General mills plans to launch a broader marketing deal with children's activity site MaMaMedia to build on a relationship initiated last year.
Starting in December and distributed nationally, packages of General Mills' Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Roll-Ups and Fruit Snacks will carry MaMaMedia's site address and promote three new kids' activities on the site, which had 293,000 unique visitors in July, according to Media Metrix. That compares with Nickelodeon's kids site, nick.com, which had nearly 1.7 million unique visitors in July.
In exchange, the three brands will sponsor each new activity, their logos prominently displayed near the games. General Mills will also advertise its Fruit Snacks products in MaMaMedia's magazine.
The new promotion will run six months; MamaMedia valued the deal in the multimillion dollars but wouldn't disclose terms.
DEAL LIKELY INVOLVES BARTER
The deal likely is based largely on bartering, said Marissa Gluck, a Jupiter Communications analyst. "The idea of barter is so prevalent across all media," she said. "My guess is that there's very little money being exchanged."
Still, package-goods companies will spend more online in the next few years. According to Jupiter, in 1998 consumer goods companies spent 2% of all online advertising dollars; by 2003, that number will jump to 7%.
The marketing deal follows a similar arrangement last year, when Betty Crocker Fruit Gushers and Fruit Roll-Ups carried the MaMaMedia address and promoted one activity on the site for four months.
The agreement marks the early stage of what could be for General Mills a significant and sustained push to market via the Web, said Jonathan Yusen, marketing manager for kids' fruit snacks at General Mills.
The company decided to extend the arrangement based on a combination of click-through and impression data from MaMaMedia as well as the positive effect the previous year's partnership had on sales of Betty Crocker Fruit Gushers and Fruit Roll-Ups, said Tiffany West, assistant marketing manager for Kid Fruit Snacks.
"Now that we understand more about the medium, we see it as a great marketing tool," Mr. Yusen said. "Many more kids are going online and this is a significant vehicle to get kids' eyeballs on our brand."
The relationship with MaMaMedia is not exclusive and General Mills may pursue similar deals with other Web sites following the six months that its MaMaMedia-branded Fruit Snacks products are on store shelves.
For MaMaMedia--which inked a content deal with America Online two years ago and today launches "You Do-It Days," a weeklong set of activities aimed at kids and adults--the General Mills deal grants greater exposure through affiliation with a major marketer.
"We get to connect our brand with [General Mills'] well-known and loved brands," said Rebecca Randall, VP-marketing and development at MaMaMedia. "It's great visibility for us."
MaMaMedia plans to pursue similar marketing deals with additional marketers, Ms. Randall said.
Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.