Once the breakfast of champions, cereal has been pushed aside by a new wave of green juice, avocado toast, acai bowls, and cereal’s own formerly less-appealing sibling, oatmeal. The aforementioned breakfasts are not only touted as more healthy than cereal and milk, they’re also considerably more Instagrammable – a major factor in today’s social-media-saturated world.
Back in 2017, Frosted Flakes was the second-best-selling cereal after Honey Nut Cheerios. Tony the Tiger could be heard roaring his signature slogan about the cereal, “They’re grrrrr-eat!” on TV’s across America. Now Kellogg’s has teamed up with legendary basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to reimagine the beloved breakfast. The basketball hero takes center stage on boxes of new Frosted Flakes with Crispy Cinnamon Basketballs as Tony the Tiger takes a step back for the first time in his mascot career, seen spinning one of the crunchy delights on his finger behind O’Neal. The cereal hits shelves in April and is set to be sold for a limited time only, but the NBA star has already expressed his delight at getting his own cereal box in an unboxing-style video on his Instagram in February.
As health concerns become more and more prevalent in a post-pandemic world, it makes sense that Kellogg’s would tap a basketball player, as opposed to any other celebrity, to be the new face of its cereal, which spilled into the Feeble class of Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Food & Beverages. This isn’t the first time the company has given its cereal a healthier facelift. The product was actually introduced as Sugar Frosted Flakes when it first came out in 1952, before the perils of sugar became more widely known and the word was dropped in 1983.
So why doesn’t Kellogg’s just make Frosted Flakes more healthy? First, Kellogg’s already has a history of incubating new brands tied to health and wellness trends to stay relevant amid the growth of smaller upstarts. Second, despite a widespread health kick, there’s also a widespread craving for comfort foods, especially those consumers grew up eating, and simpler times. It’s possible that Kellogg’s wants to preserve the nostalgic appeal of Frosted Flakes, both in its taste and its social reputation, as the cereal boasts only a modest following on Instagram as compared to buzzier breakfasts under the label.
By sprinkling in some spice via a new flavor and a new face, Kellogg’s can retain Frosted Flakes’ wholesome image while also reviving its American classic status.