Nickelodeon is expanding its prime-time kids programming with the August 31 debut of Nickel-O-Zone, a one-hour block that will air original and existing series Monday to Friday and Sundays from 8 to 9 p.m. To kick off the launch of the block, Nickelodeon has linked up with Kraft Foods and Burger King for a $20 million dollar, integrated promotional campaign that’s one of the largest yet for the cable network.
The new block is hosted by a real-time animated character named ‘O’, who will give kids encrypted riddles and word games that can only be solved by wearing Nickel-O-Scopes, special red-reveal glasses that decode the on-screen puzzles. The O-Scopes will be distributed free to kids in Blockbuster movie rental stores, as well as inside packages of 16 Kraft products, including Kraft Singles, Kool-Aid, Honeycomb cereal, Polly-O String Cheese and Oscar Mayer Lunchables.
The two-week ‘Scope It Out’ campaign is reminiscent of last summer’s highly successful ‘Nogglevision’ program, during which Nick peppered its prime-time shows with 3-D scenes that viewers could only enjoy with a pair of Kraft-distributed Noggle Goggles. That promo delivered extremely lucrative results; Deb Sawch, director of marketing for Kraft, says her company experienced a 16% merchandising increase and its incremental volume grew 4%. Nickelodeon’s ratings jumped up 26%. In fact, one in three kids in the U.S. tuned in to Nogglevision at some point during the promo.
‘Scope It Out’ is the latest effort in a non-exclusive promotional union between the two companies that has spanned two years and yielded five winning campaigns, including ‘Kids Choice Awards,’ ‘Nick in the Afternoon’ and ‘Kids Pick the President.’
Sawch says familiarity is what makes the partnership work. ‘I describe our relationship as selective intimacy. We obviously have relationships with lots of companies, but we know each other’s business very well and that allows for the spontaneous generation of great ideas.’
Nickel-O-Zone’s schedule intersperses three new series, The Wild Thornberrys, Cousin Skeeter and Animorphs, with three popular existing ones in order to ensure high eyeball traffic.
Burger King will support promotional efforts by offering 3-D toys based on characters from Nickel-O-Zone’s six shows in kids meals.