Not So Flaky An Idea

William Keith Kellogg was a frustrated man. His brother had relegated him to the back offices of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, an operation the elder Kellogg supervised.

Still, Kellogg was not a man to be ignored. Concerned with the patients’ strict diet, he began experimenting in the kitchen. During one such experiment some boiled wheat was left overnight. When run through a roller, it appeared as flakes instead of the expected sheets.

William served the flakes to patients, who loved them! He then applied the technique to oats, barley and notably, corn. Soon,
ex-patients began mailing in orders, and in 1906 Will opened the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co.

Success breeds imitations, and soon others were selling flakes. To keep ahead of competition, Kellogg offered one free box of his Corn Flakes to any woman convincing her grocer to buy a case of 36.

In three years his sales multiplied 83 times!

Kellogg also erected a 66-foot high electric “K” in Times Square, and his advertising budget for 1911 was an incredible one million dollars ($250 million in today’s dollars)!

Despite the Great Depression, Kellogg’s commitment to marketing continued, when he doubled his advertising budget. This approach ensured there would always be some snap, crackle, and pop in their bottom line.

Today, Kellogg Co. is a $13.5 billion global conglomerate that manufactures, markets, and distributes such household names as Keebler, Cheez-It, Pringles, Murray, Austin and Famous Amos. There is hardly a home, kitchen, or cafeteria in the world that doesn’t have at least one of their products on the shelf.

Not bad for a company that started as an accident!