packaged goods

General Mills Ties Into 3D 'Star Wars' Release


The Force will be with General Mills’ Big G Cereals starting in late January, as store shelves feature boxes of the cereals containing collectible Star Wars premiums, to tie in with Lucasfilm’s Feb. 10 theatrical release of “Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace 3D.”

Each of 10 million specially marked boxes will include a free pen featuring one of eight popular Star Wars characters: Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul, Anakin Skywalker, Queen Amidala and Jar-Jar Binks. Each of the pens has a different color of ink, to enhance collectability.

The pens will be in specific-size boxes of five brands: Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Reese’s Puffs and Cookie Crisp. 

In addition, General Mills’s Fruit Roll-Ups Mini Rolls will feature Star Wars temporary tongue tattoos; the backing paper in Fruit by the Foot packages will have a Star Wars theme; and Yoplait Go-Gurt will offer “Slurp Sabers” (glow-in-the-dark yogurt tubes).



To drive awareness of the promotions, General Mills will add 10-second tags to its television spots for several of the brands, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms and Reese’s Puffs, says Julie Anderla, integrated communications manager at General Mills.

Other marketing support will include in-store pallet displays, newspaper FSIs and digital efforts including outreach to Big G’s blogger network (MyBlogSpark), plus inclusion of Big G’s Star Wars offerings in Lucasfilm’s Twitter and promotions.

General Mills also partnered with Lucasfilm on tie-ins in 2002, in conjunction with the release of “Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones.” Some Big G brands offered special, limited-edition cereal versions (such as inclusion of marshmallows in the shape of Star Wars characters) with holographic packaging, while others offered free illuminating lightsaber pens or temporary tattoos, reported DSN Retailing Today. Go-Gurt snacks had glow-in-the-dark packaging, and the company also offered Jedi Fruit Rolls packaged with Star Wars sticker cards.

Tie-ins with Star Wars are a “natural fit” for Big G brands and the other products, says Anderla, who adds that such promotions are part of General Mills’s strategy to “add additional value for consumers” to its cereals and snack brands.

For instance, through licensing deals with various companies, Big G runs four promotions per year offering some kind of premiums in boxes, Anderla told The New York Times in October.

In the most recent previous promotion, in October/November 2011, several Big G brands teamed with DC Entertainment to offer special DC Comics superheroes comic books inside boxes -- an effort that sought to encourage reading by kids, as well as boost sales. Another promotion featured in-box figurines of characters from Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob Squarepants” show.

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