A whopper of a deal for Rugrats

Nickelodeon and Burger King have formed a strategic alliance to promote a variety of the kids channel's TV and movie properties in the quick-service restaurant chain's 9,000-plus outlets beginning in 1998....
November 1, 1997

Nickelodeon and Burger King have formed a strategic alliance to promote a variety of the kids channel’s TV and movie properties in the quick-service restaurant chain’s 9,000-plus outlets beginning in 1998.

The companies will mount three promotional programs in 1998 that will involve Nickelodeon’s top-rated Rugrats TV series, the channel’s forthcoming November 1998 Rugrats feature film, and a yet- to-be-named television property.

The deal is non-exclusive and will allow each company to pursue additional strategic alliances that do not conflict with the pair’s agreed upon promotional windows.

The Burger King partnership is Nickelodeon’s most ambitious QSR alliance to date, and the first time it will conduct a dedicated QSR campaign for its very popular Rugrats series. ‘We feel that Burger King could help bring our programs to life in their real estate,’ says Pam Kaufman, vice president of promotions marketing for Nickelodeon. ‘It adds a totally different dimension to us from a promotional standpoint.’

The Nickelodeon alliance enhances Burger King’s ability to market directly to the family audience, which it considers critical to the success and growth of its business. ‘Both of the brands’ business objectives are closely aligned when it comes to reaching kids and families in an entertaining manner,’ says Brian Gies, manager of youth and family marketing at Burger King. ‘Nickelodeon has achieved remarkable success in its ability to talk with kids, not at them, which links up beautifully with our kids brand personality and what we’ve achieved with our kids club marketing efforts.’

At press time, details of the Burger King promotions had not been announced but the efforts will involve the Burger King Kids Club. The first one is scheduled to hit in the first half of 1998.

Rugrats has the highest profile of current Nickelodeon programs, as well as a growing licensing presence. The promotion muscle that Burger King can put behind Rugrats benefits these other lines of Rugrats business, Kaufman adds.

The deal secures Burger King as the fast-food partner for the Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures’ Rugrats movie release for the 1998 holiday season. Burger King, the number two QSR, has been in the envious position of being able to cherry pick its promotional partnerships now that McDonald’s is out of the picture because of its exclusive alliance with Disney. Its choice of Rugrats for the important holiday season means the fast-food chain is betting that the film will be the family hit of the season.

This alliance is another example of how cable channels have become vital assets to reach niche audiences. ‘[Companies] understand what Nick is and they know if they want to reach kids, they need to advertise here,’ says Kaufman.

The non-exclusive agreement doesn’t preclude either company from working with competitors. Nickelodeon will continue its association with McDonald’s for its Big Help campaign and other programs that target tweens. Burger King will be a promotional partner on several other major 1998 film releases to be announced.

Nickelodeon has also locked in beverage and ready-to-eat cereal promotional partners for the movie that have not been announced to date.

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