How might we better understand the meaning of sexy?

Inspirational Insight | Market Foresight | Future-proof Innovation


In 2017 Special K sales were down £3.1m (17.6%) and something had to change


Kelloggs case study post it

Kellogg’s Challenge

Diet-led messaging no longer resonates with consumers. Diet brands as a result are in decline. Kellogg’s Special K brand was in decline and in need of transformation. The team were looking for inspirational insight into what messaging would resonate with its core audience right now and moving forward, providing foresight for the brand to reclaim its strong market position.


The Sense Worldwide Approach

Unless businesses can effectively navigate a changing cultural landscape, consumer perceptions of their brands can quickly shift from hero to villain; with catastrophic financial results…Kellogg’s were all to aware of this. The red swimsuit, regularly portrayed in previous decades of advertising, had built equity for the brand around the aspiration of sexiness. However, in an age of fat shaming, gender politics and blurring identities; we asked the question “What is sexy?”


How The Sense Network Shaped The Future of Sexy

We assembled a group of misfits, outliers and crazy ones, all of whom felt under-represented in modern branding. They included a ‘Mormon-born belly dancer’, a ‘guy who has worn makeup for over 30 years’ and an ‘actress and model who enjoys attending swingers parties’. 24 members of The Sense Network collaborated to help define and test a new contemporary definition of sexy. Combining the diversity of their life experience, predicaments and expert knowledge we established a comprehensive, foundational understanding.

Stories and cultural examples from The Sense Network made it clear for the team that sexy is all about what’s inside. The red swimsuit of old was out and what was in was “keeping it real, being natural and not trying to fake it”.

The Outcome

A new platform on which the Special K brand could innovate and build the business. The product was still good, so there was no need to reengineer that; it just needed repositioning to keep it relevant. The Sense Network laid out a future proofed roadmap of how the brand needed to engage consumers moving forward.


The Result

Within 9 months of relaunching the Special K brand, Tracy Murphy, Senior Marketing Director of Balance and Health at Kellogg’s EMEA said “We have experienced six months of growth on the core products Special K Original and Special K Red Berries. And to build on that we have recorded three months of growth on the brand as a whole”.


This is fricking awesome! Exactly what we are after! Thank you for such a quick turnaround and for such brilliant outputs.
 This is an excellent piece of work.

Head of Strategy, BBH/ZAG


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