The story behind Pop-Tarts’ edible mascot

Pop-Tarts senior director of brand marketing shared results from the viral stunt.

(Photo credit: Kellanova, used with permission)

Campaign: Pop-Tarts Bowl
Companies: Kellanova
Agency Partners: Weber Shandwick (agency of record); Publicis and FCS Sports (advertising and social media); Design B&B and FCS Sports (in-stadium graphics and trophy)– In Stadium Graphics / Trophy; Independents Graphic & Display (in-stadium props); Starcom (paid media); and Chicago Mascots and Fan Craft (mascot)
Duration: May 31 – December 28, 2023

In college football, there are a multitude of traditions, including complaining about where the selection committee ranks your school and bowl games debuting each year. This year, Pop-Tarts popped up to sponsor a bowl game in a unique and memorable way. 

Strategy

Kellanova, formerly known as Kellogg Company, has sponsored a bowl game since 2020. 

This year, its leaders decided to call it the Pop-Tarts Bowl because “we wanted a large marquee event that we could use as a way to break through and remind people of their love for Pop-Tarts,” said Heidi Ray, Pop-Tarts senior director of brand marketing. 

She added that Pop-Tarts really aren't just a breakfast food anymore; they are an anytime treat. 

“By overtly stepping into an arena that is often staffed by snacking brands and the like, this was our way of getting to an occasion-agnostic position,” Ray said.

Tactics

In addition to naming the bowl game, the creatives designed a trophy featuring the snack and an edible mascot. That was an extension of the brand’s Pop-Tarts characters, Agents of Crazy Good, who debuted over the summer. 

Kansas State defeated North Carolina State in the game, and afterwards the victors ate pieces of the mascot

“The most classic icon of a football experience is the mascot on the sidelines, so we said, OK, we have just launched this campaign Agents of Crazy Good…let's bring those to life as a mascot in the game but let us do it in a way that is so true to our Pop-Tarts DNA,” Ray said.

The brand also created a betting platform, Prop-Tarts, in which fans could wager on non-game related actions such as how the mascot would enter and which flavor broadcasters would mention first in the game. Winners had the chance to receive free Pop-Tarts.

On social media, the brand worked with influencers such as @realchefholmez, a food creator who shared a recipe on TikTok and Instagram to make churros from brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts.

The brand also worked with Adam Farris, a sports content creator who promoted the Prop-Tarts challenge in a TikTok post.

@adampfaris #ad It’s time for the @Pop-Tarts Bowl! Make your pre-game #proptarts predictions for the opportunity to receive free @Pop-Tarts for each one you get right (these are just my guesses— I don’t have special intel). The sooner your predictions are in, the greater the opportunity to receive free #poptarts. Tune in December 28th at 5:45 pm ET on ESPN to see all the #PopTartsBowl ♬ original sound - Adam Faris

Results

More than 166,000 people entered the Prop-Tarts challenge, according to the campaign. 

The Pop-Tarts mascot generated coverage from media such as The New York Times; the Wall Street Journal; the Washington PostNational Public Radio; and BuzzFeed, among other news organizations. 

collection of memes inspired by the mascot also generated more than 3 million views on Twitter.

@realchefholmez’s recipe posts on Instagram and TikTok generated more than 2.5 million collective views, and Farris’ posts on Instagram received more than 1.4 million views. 


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Explore further