Last month’s $60-million marketing alliance between Kraft Foods and Nickelodeon provides a framework for the packaged goods giant to tie in with the top kids programmer for a series of cross-promotions over the next two years.
The first effort begins in July, when the cable network launches its new Nick in the Afternoon programming block.
The Nick promotion is Kraft’s first company-wide effort, reaching across 25 brands targeted at children, from Kool-Aid to Oscar Meyer Lunchables to Jell-O to Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to Post cereals.
It comes after a reorganization last year that swept away any lingering divisions between the old Kraft and General Foods operating units.
Dick Helstein, Kraft vice president of advertising, calls the Nickelodeon deal ‘a great opportunity for us to leverage our entire portfolio of kids brands.’
Other large kids promotions remain a possibility for Kraft, and Helstein is looking at a similar initiative for products aimed at the 50-plus set. This kind of mega-promotion is limited to the handful of other marketers with such a wide array of consumer brands Procter & Gamble, Unilever, American Home Products, to name a few.
‘It’s very hard to get 25 brands to all say ‘yeah’ at the same time,’ points out Terry Holmstrom, director of marketing and promotions at Nick.
‘They all have their own demographics and their own agendas. But they all have decided that Nick is the vehicle they want to use.’
Kraft will likely do two promotions a year with Nick, one large-scale and a smaller one.
The big Nick in the Afternoon launch will include in-store displays, on-package graphics (Nick’s orange splat logo will adorn Kraft products), a free-standing newspaper insert, media support and a national sweepstakes that will send a lucky winner down to the Nick studios in Orlando to co-host for a day.
There will also be mail-in premium items, such as a Mac & Cheese offer of juggling eyeballs based on Nick’s Aaahh!! Real Monsters series.
‘We offer a whole range of programs,’ says Holmstrom, ‘so you might find younger-target brands working with Rugrats and an older-demo brand with Real Monsters.’
In a second campaign this fall, Post cereals will hook up with Nick’s political coverage for a ‘You Pick the President’ campaign, complete with free phone cards so kids can call in with their votes.
There is no incremental advertising money involved, as Kraft is already a big Nick sponsor. The exposure in this promotion is estimated to be worth $10 million, and helps the network get its new daytime block off the ground. Nick in the Afternoon will air weekdays this summer from 3 to 5 p.m. It will feature several of the network’s top series, from Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy to The Secret World of Alex Mack, in a rotating format with viewers selecting their favorite programs and episodes. The new block will offer formidable competition to the Fox Kids Network and its weekday strips such as Batman and Power Rangers.