The Online Connection. While video games and commercials get consumers’ attention, the internet serves as a key tool for those who want to learn
more, get involved and share their feelings with the world. This is especially
true for the younger generations who have grown up with the internet.
To reach out to these cyberspace children, Barbara’s Bakery created a multifaceted, highly engaging web presence and social media network. Kids can
learn more about puffins through the website, www.puffinscereal.com, which
“Mainstream stores are exicte
to take on this line because the d
functional category is selling so much
better than the traditional categori
features a “Puffin Love” blog, games, downloadable puffin”es.”
colori ng pages—and
even a kids’ podcast, where letters from kids are chosen to be read in an online
video (and those chosen also get a free Puffins lunchbox).
Consumers can also shop for puffin PJs and puffin toys in the online store,
or find out more about the Audubon Society’s “Project Puffin,” which Barbara’s
Bakery actively supports. Most recently, in February of 2009, the company even
launched a fan site for Puffins and Wild Puffs on Facebook.com.
“It’s important to be aware of the way consumers communicate today and to
be a part of that digital conversation,” Spalding said. “These technologies are
how we are now communicating our values as a brand, and the values of the organic and natural industry, for that matter.”
Empowering Action. Compared to kids from prior generations, Gen Z has
increased awareness of the environmental and social issues we face and they
want a way to take action. The “Adopt-A-Puffin” program is one way Barbara’s
helps kids get involved. For every 250 box tops that a classroom or club collects,
Barbara’s will adopt one puffin for a year. So far, the company has adopted 8
puffins. Through the company’s website, kids can read about the puffins that
have been adopted (which are named and have complete online bios) and
even follow a link to view the Puffin Web Cam, which Barbara’s sponsors.
In addition, Barbara’s Bakery is co-sponsoring “The Dr. Kress How I Saved
The World Award,” named after the founder of Project Puffin. Kids submit a
50-word essay on something positive they have done to help their communities
or the environment and “celebrity” judges, including Dr. Kress and the director
of the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA), will review entries and
award five $1000 grants. The contest runs May through August, 2009.
Lastly, Barbara’s Bakery also created a 10-year, $50,000 grant to fund organic
school gardens in Petaluma School District schools, home of the Barbara’s Bakery Corporate Headquarters. The first grant went to Valley Vista School, a K- 6
elementary school. With the Barbara’s $5,000 grant as the cornerstone, the
school was able to turn a dying patch of grass into a vibrant, child-centered garden. The garden now serves as a model organic teaching garden for schools nationwide. So far, Barbara’s grants have funded organic teaching gardens and
curriculum at 11 of the 17 Petaluma School District schools.
Marketing to Grown-Ups
In addition to kids, Barbara’s Bakery
is using innovative product development and social marketing to reach out
to the adult population. The main difference is that rather than how many
Puffin Points they can win, these customers are more interested in racking
up as many antioxidants as possible.
These days, consumers are more focused than ever on the health benefits
o f food and because of this the growth
o f functional foods, or foods with
a dded nutrients, is skyrocketing.
To respond to this demand, Barbara’s developed its Organic Ultima
l ine, which features an omega-3-rich cereal, a high-fiber cereal and two antioxidant cereals, including Blueberries
and Blue Corn, the latest new product
release hitting stores in June.
Spalding said that these cereals have
been a great way to reach out to the
mainstream because functional foods
in general are so popular right now.
“Mainstream stores are excited to take
on this line because the functional category is selling so much better than the
traditional categories,” he noted.
To spread the word, Barbara’s Bakery did some traditional print advertising, but then once again went out into
cyberspace—offering samples and writing articles for RealSavvyMoms.com
In addition, the company is also
hosting yet another non-product specific contest in conjunction with the
NWRA, where consumers are asked to
take a video or write a 50-word essay on
their favorite experience in a national
wildlife preserve. The winner will be
awarded a trip to Alaska for four. This
relationship with the NWRA also gives
Barbara’s exposure to over a million
members of the organization.
Making It Easier to Cross
While the television ads and social
networking are important factors in ed-