When I was growing up, I was fond of a chocolate cereal that I get very excited on the rare occasion that my mother, who prefer corn flakes and nutrition-oriented cereal, buys it. Since I was young and wasn’t the one buying the cereal, I wasn’t aware of marketing strategies, branding and retail operations yet. I just know of the familiar, chocolate-crazed koala who appears on the front of the cereal box.
Now, about 15 years or so later, I was talking with T about the cereal we ate when we were growing up. I mentioned Koko Krunch, and couldn’t believe that my T didn’t know of this cereal since I had the impression that all children who grew up in the 1990s are aware of this. So I quickly sent him a link to an image of the Koko Krunch box to dispel any worry that he didn’t have the chance to experience the wonderful goodness of a chocolate cereal as a child.
As it turns out, his favorite was a certain cereal called Chocapic.
We had this conversation through Skype so it was easy for us to send each other images and discover that we did, in fact, enjoyed the same cereal– just named and branded differently.
This leads me to wonder why Nestle chose to market these two products this way– a koala named Koko in Asia, and dog named Pico in Europe. First, it’s important to know what message Nestle wants to convey for this cereal. In Asia, where dogs are considered a delicacy in poor and uneducated populations, presenting a dog as the mascot for a cereal brand may send mixed messages, especially to their targeted middle-class audience who discriminate against the lower classes.
Second, why did it choose two markets— Asia, and Europe/Middle East (and they may be various sub-regions in these two markets). I’ve yet to see an American version of this chocolate cereal. Perhaps, because the top three cereal brands in the United States are Kellogg, Post and General Mills– Nestle may have decided not to enter the market (or is still trying to break in).