Kellogg, Yahoo, And The Glass Teat

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When Kellogg pulled a Pontiac and told TV viewers to search for its Special K brand cereal on Yahoo!, Hitwise wondered if people really were the sheep Kellogg hoped they’d be. A line graph later, sure enough, people generally do what they’re told, as long as it’s on TV.

Harlan Ellison should be mighty proud of himself.

Similar to when Pontiac invited viewers to “google” Pontiac to learn more, Kellogg’s TV spot for Special K invited viewers to search on Yahoo!.

Judging from the Special K website, they’ve struck some sort of arrangement with Yahoo!, as the homepage links out to a Yahoo! Health and to the Special K Group.

After seeing the spot, Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, asked two questions:

1. Did the call to action increase searches for Special K?
2. Did searchers follow directions and Yahoo! Search “Special K” or did they Google “Special K?”

The answer to all questions is yes.

Tancer reports that traffic to the Special K website has spiked since the commercial began airing. The line on the graph looks like a piece of thread being pulled through a buttonhole (if you need a more geometric description, the up-tick is at about an 80 degree angle, give or take).

But only 53 percent of Special K searches during that time were conducted on Yahoo!. Though Tancer calls that “a strong skew considering that Yahoo! Search’s market share of all searches U.S. is 21.6%.”

True, it more than doubled upon instruction, but it also means a large number of the rest wouldn’t betray Google.


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Kellogg, Yahoo, And The Glass Teat
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