In-house lead: Teresa Lindsey-Houston, director of Special K Morning Foods
Lead agency: Leo Burnett
Campaign: Be Victorious

When Special K launched "Be Victorious" in January, the effort quickly drew parallels to the "Campaign for Real Beauty" by Dove. Both made the hallmark of their campaign "real" women, meaning those who don't conform to idealized images of beauty.

"We're flattered to be compared and there are some common-alities," says Teresa Lindsey-Houston, director of Special K Morning Foods. "But I don't know what their end goal was. Ours is to motivate women."

At the heart of this attempt at motivation was an ad campaign, designed by Leo Burnett, that launched on January 4 with a block of six 15-second spots featuring women that Special K found through its consumer research. In each spot, the women talk about their weight goals. Four of six ads continued to run throughout January. Ketchum built upon this ad campaign by securing an exclusive with The New York Times on the same day the ad block ran on the morning shows.

"That led to other media and blog coverage," says Kristen Laney, SVP at Ketchum, adding that PR started its outreach before the New Year by sending bloggers a "party pack" of Special K products. The bloggers were mostly women, but there was a particular emphasis on new moms, as well as those interested in nutrition and health.

In an example of PR and advertising's dimensions blurring, Ketchum built upon Leo Burnett's vision and developed its own series of videos with the women featured in the commercials. After each woman finished her ad shoot, the PR team shot a more casual video.

"We asked the women things like their advice for other women and their biggest sources of inspiration," Laney notes. "We wanted to give bloggers a way to relate with the brand, and these women, in a more personable way."

Kellogg also partnered with MSN.com to build a site called "The Victory Project" that posts videos, tips, and discussions on losing weight, beauty, and self-confidence. This element of the campaign will continue throughout the year and act as an ongoing resource for consumers.

"With 'Be Victorious,' we really focused on providing women with emotional motivation and the tools for attaining their resolutions," Lindsey-Houston says. "But we'll pick up and refreshen parts of the campaign other times throughout the year."

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