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General Mills will pack a patriotic promotional punch this spring in a $100 million Olympics-related marketing push touting several of its major brands.

This month, the No. 2 cereal giant will hit stores with a new limited-edition Team USA Cheerios, supported by $40 million in marketing spending. That will be followed by a new Olympic marshmallow shape for Lucky Charms, a pop-off top instant-win game for Yoplait yogurt and a major in-store giveaway for several brands.

"The Olympics will be a strategic coup for General Mills," said Burt Flickinger, analyst for Price Waterhouse & Co.'s Management Horizons, New York. "This will provide a major marquee event for both promotion and trade promotion that none of their competitors, Kellogg's included, can touch."


Team USA Cheerios, described as a "championship blend" in materials to retailers, will mix Multi-Grain Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios and regular Cheerios. Like the new Lucky Charms, national advertising from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, New York, will support.

Along with the spring efforts, General Mills will launch another Olympian promotion wave in July for Wheaties that hasn't yet been presented to retailers.

DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, handles Wheaties and Yoplait.

Also participating in General Mills' Olympics promotion will be Nature Valley granola bars, Pop Secret microwave popcorn and Hamburger Helper, though specific plans for those brands are not yet clear.

Moreover, General Mills will also run in-store giveaways with such prizes as a trip to Barcelona and a Pathfinder sport-utility from Nissan Motor Corp. USA.

The company has obtained marketing rights to 25 of the 29 U.S. Olympic Teams, including USA Gymnastics, U.S. Track & Field and U.S. Volleyball.

General Mills is the exclusive sponsor in the following categories: cereal, baking mixes, dried fruit snacks, refrigerated yogurt, granola and cereal bars, and dry packaged potatoes.

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