Mondelez, Prehype Launch Social, Sampling Platforms

Mondelez International and venture development firm Prehype have teamed to launch two online platforms in beta.

One, Prankstr, allows users to "prank" their friends and share the experience through social networks. The other, Betabox, distributes product samples through e-commerce companies. 

The employee-created platforms came out of the second stage of Mondelez's Mobile Futures initiative, which paired the company's "power brands" (Oreo, Stride, Trident, Wheat Thins, Ritz, Chips Ahoy!, BelVita and others) with startup entrepreneurs to incubate mobile pilots in just 90 days. After identifying the ideas, employees worked with Prehype, which built and launched the platforms.

Although Mondelez and Prehype have vested interests, the ventures are ultimately intended to become stand-alone companies. After completion of the beta testing, the teams will be seeking seed funding to finance product development and sales. Mondelez didn't say whether competitive brands would be among those eventually solicited to use the platforms.

More on the new platforms:

*Prankstr: With 50 million prank videos on YouTube, Mondelez identified an emerging opportunity to provide consumers with a tool to help them craft funny content. After users customize a selected prank and post it on their social channels, Prankstr aggregates the reactions into a video that can be shared with friends.

"With Prankstr, we're merging two of the fastest-growing trends on the Internet: prank-based videos and content creation tools," said Mondelez senior associate brand manager Lauren Fleischer.  

The types of pranks currently being shown on the platform include telling your friends that the cops just broke in, or that you may have contracted an STD, or that you're pregnant. (The instructions encourage users blasting the false pregnancy news to "be sure to tell them ALL the truth when you wrap things up.") In other pranks, friends are erroneously informed that the user is "off to the beach," or asked embarrassing personal questions (supposedly on behalf of a third party), or shown bogus, envy-inducing images meant to trigger "Fear of Missing Out" (FOMO). 

In the pilot phase, the platform is being offered to users in beta form at beta.prankstr.me. After launching with initial company seed funding, the team is seeking investors to launch a suite of social media-baed storytelling tools. 

*Betabox: This platform enables brands to target consumers by inserting samples into the outgoing boxes of compatible e-commerce companies with marketing material that encourages recipients to use their phones to engage further with the sampling brand.

Mondelez senior associate brand manager Hadley Schafer says that Betabox is designed to enable product sampling "with more accurate targeting, cost-effective distribution and better program analytics than traditional methods," and provide "a new and unique way for consumers to easily interact with brands via mobile."

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