June 16, 2024

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Thomas’ revives breakfast with first brand character in 144-year history

3 min read

Dive Brief:

  • Thomas’ Breakfast, a maker of bagels and English muffins, on Monday (May 13) unveiled the first brand character in its 144-year history, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. The effort is tied to Thomas’ “Huzzah! A Toast to Breakfast” campaign.
  • The character, named Thom, is billed as a “proper young man with a strong British accent” who has emerged to help those lost in the morning shuffle find time for breakfast. Touting a signature “Huzzah!” catchphrase, Thom features in multiple advertising spots.
  • Creative spans digital, social media, linear, connected TV (CTV) and other channels and showcases Thomas’ breakfast portfolio, including English muffins, bagels and swirl bread.

Dive Insight:

Thomas’ is marking nearly 150 years of business with the unveiling of Thom, its first-ever brand character, in a move that aligns the marketer with a bigger shift back to brand-building initiatives. Thom is described as dedicated to making mornings delicious, having “emerged from his home in the pantry” to remind those caught up in the busy morning shuffle to slow down and enjoy breakfast again.

The character features in several commercials offering quirky commentary and “Regency-era charm” to the exchanges with those he visits. In a 15-second spot, Thom serves a plate of bagels before asserting that English muffins are not from England, but from the pantry. Another 30-second spot sees Thom pleased that a family is taking the time for breakfast, though he struggles to get them to correctly pronounce his name. Ahead of the character’s official debut, Thomas’ teased the launch on Instagram.

The effort was led by DDB Chicago in partnership with Vault Communications, PHD Media and Millennium Communications. The campaign will run nationally on Meta, Pinterest and TikTok, along with CTV platforms including Paramount+, Peacock, Hulu and Tubi. It will also appear across YouTube, online video, streaming audio, linear TV and digital direct platforms including Tasty and DDM. Regional buys feature digital out-of-home billboards in Seattle, Portland and Spokane, Washington.

Other breakfast marketers have ramped up creative activity lately. Quaker last month launched a “100 Reasons to Rise” photo series illustrating how mornings can unite people, building on the marketer’s first global brand platform to date. Such efforts could help grow loyalty and attract consumers looking to break away from the habit of choosing quicker meal options like fast food. QSRs like Wendy’s have stepped up their marketing around breakfast.

A likeable mascot can deliver a strong payoff to brands that manage to get it right. Last year, Kellanova’s Pop-Tarts debuted an edible mascot at the Pop-Tarts Bowl via a giant toaster, creating a now-viral moment that dominated social media as the character descended into the toaster to be “transformed” into a giant pastry that was devoured by the winning football team.

Other marketing from Thomas’, a brand privately owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA, has included limited-edition merchandise and a sweepstakes coinciding with the launch of its since-discontinued Chocolatey Mini Croissants. The brand in April expanded its breakfast portfolio with the launch of its Everything Breakfast Bread and the nationwide rollout of its Sourdough English Muffins timed to National English Muffin Day.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect that Thomas’ Chocolatey Mini Croissants are no longer offered. The article has also been updated to reflect that DDB Chicago led the effort.


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