Grape Nuts "What's Your Mountain"

Canadian Success on The Global Stage (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Post Foods ULC
Post Foods Inc
Mangala D'Sa, Senior Director of Marketing
Anthony Shurman, General Manager
Jim Holbrook, President and CEO
Kelley Peters, VP Insight and Foresight Curation
Neil Fleming, Insights Director
Jen Mennes, Director of Media

Agency Credits: Grey
Paul Curtin, Group Account Director
Patty Moher, Group Account Director
Jen McLeod, Account Director
Laura Rovinescu, Account Supervisor
Alexei Northover, Account Supervisor
Haley Stefan, Account Executive
Patrick Scissons, Chief Creative Officer
James Ansley, Creative Director
Todd Lawson, Associate Creative Director
Malcolm McLean, VP Director of Strategic Planning
Sam Benson, Producer


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):January 2013 - January 2014
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: January 26, 2014
Base Period as a Benchmark: January 2012 – January 2013

a) Overall Assessment

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” 

-Sir Edmund Hillary.


Post Grape-Nuts has been a part of American history for over 100 years. The first cereal developed by C.W. Post, Grape-Nuts has been a morning staple with a history of fuelling consumers since 1897.  

However, in recent years, the brand experienced a steady sales decline and in 2011 the brand was declining at -9%. 

In addition to sales declines, brand perception was at an all time low. Consumers perceived Grape-Nuts as old in a category that relied heavily on new product innovation to stay relevant. Although the brand had built a base of loyal users, over time their purchase frequency had dwindled. There were newer, more exciting entrants to the category.  Breakfast offerings exploded beyond the borders of ready-to-eat cold cereal.  With a myriad of forces working against the brand, sales declines ensued, eroding the core user group to a number too small to continue sustaining the business.  Brand growth was made even more challenging with taste and texture barriers of the product itself, preventing new user acquisition. Grape-Nuts had all but lost top-of-mind awareness and bringing a new millennial audience into the fold was becoming next to impossible.

Sadly, Grape-Nuts was showing its age. It was time to contemporize Grape-Nuts as quickly as possible before the brand found itself extinct. 

b) Resulting Business Objectives

With Grape-Nuts losing volume due to market contradiction and brand shifting, the objective was quite simply to increase penetration with light and medium users and bring lapsed users back to the franchise. Specifically we wanted to:

  • Reverse volume declines
  • Increase penetration 1.0 points
  • Grow share from 0.6 to 0.7

In addition we wanted to spark an upward trend of key brand imagery metrics and grow our Facebook community 20%.

c) Annual Media Budget
Over $5 million

d) Geographic Area
National USA

a) Analysis and Insight

In order to contemporize the brand in a meaningful way, it was essential to hear from consumers directly.

Grape-Nuts undertook an extensive qualitative research initiative that spanned coast to coast from NY to California. It was necessary to talk to both our brand loyalists and non-users whom over-indexed on healthy cereals to help determine a new positioning.

Alongside the qualitative research we looked to social media. The Grape-Nuts Facebook page offered an 185,000 people-strong focus group from whom we could learn. We leveraged a myriad of social listening tools to gather more data and insight.

Upon review of all the findings we learned two key things about our consumer base:

  1. They are active lifestyle enthusiasts. Grape-Nuts is the fuel they use to tackle their day head on. 
  2. They are a community of goal-oriented individuals. They do not want to be part of the collective.


These findings informed a new brand positioning:

For active adults who blaze their own trail, Grape-Nuts is the brand of healthy cereal that provides a personal edge because it has power-packed nutrition in every bite.


b) Communication Strategy

This new positioning became the lynch pin for the communication strategy. To become relevant again we needed to connect Grape-Nuts “fuel” properties with the like-mindedness of our goal-oriented individual.

Throughout the discovery and analysis phase we also uncovered a little known “nugget” of product trivia: in 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to conquer Mount Everest fueled by sheer determination and a pocketful of Grape-Nuts. This brand truth became the basis of our creative inspiration.

a) Media Used

  • National TV
  • National Digital
  • Social
  • PR
  • Sampling

b) Creative Discussion

If Grape-Nuts could help Hillary conquer Everest, just think of what it could do for consumers to help them reach the top of their “mountain”.  Whether that challenge is completing a first half marathon, losing five pounds or just living a healthier lifestyle, Grape Nuts brand could offer the nutritional sustainability to help overcome and achieve personal goals set out by our target.

From there the What’s Your Mountain? platform was born. The 60th anniversary of Hillary’s summit of Everest was used to develop a fully integrated brand campaign.

The creative featured juxtaposed archived footage from the first Everest climb against modern day scenarios of individuals conquering their own “mountain” goals.




c) Media Discussion

What’s Your Mountain? launched in multiple media touch points laser-targeted to the Grape-Nuts consumer. The creative device of contrasting past and present day was most easily told in film as a primary awareness driver, which included targeted TV (high weights were present on the season finale of Survivor) and online video. The media plan was designed to build strong reach levels amongst the core target group out of the gates in order to gain campaign traction. 


Facebook was a key engagement channel where we hosted a contest asking consumers to tell us what their personal “mountain” goals were for a chance to achieve them.  This sparked a conversation and helped grow a North American-wide online community with little capital investment.  



A robust partnership with Rodale, the publisher for active lifestyle magazines such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Running magazine provided an online forum to engage with our target audience. In addition, multiple digital ad units provided additional traffic via editorial promotion, high impact video units, full-site takeovers and mobile placement.


Grape-Nuts took over ski towns and hiking trails across North America to distribute over 1 million product samples. We set-up morning First Track breakfasts at the base of mountains to help give skiers and hikers the energy required their day.

The full campaign culminated 60 years after Hillary and his team first reached the summit – the summer of 2013.  This included a high-profile PR event in New York City featuring a four-story rock climbing wall where participants could climb, personalize their own Grape-Nuts flag and put a stake in the ground, so to speak, in declaring how they would conquer their own personal mountains.  On the same day, we took over online homepages of newspaper giants, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times with high-impact digital creative intended to replicate each newspapers’ front page 60 years prior, recreating the original news with a branded twist.




a) Sales/Share Results

We helped Grape-Nuts summit their mountain with the following results:


  • The launch of What’s Your Mountain grew the business +3% in $volume and +6% in units, all in a declining category (-3%) and declining Healthy segment  (-6%)
  • Market Share grew from 0.6 to 0.8
  • Revenue increased 8%
  • Penetration increased 1.0 point
  • Growth in Facebook community from 185,000 to 254,000 fans, doubling our growth target of 20% to almost 40%
  • A comScore study executed post campaign found all key KPI metrics experienced positive traction


b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

Launching What’s Your Mountain? has been the key driver of business results for Grape-Nuts as evidence by significant sales success and improvements in key advertising metrics. 

It was critical in dusting off this tired brand to find a product truth that married naturally and effortlessly with a consumer truth. The end result allowed Grape-Nuts to achieve success in conquering its own mountain. 

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

The combined media and PR budget for the campaign was less than the previous year - therefore results were not driven by an increase in spending VYA.


Average Retail Unit Price % Chg was minimal during the BRP. 

Distribution Changes:

Average ACD Pt Chg was minimal over the BRP.

Unusual Promotional Activity:


Other Potential Causes:

Any applicable factors have already been detailed in this case.