Thanks to decades of marketing, kids, breakfast cereal and cartoons are practically inseparable. That’s just what Cartoon Network was banking on when it decided to extend its end-of-summer Big Pick promo (which lets kids choose a short to be produced as an all-out cartoon) and bring Kellogg on as a partner to refresh the campaign for its second run.
Kellogg had already discovered the power of the cartoon connection with the successful launch of several Cartoon Network-themed food products, including a Powerpuff Girls cereal, but it wanted something really dramatic for back-to-school.
Developed with Kellogg’s agency Draft Worldwide, the Big Pick Breakfast promo invited kids to vote on which Cartoon Network character should become a Kellogg’s cereal, choosing from eight fantasy candidates – including Kellogg’s Cow and Chicken, a yellow and white popped-up corn cereal; and Courage the Cowardly Dog, a crunchy sweetened oats cereal with dog and ghost marshmallows. ‘The biggest challenge was coming up with cereals we could actually produce,’ says Kellogg’s director of consumer promotions Sandy Uridge.
A special URL (www.bigpickbreakfast.com) was created and promoted nationally via a TV spot, in-store signage and on roughly 30 million boxes of Kellogg’s cereal brands. The Cartoon Network-hosted site featured games and downloads, along with electronic ballots for top short and cereal. While the Big Pick on-air promo lasted a weekend, kids could vote on-line for a full month.
Adding the cereal component to Big Pick delivered 5% more kids ages two to 11 on average, and for the last week of the promotion, Cartoon Network’s homepage netted 281% more visits than the same week in 2000.
Kids ultimately selected Cartoon Network short Codename: Kids Next Door for full toon treatment. The 13 x half-hour series, in which a group of 10-year-olds fight for kid rights, debuts on Cartoon Network this month. On the cereal front, Dexter was tops with kids, with The Powerpuff Girls running a close second. Kellogg decided not to produce the special-edition Dexter cereal because it already had a Scooby-Doo cinnamon marshmallow concoction (which began shipping in August) in the works with Cartoon Network.
Cartoon Network senior VP of promotions marketing Phyllis Ehrlich says the promotion’s appeal was all about kid empowerment. ‘Kids love the idea of having influence over the next Cartoon Network TV show,’ she says. ‘And they also get a tremendous kick out of possibly influencing a kid product.’