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Client: Life cereal, Quaker Oats Co., Chicago.

Effort: An integrated promotion and nationwide search contest for the next "Mikey," a kid between ages 3 and 12 who will appear on an upcoming Life cereal box. It kicks off Jan. 13, commemorating the 25-year anniversary of the original Mikey TV spot.

Agencies: Promotion concept developed in-house by Quaker. In-store execution of the promotion and publicity handled by Ketchum Public Relations, Chicago. Advertising including national TV spots via Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, New York.

Twist: The contest competition hinges on creativity and originality, and entry demands intense focus on the brand by both parents and kids. Drawing on parents' nostalgia for a memorable commercial, the promotion also strongly emphasizes kids' current use of Life cereal. A proof-of-purchase requirement pushes sales.

Vital statistics: Kicking off at Chicago's Children's Museum next week, the promotion relies on the integration of publicity with traditional advertising. Entry requirements: A parent or guardian must mail in an essay of 25 words or less, themed "My kid likes Life cereal because . . ." A recent color photograph of the child and a Life proof-of-purchase are also required. An independent judging panel will select a winner based on photogenic quality and overall embodiment of the "Mikey" character and spirit. Grand prize includes appearance on Life cereal boxes, plus $10,000 cash; a total of 281 prizes will be awarded on five levels. Entry deadline for the contest: June 30.

Media (this month): In-store events offering photo sessions at 38 supermarkets, one national 30-second TV spot, a national free-standing insert, on-package promotion and online exposure (http:// www.quakeroatmeal.com/mikey).

Kate Fitzgerald edits Events & Promotions. Reach us by fax at (312) 649-5331 or e-mail address K8FITZ@aol.com.

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