How might we better understand the meaning of sexy?

Inspirational Insight | Market Foresight | Future-proof Innovation | Consumer Insights Teams

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


The Challenge

Outdated messaging and shifting consumer perceptions had rendered traditional diet-led approaches ineffective. To restore their market position, Kellogg’s recognized the urgent need to better understand what messaging would resonate with their core modern audience and redefine their brand’s relevance.


Our Approach

In a departure from conventional methods, we embarked on a journey to explore the deeper meaning of sexy. We questioned established notions of attractiveness, considering the influence of evolving societal dynamics such as fat-shaming, changing gender roles, and blurred identities. We engaged 24 remarkable individuals from The Sense Network. This diverse group included a Mormon-born belly dancer challenging norms of religion and sensuality, a guy who has been defying gender boundaries for over 30 years by wearing makeup, and an actress who enjoys swinger parties.

Through their unique perspectives, we challenged stereotypes and gained profound insights. By actively listening to these unconventional voices, we reshaped the concept of sexy for Kellogg’s Special K brand, forging authentic connections with audiences. This collaborative effort opened new possibilities for brands to embrace diversity and resonate on a deeper level.


Sonos Speaker with Voice Control


The Result

The revitalized messaging resonated with the target audience, reestablishing the brand’s market position and reaffirming the importance of understanding evolving consumer perceptions. Within just nine months of the brand relaunch, sales rebounded. Tracy Murphy, Senior Marketing Director of Balance and Health, reported “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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