The practice of retargeting, or serving Internet surfers ads based on previous online behavior such as pages visited, is synonymous with digital marketing. However, it is possible that retargeting is not limited to online advertising. Cereal brand Cap’n Crunch seems to have created a new twist for what retargeting means. The brand is 50 years old, debuting on stores shelves in 1963. Like many cereal brands, Cap’n Crunch sales have become stale. Competition from private labels and a push to de-emphasize sugary cereals led the brand to the edge of extinction as recently as 2011. Today, Cap’n Crunch appears to have new energy, and it can thank a new conceptualization of retargeting for it.
So what is this new meaning of retargeting? Cap’n Crunch is turning its marketing efforts to its former users- adults who ate Cap’n Crunch in their younger years. External pressures on cereal marketers to not target children in advertising has created a need to think differently about how to communicate the brand without running afoul of advocacy groups intent on eliminating advertising to children. A late-night Cap’n Crunch talk show will debut on the brand’s YouTube channel on May 7. New content will be added every other week through the summer. The animated show will feature Cap’n Crunch doing mock interviews of celebrities and fictional characters. The character may have the appearance of being for kids, but the content of the Cap’n Crunch Show is aimed squarely at adults.
Any brand fighting for survival is actually in a fight to remain relevant. What audience segment can relate to Cap’n Crunch best? Its former target market- people who enjoyed Cap’n Crunch growing up but moved on to other breakfast options as they got older. Now, Cap’n Crunch hopes to tap feelings of nostalgia among ex-fans and influence them to introduce their children to the brand. Cap’n Crunch sees its best option for maintaining and growing brand relevance resides in trying its own form of retargeting to connect the target audience with their past.