People aren't exactly gushing over the 'sushi' at Pop-Tarts World

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Aug 11 2010

Pop-tarts-sushi

Never underestimate the power of Pop-Tarts sushi. The power, that is, to completely gross people out, as evidenced by tons of scathing reviews of the sweet "treats." An earlier BrandFreak post called into question the need for Pop-Tarts World, a newly opened store in Times Square dedicated to the iconic breakfast pastry. What's really in question now, though, is the menu. (Everybody seems to like the make-your-own-box-of-Pop-Tarts vending machine with the robotic arm, but that's no innovation in the product itself.) Pop-Tarts sushi? That's another story, one with a stomach-churning result if various bloggers are to be believed. There's no fish involved. You choose three fruit-flavored pastries that are minced and wrapped in a fruit roll-up to look like sushi. A sample reaction from Serious Eats: "I don't know how this could be so much worse than the sum of its parts, but it was. Chalky and powdery and, frankly, vile. The extra fruit filling, maybe? Edibility, 1-10: 0. I physically could not bring myself to swallow." (Find more reviews here.) Not sure this is what Kellogg's had in mind when it launched the venue, aimed at boosting a brand that's been smacked around of late by the likes of oatmeal and Soy Joy. Well, at least people are talking about it.

Times Square gets, though it might not need, a Pop-Tarts World

By David Kiefaber on Tue Aug 10 2010

Pop-tarts

Pop-Tarts' stock has fallen in recent years, as the Kellogg's brand has faced competition from breakfast bars and seen its brand name used to refer to everything except the actual product. As one might expect, they've had enough, and they're trying to reclaim some of the lost momentum with a new store in Times Square. Creatively named Pop-Tarts World, the store will offer something called "Pop-Tarts sushi," a frosting-themed light show and a create-your-own-variety-pack vending machine. The cafe will also have a 30-item dessert and snack menu. Frankly, I think they're overreacting. I could understand a "Sales are down!" panic mentality driving this idea, but trying to reclaim a brand name that's become part of the lexicon is a waste of time. You don't see Johnson & Johnson making this kind of fuss over Band-Aids. Besides, Pop-Tarts easily fit in purses and messenger bags, and most people eat them right out of the package. If they have real doubts about their product's convenience or staying power in a crowded junk-food-for-breakfast marketplace, this store probably won't address them. Photo via.

TLC to chronicle making of world's largest Rice Krispies Treat

Posted on Thu May 6 2010

Back when school bake sales weren't verboten, I used to hustle a lot of Rice Krispies Treats because the track team needed new uniforms and my classmates never tired of those gummy blocks of sugary goodness. (And it was the only thing I could "cook" at the time.) These days, an entire town gets in on the act, and a TV crew films it for posterity. How times change. Kellogg will have an hour in the spotlight on TLC this summer with a special called Mega Bites that followed a fund-raising effort in the Los Angeles suburb of La Canada Flintridge. Chef Brian Malarkey, food scientist Todd Menaker, engineer Scott Stukel and some volunteers built the world's largest Rice Krispies Treat as a benefit for children's programs at a local community center. The beast-treat took four days to assemble from 5,000 pounds of (donated) Rice Krispies and 7,000 pounds of marshmallows. The end result? A hunk of dessert that weighed 10,460 pounds. A production crew from TLC, home of Kate Plus 8 and a whole passel of wedding and food programming, captured all the behind-the-scenes stickiness and success. Insider note: When the treat was finished, and certified by the Guinness folks, they sawed off bits and sold them for $1. Hungry now.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Kellogg marks Pop-Tarts' 45th birthday with a pop-art celebration

Posted on Tue Aug 4 2009

Poptarts

Some Pop-Tarts were on display last Thursday in West Hollywood, and this time, it wasn't because a paparazzo popped a pic of a pop princess sans undergarments. In the tradition of Andy Warhol, pop artist Burton Morris has retooled the Kellogg's Pop-Tarts packaging—fitting, since the pastry got its punny name as a nod to the '60s art movement. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Pop-Tarts' 1964 debut, Morris collaborated with Kellogg for a collection that will be at the Hamilton-Selway Fine Art gallery on Melrose through Aug. 21. Among the works are eye-popping Pop-Tarts-inspired paintings, pastry storage tins and a workstation encased in a fort of Pop-Tart boxes reimagined by Morris. Kellogg also commissioned the artist to create five special-edition boxes of its toaster pastries that will be in stores this fall. The brightly colored acrylic paintings on canvas, which go for between $8,500 and $12,500 a pop, resemble the comic-book style of Roy Lichtenstein, Warhol's contemporary. Maybe that's why Spider-Man creator Stan Lee is a fan. He popped in to say hi to Morris, who happens to share a birthday with the Pop-Tart: He debuted in '64, too.

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp

Kellogg's Apple Jacks caught up in New Jersey corruption probe

Posted on Wed Jul 29 2009

Applejacks

Cereal companies have been offering prizes in their boxes for years, but Kellogg's Apple Jacks recently contained a real whopper. According to The New York Times, one interesting tidbit from the New Jersey federal corruption case, which resulted in 44 arrests, including that of three mayors and a few rabbis, was that $97,000 in cash was distributed to one informant in an Apple Jacks box. While that may sound like a huge amount to fit in a 21.7-ounce container, Slate ran the numbers and found you could actually fit $9 million in such a box if you had enough high-denomination bills. Many bloggers also mentioned the Apple Jacks connection to spice up their headlines about the case. While it's unclear what effect, if any, this will have on the brand, it's worth noting that Kellogg still gives the cereal a fair amount of support. According to Nielsen, the Apple Jacks brand got $7 million in measured media support in 2008 (excluding online). For those of you playing at home, that's a lot more than $97,000, but still enough to comfortably fit in the box.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Baristas are calm under pressure thanks to Frosted Mini-Wheats

Posted on Thu Jun 11 2009

Many years ago, a classic ad for Volkswagen's Beetle asked the question: How does the snowplow driver get to work in the morning? By driving a Beetle, of course. (The only version of the ad on YouTube is in German, but you still get the gist.) A more contemporary version of the ad asks: How does the barista get herself wired for the morning rush? The answer in this case is by eating Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats. But Kellogg might want to watch its back: The FTC has come down on claims that Mini Wheats improve children's attentiveness by 20 percent. This ad makes pretty much the same assertion, but for adults. As an amateur nutritionist, I'd like to add my two cents: Eating a big bowl of carbs and sugar will keep you peppy for an hour or so, but you're likely to crash after that. You're better off with some protein in the morning, like maybe some eggs. I'm sure that's what the VW driver ate way back when.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Kellogg achieves the impossible: getting lazy stoners motivated

Posted on Tue Feb 10 2009

In dropping Michael Phelps as a spokesman, Kellogg has incurred the wrath of an unlikely bunch: stoners. The Marijuana Policy Project issued a statement on Monday accusing the cereal maker of hypocrisy. MPP executive director Rob Kampia said in a statement: "Kellogg's had no problem signing Phelps when he had a conviction for drunk driving, an illegal act that could have killed someone. To drop him for choosing to relax with a substance that's safer than beer is an outrage."
  The group, which allegedly has 26,000 members, warned that its supporters will no longer purchase any Kellogg products. "Our members are angrier than I've ever seen them," says Kampia. Presumably that's because they can no longer satisfy their munchies fix with Rice Krispies Treats, Cheez-Its, Pop Tarts, Eggo waffles or those cookies with the trippy little elves.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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