Keebler Capitalizes on Family Togetherness

Ferrara, a company of Ferrero Group, in August debuted the revitalization of its Keebler brand with a 360-degree marketing campaign that introduced a new brand promise, “Made with Magic, Loved by Families.” The campaign and creative is centered on the more than 150-year-old legacy of Ernie and the other Keebler elf characters, and the moments of togetherness that Keebler cookies create for modern day families.


Real families experiencing everyday moments together at home while enjoying Keebler cookies became the brand’s message in light of the pandemic. “The campaign taps into the nostalgia associated with Keebler’s iconic Ernie the Elf and takes a look outside the hollow tree, drawing parallels between his life and those of the families featured, to show how the brand continues to reinvent itself,” says Ferrara’s Ryan Nolan, brand manager, Keebler Cookies. Since early March, as Americans have found comfort in snack food while spending more time at home and practicing social distancing, the Keebler Cookies portfolio has enjoyed a 55% increase in sales, he notes. 

The campaign also highlights Keebler’s improvements to the quality and freshness of its cookies, including a move to real ingredients. A new packaging design features updated ingredient messaging and modern and impactful imagery for product differentiation on the shelf.

While the campaign was created to resonate with families of all ages and backgrounds, the company has started to focus on reaching younger consumers by modernizing communication and homing in on what’s important to a Millennial or younger generational target. In addition to new TV spots, the campaign features digital, streaming, paid social and organic engagement-based social storytelling, PR support, and in-store and e-commerce retail activations.

With consumer research finding that the brand instantly conjures feelings of nostalgia, and that people enjoy eating cookies with other family members, “We saw an opportunity to tap into the intersection of the two in order to shape our brand strategy,” says Nolan. The brand team knew it needed to showcase the Keebler heritage in a relevant way through modern marketing and packaging.

“We’re creating both equity and engagement-driving social content that features the real ingredient story, and are leveraging platforms like IG [Instagram] Lens, GIPHY Arcade and others to convey our message,” notes Nolan. Across digital, the team is leaning into shoppable content opportunities and beta testing Hulu video ads through a Walmart partnership.

“The Hulu content and shoppable ad format provides a single-step opportunity for conversion,” Nolan says. “At the end of viewing our ad, users receive a coupon offer and are able to choose their path to purchase – either via a QR code, push notification or email that then transfers them to with the coupon applied at checkout.”


The brand invested heavily in customer marketing to bring the campaign to life both in-store and through e-commerce platforms, and layered in digital coupons through partners such as Inmar, Quotient and Ibotta. It also executed email blasts, retailer print ads, shelf talkers, e-commerce banners and site takeovers, shelf tags and in-app ads, according to Nolan. Earlier this year, it also created a national and customer shopper marketing program through a partnership with Make-A-Wish that triggered a donation with purchase, and in September teamed with experiential marketing partner Fooji to give families the opportunity to gift loved ones a complimentary Keebler cookie bouquet.

Keebler partnered with mass, grocery, dollar and convenience retailers nationwide for the retail program, which Nolan says was integral in bringing the campaign to life. In-house agency Ferrero Pubbliregia produced the TV spots; Day One Agency handled social; Mindshare planned the paid media across all channels; Geometry handled in-store and e-commerce customer marketing activations; and PR agency Golin was responsible for executing the cookie bouquet giveaway.

For this effort, Keebler increased capital investments by 35% in marketing and 41% in shopper programs with large scale in-store displays, and has tripled its e-commerce marketing investment, making it the largest marketing spend in the brand’s history.