Vector - Get Out What You Put In

Off to a Good Start (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Kellogg Canada
Andrew Loucks - Vice President Marketing
David Bagozzi - Associate Director
Vinu George - Senior Manager of Consumer Insights
Roli Varma - Brand Manager

Agency Credits: Leo Burnett
Judy John - CEO Chief Creative Officer
Karen Tilley - SVP Client Services
Brent Nelsen - VP Director of Planning
Steve Meraska - Senior Strategic Planner
Janet Thompson - Group Account Director
Randy Carelli - Group Account Director
David Federico - Art Director
Morgan Kurchak - Copy Writer
Joseph Myers - Account Director
Shirley Ward-Taggart - Arc Creative Director
Ian Kay - Associate Creative Director
Matt Doran - Copy Writer

Crossover Notes:
Crossover Notes: All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2012 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at

Crossover Note 1. What a Brand Stands For.
Crossover Note 12. Changing the Goalposts.
Crossover Note 16. When a campaign stumbles.
Crossover Note 33. Changing the Target Audience.

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):May 2010 - May 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: April 12 2010
Base Period as a Benchmark: May 2009-2010

a) Overall Assessment

This is a story about how a brand that first found success by emulating other sports brands, but then suffered through a period of stagnation, was able to find its second wind.

From the time it first hit the cereal aisle in 1999 Vector had an identity crisis. It was packaged like a traditional cereal. Yet, as a fortified food enriched with protein, carbohydrates and 22 vitamins and minerals, Vector was a meal replacement, not a typical cereal. It had to create its own category, and did so by trying to be the Nike of the cereal aisle.

The "lifestyle and fitness" market had evolved significantly by the time Vector launched, supporting a wave of successful athletic products. Most of these brands took a hardcore approach intended to inspire lesser athletes to purchase products, if not actually attain their athletic goals. It was a successful formula. Vector would adopt the same approach, and be Hardcore Food for Hardcore Athletes.

This worked. However, after several years Vector volume growth stalled. [Crossover Notes 1 and 16]

The decision was reached to give Vector one final shot. If a new approach couldn’t get traction, 2010 would be the last year of support.

This case shows the perils of following a formula proven successful in another category. By completely rethinking the target, the brand promise, and the communication “points of sweat,” Vector was able to expand its user base and breathe new energy into the brand. [Crossover Notes 12 and 33]

b) Resulting Business Objectives
Reposition Vector to a more mass audience without losing its functional and athletic heritage.

2010 Growth Target: +4.8% vs year ago.

c) Annual Media Budget
$2 - $3 million

d) Geographic Area

a) Analysis and Insight
We followed a rigorous strategic process: identifying cultural fuels, redefining segmentation and brand architecture, and leveraging this new platform in creative and channel strategies.

Identifying Cultural Fuel:

These are trends that in the context of the brand matter to people. They drive thoughts, feelings and attitudes which ultimately drive behaviour.

At the outset we identified two fuels driving behaviour important to Vector: "nutritional awakening" and "active becomes mainstream." The first focuses on an emerging role of food, while the second reveals a morphing behaviour as it relates to physical activity.

a) Nutritional awakening: A proliferating, acute awareness and interest in food has created an understanding and expectation that food is more than simply about getting something inside you; it’s about getting the right fuel that fits your lifestyle. This is evident in the popularity of nutraceuticals and/or fortified foods such as those containing antioxidants, Omega 3 or protein. These products have moved from the obscurity of specialty stores to the floor of mainstream retailers.

b) Active becomes mainstream: Living an active lifestyle is no longer a peculiarity for an obsessed few. It’s become the way to live for most. Witness the proliferation of health clubs, jogging groups, cycling vacations, fitness gear and video infomercials. As well, there has been a significant rise in the volume and popularity of media editorials and entertainment programs proclaiming the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Redefining Segmentation:

Based on the experience and insights at the time of the initial launch, the original target for this type of food, Hardcore Athletes, was not large enough to support the mass-market aspirations of Vector.

On the horizon however, a large emerging segment of fitness enthusiasts represented a second chance for Vector. These people reflect "actives going mainstream" and were a big departure from our hard core past. This new segment rejected a win at all cost mentality; they were motivated instead by an inner competitive spirit that makes personal goals through physical activity a fun and gratifying part of their lifestyle. As such their approach to food was more balanced. They believed that eating the right food is at the heart of sustaining the mental and physical endurance to push further.

We identified and quantified this group at 27% of the population and termed them "Ambitious Actives."

Strategically, we then determined that to grow the Vector business the brand needed to do more than simply reach Ambitious Actives with a new message. It needed to become a true and valued partner in their lives, providing the desired physical and mental fuel when and where their own athletic goals were being pursued.

This led us to our lead strategic insight: What you put into your body is directly tied to what you get out of your body.

A new Brand Architecture was developed:

Brand Conviction: Everyone has the potential to unleash the athlete within.
Brand Promise: Whatever your athletic level, Vector powers your physical pursuit for your personal best.
Role of the Brand: A Propellant.

b) Communication Strategy
The creative strategic idea: Vector provides Ambitious Actives with the inspiration and nutrition to get the most out of their athletic pursuits.

