Let’s face it: Hot cereal may be nutritious and taste good, but it isn’t too exciting. So what can a brand like Cream of Wheat do to up the ante? Co-brand. But which brand could they partner with that offers a win-win scenario for both? Enter Cinnabon.

Co-branding can be a boon to brands---or a bust. It really depends on the strength of both and compatibility. Many have tried and failed. But this deal between Cream of Wheat and Cinnabon might work.

In a recent Media Post article, Cream of Wheat marketing VP, Jordan Greenberg says, “When we spoke to consumers, the Cinnabon flavor profile ranks very, very high.” I hope they did more research than this, but it’s a start!

Interestingly, Cream of Wheat already has a hot “Cinnamon Swirl” cereal, and Cinnabon has a branded cold cereal in supermarkets. So what’s the differentiator in a marriage between these two brands?

For one thing, the new Cream of Wheat flavor will incorporate the same cinnamon blend and frosting that Cinnabon uses in its famous rolls. For another, hot cereal---unlike cold---releases far more aroma. As Greenberg succinctly states, “. . .the hot cereal provides more of the overall Cinnabon experience. It gives off the smell of a Cinnabon.”

Though traditional advertising will support the product roll-out, sampling in key markets is going to be a very important element of the marketing strategy. social media will also be used to promote the product and send out free sample coupons.

Greenberg says, “The sampling is the most important part of it because it’s a product that once you smell it and once you taste it, you’re going to fall in love with the product.”

• Do you think this co-branded product will be a winner?
• Are the brands compatible? (Cream of Wheat = healthy and Cinnabon = cinnamon rolls with frosting) Will translating this flavor profile into hot cereal make sense?
• How about the strategy and tactics being used to promote it?

I’d love to hear from you.

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Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni