Jun 4, 2024 - Business

Molly Baz becomes first pregnant woman to appear on a cereal box

Photo of pregnant chef Molly Baz on the front of a Special K cereal box

Limited edition Special K featuring Molly Baz. Photo courtesy of WK Kellogg Co / MSL.

Best-selling cookbook author and chef, Molly Baz will be the first pregnant woman to appear on a cereal box, as part of the Special K's "Special For a Reason" marketing campaign.

Why it matters: WK Kellogg is the latest company to appeal to mothers through culturally relevant branding strategies as the "she-conomy" continues to boom.

Catch up quick: Baz made headlines after a Times Square billboard from breastfeeding startup Swehl was flagged for review and removed by billboard operator Clear Channel.

  • The removal of the original ad — which featured images of Baz's pregnant belly exposed and breasts covered only by cookies — sparked online conversation about the double standards within advertising.
  • Special K reached out to Baz about a partnership "immediately following" the Times Square ad controversy, according to an agency spokesperson.

Zoom in: The Kellogg brands have a history of successfully inserting products into the cultural conversation through news hacking or trend activations.

  • Snack and food manufacturer Kellanova — which separated from Kellogg's last year — generated a lot of buzz around Pop-Tart and Cheez-It brands during the 2023 NCAA college bowl games.

Between the lines: Baz's campaign also comes on the heels of a consumer boycott, which ignited after WK Kellogg Co. CEO Gary Pilnick appeared on CNBC and encouraged cash-strapped families to consider eating cereal for dinner.

  • The "cereal for dinner" ad campaign has been running since 2022, but after Pilnick positioned the name-brand cereal as a solution to rising food costs, parents across social media — specifically millennial moms — called for a boycott.
  • By partnering with Baz, the brand is now positioning itself to win back good will with this key audience.

The big picture: This partnership isn't just a way to insert the company into the cultural conversation and appeal to some disgruntled consumers — it's also good business.

  • Women predominately control the purchasing decisions in their household, with 78% identifying as their family's primary shopper, according to a recent consumer report.

Other major consumer brands are taking note as well.

  • Procter and Gamble brand Pampers, will host the first-ever Olympic Village nursery for parent athletes and their babies during Paris 2024.
  • And Dove Chocolate launched the "Mom Experience Translator," an AI-powered tool that helps mothers returning to the workforce quickly identify and highlight their many transferable skills acquired in motherhood.

What they're saying: "I'm thrilled to use this moment as a billboard and platform where we can celebrate the mind-blowing miracle of pregnancy and motherhood that is happening around us all and is nothing short of a dream come true," Baz said in a news release.

Context: The cereal giant chose Baz for this campaign because she "serves as a role-model for the empowerment of expectant mothers nationwide," per a brand spokesperson.

  • As part of their collaboration, Special K will donate $25,000 to support the United Way's Women United program.
  • The special-edition cereal boxes featuring Baz will be available to buy online and across Special K's Instagram and TikTok pages.

Go deeper: Kellogg CEO faces backlash over "cereal for dinner" comment

Go deeper