The deal is the latest in a series of big-money alliances between studios and marketers, following the landmark 10-year, $100 million association between Walt Disney Co. and McDonald's Corp.
BROAD AND UNDEFINED
The coming pact is so broad-and as yet undefined-that Warner executives said it was impossible to value at this point.
Details are still being worked out, but the linchpin is said to be Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes. Point-of-purchase advertising will be a key part of the program.
While Frito wouldn't comment on details, a spokeswoman said: "We have entered into an agreement with Warner Bros. that is a very exciting partnership-an integrated entertainment deal that leverages our kids platform."
The program, which she said is six to nine months away from launch, "has, in depth and breadth, global potential."
Jordan Sollito, VP-promotions at Warner Bros. Consumer Products, said the alliance isn't exclusive. But he said there's an understanding that the companies will be each other's dance partners during the three-year partnership.
The two factors driving Frito in this deal are a need to make its brands and products relevant to kids and to make the place where its brands are sold in stores a destination for shoppers.
Toward that end, it's expected Frito-Lay will leverage the Warner Bros. properties, especially Looney Tunes, for in-store ads, merchandising and displays. TLPartnership, Dallas, will handle that aspect of the alliance for Frito-Lay.
While ad commitments aren't spelled out in the deal, it's expected that Frito-Lay will have BBDO Worldwide, New York, work on creative to support the programs.
LOONEY TUNES ON A ROLL
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has been on a roll in licensing its Looney Tunes characters since the division took a brand management approach to the franchise. Those efforts, which include a cohesive and unified look for packaging and logos, are being implemented fully this year.
Bayer Corp., General Mills, Kraft Foods and Sara Lee Corp. are among those licensing Looney Tunes for consumer promotions and products, and together will spend over $100 million in related marketing programs this year.