The center, located in Titusville, Fla., began pursuing national packaged goods companies about 18 months ago for the 2008 celebration of its 50th anniversary, according to its director of marketing, Tom Olson.
This Kraft promotion--plus a collectible-toy promotion coming up in November with a fast-food chain, and others scheduled for 2009--are byproducts of those efforts, Olson says.
The success of the Macaroni & Cheese promotion may also lead to partnerships with other Kraft brands, he adds, noting that such possibilities are being discussed internally at Kraft.
The Visitor's Complex appeals not just to kids, but to a number of different consumer segments--including Boomers who grew up on the space program--and is drawing considerable interest from marketers looking to target such groups, according to Olson.
In the Macaroni & Cheese promotion, kids enter a code found in specially marked boxes of the iconic kids' brand into a contest at thecheesiest.com for chances to win prizes like a family trip to the Kennedy Space Center or launching a Super Loki bearing the winning kid's name. Second and third prizes include youth flight suits with helmets and Kraft lunch bags. A $5 discount on admission to Space Center Visitor Complex is included on the box (and is also downloadable, along with a screensaver, on the site).
The campaign, tied in with a space adventure featuring cartoon character "C. Rex," includes 38 million boxes in grocery stores nationwide and is being supported by a national 30-second commercial on kids' shows, point-of-sale signage and an interactive Web site. The contest ends Saturday.
The promotion has generated over 1.2 million hits on the site and more than 68,000 registrations. More importantly, the Kraft brand has been seeing "large volume increases" since the campaign began on March 12, according to associate brand manager Joanna Laytin. "We're very happy with the results," she says.
(The brand will also be doing other experiential marketing for kids in the months ahead, including a "Mac & Cheese-A-Palooza" contest with chances for six kids to win attendance at an exclusive, brand-sponsored concert by up-and-coming Disney Channel and recording star Jordan Pruitt, Laytin reports. The first "Palooza" event/contest, featuring The Cheetah Girls, was a major hit, she notes.
Meanwhile, the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese promo has also been a win for the Space Center, which has already seen some coupons redeemed by in-state visitors, and expects a significant influx from out-of-staters during vacation season in June and beyond, reports Olson.
The increased exposure generated by such corporate tie-ins is also important for building awareness that the Complex offers a full day-and-a-half of activities, he adds. Featured attractions include the new Shuttle Launch Experience, Kennedy Space Center tour, 3D IMAX space films, Astronaut Encounter, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame featuring historic spacecraft, simulator rides and more.