One of Kellogg Co.'s most popular brands is popping up in Times Square on Tuesday at Pop-Tarts World, with more than 3,000 square feet dedicated to toaster pastries. Customers will be able to eat Pop-Tart "sushi," order a customized pastry or create a custom box filled with a mix of their favorite flavors. They can suggest new types of Pop-Tarts, select a Pop-Tarts T-shirt made by specialty artists or get "frosted" and "wrapped in foil" by a light show. It's the first time Kellogg has focused a store on one product to cash in on its dedicated following and increase its exposure. The company hopes to make the new store a fixture in Times Square, where two candy makers already have stand-alone emporiums, the Hershey store and Mars Inc.'s M&M's World.
Pop-Tarts — two layers of pastry with sweet filling — have been a Kellogg mainstay for nearly 50 years; about 2 billion sell each year. But it wasn't until the recent rise of social media that Kellogg grasped the dedication of Pop-Tarts fans. Brand manager Andrew Shripka says the Pop-Tarts Facebook page is one of the social network's 20 most popular, surprising even some Kellogg employees. "There's really nothing like a Pop-Tart," Shripka says.
The shop's focus will be a cafe offering about 30 new Pop-Tart treats like "ants on a log," Kellogg says. That's celery with peanut butter, sprinkled with wild grape Pop-Tarts. Pop-Tart "sushi" is a combination of three fruit varieties rolled together in a fruit wrap and sliced to look like a sushi roll.
"We were able to see the passion from consumers for the brand; this is another way to interact directly with them," Shripka says. Food makers often try to keep their image fresh by introducing new flavors or making other updates. But a store like this can help keep an older brand fresh and relevant, says Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates' New York office. This is particularly critical as food makers face tougher competition for shelf space inside grocery stores, says Adamson. "It makes the brand an experience," he says. "How long will it run before people walk by it and don't go in anymore is unclear. But right now it is a pretty clever way to bring relevance and interest to a brand that has been around a while."