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Mondelez strengthens ties to mobile users with social, sampling startups

Consumer packaged goods company Mondel?z International is building off its mobile innovation program with two new beta platforms, including a mobile social service called Prankstr that provides tools to help users prank their friends.

The other new platform, Betabox, helps brands target product samples at specific consumers by distributing them through ecommerce partners, with recipients able to engage via mobile. Prankstr and Betabox, which were developed by Mondel?z employees, were born out of phase two of the Mondel?z Mobile Futures program, which last year paired brands such as Oreo and Trident with start-ups to develop new mobile ventures in 90 days.

?Prankstr was an ?outside-the-box? innovation that really goes beyond our core competencies, but represents Mondel?z International?s culture of ?intrapreneurship,? said Lauren Fleischer, brand associate manager at Mondelez, Deerfield, IL.

Mobile antics
Prankstr was developed to give users a way to prank their friends and share the experience through social networks.

According to Mondel?z , the idea for Prankstr is based on two of the fastest growing Internet trends: Prank-based content and content creation tools.

To use Prankstr, users choose from a selection of pranks, such as "I'm pregnant" or "Cops broke in." Users must sign in via Facebook or Twitter as pranks are pulled on the social media feeds.

Consumers can customize pranks, pull the prank and watch the reactions.

Once the prank is complete, Prankstr aggregates the reactions into a video to share.

Consumer insight
While Prankstr is being developed as a stand-alone startup, it is an example of how CPG brands? interest in mobile social platforms, which can provide significant consumer insight.

?By creating this mobile and social tool, Mondel?z , a multinational CPG company playing in a market with high market saturation and low consumer switching costs, will gain coveted access to the consumer, through the most personal communications tool they own, their mobile device,? said Adam Blejski, vice president of digital media and client services at Parallel 6, San Diego, CA.

?At the same time, they derive viral ?buzz? for the brand in social media,? he said.

?It's a win-win-win for Mondel?z. While advertising executives lie awake at night trying to determine the best way to capture consumers, Mondel?z will gain highly prized market intelligence from the analytics built into their technology.?

Mondel?z partnered with venture development firm Prehype to launch the two new beta platforms.

Currently, Prankstr is being offered to users in beta form at . The team is seeking investors for additional funding with the goal of launching a suite of storytelling tools that consumers can leverage on social media.

Entrepreneurial spirit
Mondel?z launched the Mobile Futures program last year, pairing nine snack brands with start-ups to spur innovation. Eight of these programs were launched and are continuing this year, with a few pilots showing potential to be launched nationally (see story).

According to the CPG company, empowering its employees to be entrepreneurial and providing a way for them to be part of the company?s mobile-first strategy is an example of how the company has infused a startup mentality.

The Mondel?z employees who came up with the ideas were partnered with Prehype to build and launch the products, with both intended to be operated as standalone startups.

The second new platform is Betabox, a business-to-business startup enabling brands to target their product samples at specific consumers by distributing them through ecommerce partners.

Betabox also engages sample recipients with a mobile platform that brands can customize to promote content, special offers and social sharing incentives.

A sampling brand provides Betabox with their samples, then Betabox packages the samples.

For example, Sour Patch Stride Gum is being sent to BustedTees customers in a small pillow box with a sticker on the outside that says "Here's a little something extra, courtesy of BustedTees."

The sample inside the box is accompanied by a card that encourages consumers to grab their phone and visit a mobile-optimized URL to see if they won a larger prize.

?We will be able to carefully measure how many sample recipients engage further with Stride as a result of the sampling and can identify how much the Betabox distribution model has amplified their sampling spend,? said Eric Klein, senior brand associate manager at Mondel?z Int?l.

?Betabox doesn't just facilitate giveaways though, in other campaigns we are promoting a mobile commerce special offer, a hashtag campaign, and a call-to-action to receive exclusive content,? he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York