Kellogg Alters Ad Strategy

The company will market to kids under 12 only the products that meet specific content requirements.
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is changing its approach to marketing to children and will begin placing nutrition labeling on the front of its cereal boxes.

The company will market to kids under 12 only if products meet specific content requirements. Those that don't will either be reformulated or no longer advertised to children.

Pop-Tarts, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks are some of the foods that don't meet the new nutrient criteria, which are based on a broad review of scientific reports. Kellogg is giving itself until the end of next year to meet the guidelines. If it doesn't, the new marketing rules will take effect.

Kellogg will only advertise to children under 12 products that have no more than 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 230 milligrams of sodium and 12 grams of sugar per serving. Almost half of Kellogg's products currently marketed to children don't meet the new restrictions.

The nutrient criteria were created internally and will be the new standard by which products are judged.

"We are building on a 100-plus year heritage of healthy products," said David MacKay, president and CEO of Kellogg. The Battle Creek, Mich., company began in 1906 with a corn flake cereal that at the time addressed the consumer shift away from large heavy breakfasts.

Additionally, Kellogg will begin listing daily guideline amounts on the front right-hand corner of each box. The quick snapshot will complement the nutrition label on the side of the box. This approach has already been introduced in Europe and Australia where it was well-received.

However, Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam and Snap Crackle & Pop aren't in danger as a result of the changes. "We consider them important icons and will use the characters for good use," said MacKay.

The company Web site that's geared toward children will undergo changes, as well. More parental restrictions will be placed on them, and after 15 minutes the site will encourage children to be active and turn itself off.

Kellogg shares were down 12 cents at $52.04 Thursday.