Nabisco’s animal crackers are now cage-free.
Throughout its 116 years, Barnum’s Animal Crackers’ packaging has changed—but only temporarily, such as under Nabisco’s partnership with Lilly Pulitzer to boost awareness for the World Wildlife Fund.
However, the recent—and permanent—redesign comes after increased pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which began its petition for the packaging change in April.
[FREE DOWNLOAD: 9 ways communicators can spark culture change]
PETA had written to Nabisco parent company Mondelez (MDLZ, +0.28%) with a mockup design without bars and an explanation that circuses often mistreat animals. Illinois, where Mondelez has its headquarters, became the first U.S. state to ban circuses with elephant shows at the start of this year.
Though the crackers can now roam free, the product retains its original name, a nod to Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth (which later became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus).
The circus retired its elephant acts in May 2016—a year and a half before it originally said it would—facing increased pressure from consumers and animal rights organizations. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus shut down in May 2017, citing declining ticket sales.
The redesign of the boxes, now on U.S. store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent “Barnum’s Animals” lettering. But instead of showing the animals in cages — implying that they’re traveling in boxcars for the circus — the new boxes feature a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla wandering side-by-side in a grassland. The outline of acacia trees can be seen in the distance.
“When PETA reached out about Barnum’s, we saw this as another great opportunity to continue to keep this brand modern and contemporary,” said Jason Levine, Mondelez’s chief marketing officer for North America, in a statement.
“It’s probably one of, if not the oldest, (product) in our portfolio,” said Mondelez spokeswoman Kimberly Fontes. “We’re always looking to see how to keep it modern, to keep it contemporary with customers.”
The new box for Barnum’s Animals perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates caging and chaining exotic animals for circus shows. PETA is celebrating this redesign just as we’ve celebrated the closure of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and an end to the use of wild animals in many other circuses.
For Nabisco and Mondolez, the change not only signifies a modern update to an old product, but it also might net the companies positive coverage.
USA Today reported:
Even though the cage bars on the front of the animal crackers box were small, some people pay very close attention to packaging, according to Bob Killian, a Chicago-based branding expert.
“They can’t lose too much of the look and feel,” he said about the new box. “What took them so long? There’s nobody’s who pro-cage, so I don’t see what they have to lose.”
What do you think of the move, PR Daily readers?