LaunchPad Invites Consumers to Play With Their Food

Boston Agency Creates Web Games For Food Brands

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Who would've thought that TV dinners and Blackjack went together? Or have a geography lesson go with fish sticks?

LaunchPad does.

The Boston-based company has recently launched websites for Hungry-Man frozen dinners, Duncan Hines baked goods, Mrs. Paul's and Van de Kamp's frozen seafood, both brands under Pinnacle Foods Group Inc. Going interactive, the websites are geared toward the younger internet-user demographic. LaunchPad incorporated games or members-only sections in the sites to increase traffic and offer visitors a fun experience. Alex Poulos, co-founder and executive producer of LaunchPad, wants to "meld the heritage that the brands have" with a "modern-online persona."

Hungry-man focuses on the 18-35 age group with old-school games like Astroblaster and Hall of Fame Racing while Mrs. Paul's features kiddie games that will tickle their minds. All the games on the websites were created at LaunchPad headquarters by in-house animator, Peter Mutascio.

"We looked at the seafood brands, and we wanted to target young children," Poulos said. "So all the games have a mental challenge to them. The States game, which apparently a 5th grader can do, has challenged us in the office."

LaunchPad, which Poulos dubs a "boutique agency," doesn't only help out the food industry. Being Boston-based, the pharmaceutical niche was a logical path. They have done work with Abot Point of Care, BD Labs and Abbott Diagnostics.

Opening in 2002, the company has matured over the past few years. They thrive on having their game faces on and hustiling on each project.

"When you're a smaller shop, you're not carrying lots of overhead," Poulos said. "Can you develop and delivery high end industry work at a lower cost? We can do the same, and we can save you 20 percent or 30 percent on top of that."

LaunchPad has a number of projects lined up for 2007. Besides updating the arcade sections of the Pinnacle Food websites, the sites they have created for Vlasic Pickles will go live this week. And a project with Armour canned foods will launch in May.

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