This idea represented a reframing of Vector, requiring precise language and imagery if it was going to appeal to Ambitious Actives and correct the negative associations created by the brand's earlier hardcore communications. It was brought to life through inspirational and meaningful athletic and nutritional information that would encourage Ambitious Actives to push themselves further. We redesigned everything with this platform in mind. From the packaging to online destinations, everything was given a consistent new look and feel.

a) Media Used

b) Creative Discussion
The campaign was designed to inspire Ambitious Actives to push it; to reach their personal goals. It used a combination of "moments of sweat" and copy points to inspire that pursuit. Mood and tonality captured the intensity of Ambitious Actives, creating both empathy and encouragement.

c) Media Discussion
Connection Strategy:

Our purpose and conviction was new, and required a change in how, when and where our message would be experienced. We needed to connect with Ambitious Actives in places and at times that mattered most to them during the pursuit of their physical best. This led to a connection strategy leveraging context, content and community, and known as Inspire at Points of Sweat:

a. Context:

Television: Its speed in creating high reach and frequency immediately established the new positioning with Ambitious Actives. "Points of Sweat" programming included live sporting events, sports highlights, health/fitness and competitive reality programming,NHL Playoffs, TSN Sports Centre, as well as Survivor and Amazing Race.

Outdoor: Large format billboards were placed along heavily used jogging, blading and cycling routes in Toronto and Vancouver.

Indoor: We developed a groundbreaking partnership with Goodlife Fitness, Canada’s national gym network, creating new signage opportunities in the clubs to inspire our target when they needed that ‘push’ the most.

Online: We secured top sites to help drive reach and credibility. Sites such as TSN, Men’s Health and Best Health provided the perfect digital context for our messages.

b. Community:
A robust Vector Facebook community was the first step in a multi-year strategy to connect with consumers. The strategy was based on 5 stages:

(See Chart 1)

Participation was encouraged through trial drives which offered a high value coupon for joining. The community could also share their personal stories to inspire and motivate others for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime active vacation. Both tactics resulted in substantial fan growth in a very short period.

Engagement was created via a dedicated Vector Trainer who provided advice, training and nutritional information. Inspiration was encouraged via our wall-based content designed around engaging themes such as training tips, fitness advice and motivational updates. Activities such as local races and events to encouraged fans to get active and share their experiences.

a) Sales/Share Results
The beginning of marketing support in April 2010 was the first period of significant baseline dollar volume growth since January 2007. The campaign drove baseline sales + 19% vs. year ago during the four months it was on air, and sustained 10% growth for the 12 months through May 2011. This growth was not related to other variables such as price changes or competitive dynamics and was replicated across skus, banners and regions.

For the 12 months prior to this effort Vector overall volume was -4% vya while the category was flat at 0%. For the 12 month BRP starting in May 2010 Vector overall volume was +16% vya, exceeding our goal of +4.8% by 11.2 points, and outpacing the category which recorded +2%. (See Chart 2)

Vector household penetration increased +0.2 percentage points driven by the 400gm entry sku (+0.4 percentage points). (See Chart 3)

In just six weeks the Vector Facebook page became a destination for 82,302 Ambitious Active fans to inspire and inform each other and generated 1,060,729 Vector Post views on Newsfeed without visiting the Vector Facebook page.

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion
Vector advertising was noticed and successful in changing perceptions, as seen below from the TNS In-Market Tracking 2010:

1) RECALL: Ad Recall Pre-Wave was 25% while Post-Wave was 42%. This puts Vector on par with large budget and continually supported brands Kashi and Special K. (See Chart 4)

2) BRAND DISPOSITION: The campaign increased Vector Preferred Brand Scores (Only Brand I’d Ever Eat + One Of Few Preferred Brand I Eat Regularly) by 5 percentage points from 21% to 26%. (See Chart 5)

3) BRAND IMAGERY IMPACT: The campaign drove key brand imagery ratings on important attributes such as "inspires me to be active" and "healthy/nutritious" against Ambitious Actives, while also driving positive imagery ratings against the general population. (See Charts 6&7)

4) ADDITIVE SALES EFFECT: Nielsen data directly attributes at least $1.3 million in additive retail sales to the impact of the Vector campaign during the on-air period. (See Chart 8)

5) PRICING: Unlike other lifestyle cereal brands, the gains made by Vector were not related to any other variables such as base price decreases, average price decreases, or competitive pricing dynamics. In fact, the Nielsen data shows that higher sales were achieved despite a higher price per unit cost to the consumer.

The baseline $ volume/week increase is not due to a price decrease – in fact during the on-air period the $ realization was higher than in previous periods i.e. more sales despite higher price/unit. (See Chart 9)

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels: Normative spending.

Pricing: See comments above.

Distribution Changes: During this period there were no distribution gains.

Unusual Promotional Activity: During this period there was no unusual promotion activity.

Other Potential Causes: N/A