NICKELODEON IS POPULAR PARTNER FOR MANY KIDS-FOOD MARKETERS

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Nicknaming is sweeping the supermarket aisle.

While promotional tie-ins with kids cable network Nickelodeon have been popular for years, food marketers are raising the stakes with limited-edition products named after Nick properties. The newest two: Kraft Foods' Reptar Crunch, a cereal concoction of purple rice crisps and green dinosaur shapes, and Nabisco Biscuit Co.'s Rugrats cookies.

Reptar Crunch, modeled after the "Rugrats" character Reptar from the Nick cartoon series, reaches store shelves in August. Although Nabisco declined to discuss Rugrats cookies, the line is expected by fall.

Kraft cereal competitor General Mills is linking with Nick's "Blue's Clues" for a co-promotion involving its Kix and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios brands. Coming in June, the promo offers a free "Blue's Clues" book with a cereal purchase. A free-standing insert is planned, along with a TV tag on existing ads via Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

Other food marketers with recent Nick tie-ins include Campbell Soup Co., with a "Rugrats" soup; Farley Candy Co.'s "Rugrats" fruit snacks; and Cadbury Schweppes' Mott's unit with its "Blue's Clues" applesauce.

Among non-foods companies, Lincoln Mercury Co. tied in with "Rugrats" for its minivans, and Pam Kaufman, VP-promotional marketing at Nick, said the network is in discussions with an undisclosed computer marketer.

"We're casting a wide net," she said, noting that "kids have an enormous purchasing influence. In everything from autos to travel, kids are making

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