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Pillsbury Toaster Strudel taps Fruit Ninja app in More Fruit campaign

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel is leveraging the popularity of the Fruit Ninja mobile application with flying-fruit video games and a live show by a fruit-slicing swordsman in support of its ?More Fruit? campaign.

The partnership with Halfbrick, maker of the Fruit Ninja app, includes sponsored in-app challenges, videos and coupons, as well as swordsman Isao Machii slicing apples, berries, watermelons and other fruit in a live show at the Grove in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The campaign reflects marketers? efforts to leverage the surge in video-game playing and its value in bringing together families. 

?Pillsbury Toaster Strudel is always looking for ways to reach moms and millennials where they are already playing,? said Polly Madsen, marketing manager for Toaster Strudel.

?In this case, research says that 75 percent of moms are playing video games so a partnership with Fruit Ninja is a fun way to celebrate now having more fruit in every Toaster Strudel with the same great taste,? she said. ?It?s a natural fit because it resonates with moms and her kids.?

Rachel vs. Guy
During the live event, attendees can sample Toaster Strudel, play Fruit Ninja Kinect, pose for photos and more.

Toaster Strudel is also partnering with the Food Network this summer through a multimedia integration with the show Rachel vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off. ?More Fruit? vignettes will run during the show in which teens will be challenged to whip up recipes with Toaster Strudel and real fruit.

The campaign is the latest effort by Toaster Strudel?s parent, Minneapolis-based General Mills, to target tech-savvy mothers with a mobile initiative. In the past it has teamed up with Shazam for a television campaign that promoted Pillsbury products.

General Mills also was the first consumer-packaged goods brand to run a promotion via deal-a-day giant Groupon, offering consumers a sampler pack worth up to $40 for just $20. The deal was available to consumers in Minneapolis and St. Paul via mobile and online. It was sold out just hours after its launch.  

Fruit Ninja was released for Apple?s iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Android OS and Windows Phone during 2010.

In the game, the player must slice fruit that is thrown into the air by swiping the device's touch screen with a finger or when played on the Xbox 360, with arms and hands. In May 2012 Fruit Ninja reached 300 million downloads, and was on one third of all US iPhones. 

Product recipe
Halfbrick, of Brisbane, Australia, brought an online multiplayer, achievements and leaderboards to the game. 

Swordsman Isao Machii will slice assorted fruits in live show.

?Pillsbury Toaster Strudel isn't in the gaming business, but we partnered with Fruit Ninja to celebrate our More Fruit product recipe,? Ms. Madsen said

?And, since research states that so many moms are gaming and that it can provide a bonding experience for families, we feel that Fruit Ninja is a great fit with Toaster Strudel.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.