Tony the Tiger is facing an uncertain future as Kellogg’s weighs up options - including cutting sugar content - for the ailing Frosties brand

Exclusive research for The Grocer has revealed that Kellogg’s hasn’t invested a penny on traditional advertising for the brand since 2010, when it spent £1.1m [Ebiquity]. Sales of Frosties fell 6.6% to £29m on volumes down 18.3% last year [Nielsen 52 w/e 13 October 2012].

“Because of concerns voiced in public affairs we have not supported Frosties as much as we have historically,” said Kellogg’s marketing director Pete Harrison. “But it’s not as if it’s gone altogether. The brand is still an intrinsic part of who we are.”

The “difficult question” facing Kellogg’s, Harrison conceded, was how to revive the brand. In an apparent u-turn on a statement released by Kellogg’s to The Grocer last week, in which it ruled out reformulation, Harrison admitted cutting Frosties’ sugar content - as it did last week for Honey Loops to allow it to be advertised on kids TV - was still an option.

“We did introduce a reduced sugar alternative to Frosties a few years ago but that wasn’t successful,” he added. “It’s got to be what people want. If we can make reformulation work, then that’s what we’ll do.”

Harrison pledged to ramp up spend on Kellogg’s core cereals in 2013, including a £26m investment advertising its portfolio of Ofcom-compliant cereals on kids TV, after poor sales last year. However, Tony, who celebrated his 60th birthday last year, is not set to return to TV any time soon.

The hike comes after a 63% decline in advertising spend across Special K, Crunchy Nut, Corn Flakes, Coco Pops and Rice Krispies coincided with a 6% fall in sales - or £22.6m - on volumes down 6.3% for these lines in 2012.

Harrison said the money saved on cutting advertising of core brands was invested in supporting other cereals such as All Bran, Krave and Mini Max - all in strong growth - and brand extensions including the Special K snacking range.

“A big chunk of spend is now going on digital and social media,” he added. “We are really testing and learning in social media with Facebook and our new My Special K website.”

Kellogg’s also announced plans on Tuesday to reformulate its Special K recipe for the first time since 1983.