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General Mills cereal boxes to offer mobile gaming app, promo codes

In time for Halloween, Generals Mills is directing shoppers to a free mobile gaming application with additional promotional codes to promote its monster cereals on its family-sized boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs available exclusively at participating Wal-Mart locations.

The gaming app will contain characters from General Mills? monster cereals just in time for the Halloween season, showcasing an effort to build brand awareness and create a mobile experience for established products that have been around for more than 40 years. Companies with products of such an age can reinvent them using mobile components to appeal to a modern audience. 

?Around the Halloween season, we know that our monster cereals are popular for all audiences, from moms, dads, and millennials who remember growing up with these spooky characters at breakfast, to kids who love something new and special in their bowl,? said Lisa Tomassen, integrated marketing communications manager at General Mills, Minneapolis. ?Monsters cereals are some of our most popular Big G cereals in the fall, and we?d die without our mobile devices, so bringing them to life in an app makes a lot of sense.?

Gaming for breakfast 
Each cereal box has a code that can be scanned using a smartphone to launch the virtual experience. 
Children can enjoy reaching new levels on the gaming app and can also look for promo codes found inside specially marked boxes to continue the experience.

Monster cereals that will be making an appearance this season are Boo Berry, Count Chocula and Franken Berry. General Mills teamed with comic book publisher DC Comics to design illustrations of the characters for the front of the boxes and comic strips for the back of boxes. 

All varieties and special edition boxes of the monster cereals will be available at select retailers in the United States in the coming months and will be at stores nationwide by September.

For these cereals that have been around since the early 70s, implementing mobile components to the products can be a productive means of marketing to allow the products to continue to evolve over time.

Given the upcoming Halloween season, General Mills hopes to attract more fans and keep them coming back through the gaming app.

?Younger generations are adopting mobile and technology quicker than any other generation,? said Brittany Mills, director of digital marketing services at Mobiquity, New York. ?When they want to do something, such as watch TV, play a game or watch a movie, they grab a mobile device first and then think about board games and TVs second. 

?Who doesn?t love games on the back of cereal boxes? Leveraging the boxes for the ?power up? capabilities is a great way to track from purchase to usage.?

Ms. Mills is not affiliated with General Mills but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Mobile nutrition
General Mills continues to see the potential for its products that are active on mobile.

General Mills? Nature Valley Trail View virtual hiking paths became available on mobile in June for the first time following heavy traffic on mobile and consumer interest in taking the experience on the go. 

Reviews showed interest in utilizing the virtual guides during physical visits as an educational and navigational tool. Users now have access to 23 high-resolution panorama views of national parks using the optimized mobile Web site (see story).

General Mills also aims to reach consumers on multiple platforms in order to combat language barriers. 
With Hispanic consumers over indexing on mobile, General Mills has been looking to reach these valuable consumers through the bilingual shopping app Veo.

Veo is a new bilingual shopping app by Latinum Network that connects brands with the Hispanic market by engaging them in their native language with free product samples, recipes and giveaways. While Hispanic communities are the most digitally engaged of all consumers, many brands have failed to access this surging market (see story).

When the monster cereals were first introduced to consumers, mobile capabilities were not possible, and purchasers could merely play crossword puzzles or matching games on cereal boxes. Mobile innovations give something like cereal more of a appeal than just appetite satisfaction.

?We are always looking for ways to add extra value and fun to our cereals because everyone likes to find a surprise inside,? Ms. Tomassen said. ?It?s a surprise to some folks that Big G cereals still regularly put collectible prizes inside boxes throughout the year. For Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, we wanted to add some fun that would bring the monster characters to life in a new way, and mobile gaming was the best way to accomplish it for our fans.?

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York