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[los angeles] Buena Vista Television is enlisting McDonald's Corp., Mattel, the National Hockey League, KFC Corp. and others to cross-promote its upcoming children's series in deals expected to be worth upward of $27 million in promotional exposure for the production company.

The deals-for "The Mighty Ducks," "Quack Pack," "Timon & Pumbaa," "Brand Spanking New Doug" and "Bill Nye the Science Guy"-mark a change in strategy for Walt Disney Co., which typically relied on one major cross-promotional partner to handle most of its TV projects, Buena Vista officials said.

Central to the promotional plan is a partnership with McDonald's, to create a "Mighty Ducks" Happy Meal for February. The fast-food leader will advertise the Happy Meal in children's-targeted media.

The promotion will be the first in a newly minted deal, worth $100 million a year over 10 years, between McDonald's and Disney.


Reaching the children's demo-graphic to promote a show is a tricky task, as kids tend not to read most print media, said Buena Vista Television President Mort Marcus. As a result, he said, finding appropriate cross-promotional partners is key.

"The restaurants, for example, get heavier foot traffic because of [the cross-promotional tie-ins]," Mr. Marcus said. "And we get more exposure for our programs."

Mattel will also get into the "Mighty Ducks" action with new licensed merchandise.

Pillsbury Co. will promote the kids' show with a tie-in to its Pillsbury's Toaster Strudel brand in 4,000 stores nationwide, complete with national ad inserts in newspapers.


In November, the NHL and Buena Vista will team up on a sweepstakes offering a trip to San Jose, Calif., for the league's 1997 all-star game. That promotion will also offer NHL merchandise and the Mattel line of "Ducks" toys.

"Timon & Pumbaa," airing in CBS' Saturday morning lineup and in syndication, will be cross-promoted in kids' meals at more than 5,000 KFC restaurants. The promotion runs from Oct. 4 to Dec. 31 and will be the first time KFC supports a kids' meal with advertising. As the KFC deal runs before Jan. 1, it will not conflict with the exclusive Disney/

McDonald's deal.

Kellogg Co. will support "Bill Nye the Science Guy" with side panels on its breakfast cereals beginning this September. The panels, explaining why children should eat breakfast, will be penned by Mr. Nye.M

Mr. Spring is Los Angeles bureau chief of Electronic Media.

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