General Mills' NeoPets Pact

Inks multi-year deal for 'immersive advertising'

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% NeoPets, Inc., the popular kids' Web site, has inked a multi-year pact with General Mills' for a brand integration and "immersive advertising" deal.

The deal encompasses branding opportunities for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Reese's Puffs, and Cookie Crisp. General Mills VP of Marketing, Eric Lucas, would not divulge the financial terms of the arrangement but the company will receive as part of the deal an interactive interface on that enters the user into the General Mills Cereal Adventure, a gateway to specific activities like gaming. The General Mills brands can be purchased on the site for play with neopoints. The deal also allows current General Mills commercials to stream off of the site.

"Since kids are spending more time online, we decided to boost our online presence in a way that's fun and meaningful to them. NeoPets is unique because it offers immersive advertising, leading to a deeper brand experience," said Lucas. "Most people feel that banner ads don't work and as consumers of the Internet, we all hate pop-up ads."

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% NeoPets, which was launched by executives with consumer research backgrounds, also offers the client both pre-survey and post-survey research to measure the impact of the campaign.

"The Internet presents a compelling case for brand marketers…when you have sites like Yahoo with 250 million visitors a month, you can't ignore that, right?," said Doug Dohring, Chairman and CEO, Neopets, based in Glendale, CA. According to Dohring, NeoPets gets 11 million total visitors a month, of which approximately 8 million are under the age of 18.

Dohring also touts the opt-in nature of the branding on his site vis-à-vis the traditional model of "intrusive" advertising practiced by platforms like network TV. "We don't make our users go through an ad in order to play a game or feed their pet. We've always taken the view that we're entertainment for our users."

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