Cap’n Crunch: ‘Ahoy, Adults!’

Seeking to build sales for its Cap’n Crunch brand among adults, Quaker Oats this week breaks a new TV and print campaign that plays on baby boomers’ nostalgia for the sugary taste of the cereal, which has previously been targeted solely at kids.
The campaign from Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, includes two national network TV spots and two print ads for national magazines. The work features the cereal’s Cap’n character beseeching adults to try the cereal they used to love.
Print ads remind consumers, “Mom used to say, ‘When you grow up, you can eat all the Cap’n Crunch you want.’ So, what are you waiting for?” and “Taste buds never forget.” The TV work shows the Cap’n knocking on doors to offer samples of the cereal to skeptical adults who think it’s meant for their kids. “How ’bout a taste of something you used to love?” he suggests.
All the ads feature the tagline, “Great taste for adults, from an adult…(sort of).”
As Kellogg’s has done with its ongoing advertising efforts reminding adults that Frosted Flakes isn’t just for kids, Quaker hopes its new campaign will buoy Cap’n Crunch and drive consumption of the brand by adults 25-54. Research shows “a major portion of our consumption already occurs with adults, and when reminded of Cap’n Crunch, adults buy it and eat it more often,” said Margaret Steele, business team leader for the brand.
Cap’n Crunch sales fell 4.3 percent to about $63 million for the year ending Nov. 29, according to Information Resources. Fellow Quaker cereal Crunch Berries fell 19.7 percent to about $68 million, and Peanut Butter Crunch was down 3 percent to $51 million, according to IR.
Quaker spent about $15 million on advertising between January and September of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.