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General Mills scares up cereal box engagement with augmented reality

This Halloween, General Mills' Franken Berry, Count Chocula and Boo Berry monster mascots are coming alive as the marketer extends a collaboration with augmented reality application Blippar that previously impacted Wheaties and other cereal brands.  

The consumer packaged goods manufacturer is leveraging smartphones to make it easy for breakfast eaters to have some fun and bring the monsters? personalities to life. Through the use of augmented reality, consumers can point their phone at both the front and the back of specially marked boxes of cereal to watch the monsters deliver a message and access other content.  

?We are always looking for ways to add extra value and fun to our cereals because everyone likes to find a surprise inside,? said Emily Thomas, marketing manager for Monsters cereals at General Mills. 

?It?s a surprise to some folks that Big G cereals still regularly put collectible prizes inside boxes throughout the year,? she said. 

?For Monsters, we wanted to add some fun that would bring the Monsters characters to life in a new way, and mobile is the best way to accomplish it for our fans.?

Monsters come alive
To interact with the content, consumers must first download the Blippar application on their phones and point it at one the boxes printed with the words ?We?re Alive!? and an image of a smartphone. 

By pointing the app at the front of one of the boxes, the appropriate monster lurches off the packaging and uttering a phrase. For example, Franken Berry says, ?Did I scare you??

Pointing the app at the back of a cereal box enables users to access a variety of other content, including vintage packages and old commercials from the 70s and 80s. 

The 2015 editions of the Monster cereals will be available at select retailers in the U.S. soon, with full nationwide distribution by September. The limited-edition packages will be available while supplies last.

?Monsters cereals are an incredible part of pop culture, and our fans eagerly wait for Monsters to hit the shelves each year,? Ms. Thomas said. ?Further, the cereal box has historically been a fun source of entertainment at the breakfast table and beyond. 

?Our partnership with Blippar builds on both these facets of the Monsters past, and we can?t wait for our fans to experience fun,? she said. 

Making breakfast fun
General Mills has been working with Blippar over the past year to drive engagement with several of its cereal brands. 

Last fall, General Mills mobilized boxes of Wheaties cereal via Blippar in a campaign that featured National Football League player Adrian Peterson (see story). 

In addition to the boxes that leverage the Blippar technology, Monsters cereal packaging featuring a cut-out castle is available exclusively at Target. At Walmart, consumers will find glow in the dark, cut-out masks of the Monsters.

?Around the Halloween season, we know that Big G Monsters Cereals are popular for all audiences, from moms, dads, and millennials who remember growing up with these spooky characters at breakfast, to kids who love something new and special in their bowl,? Ms. Thomas said. 

?Monsters Cereals are some of our most popular Big G cereals in the fall, and we?d ?die? without our mobile devices - excuse the Halloween pun - so bringing them to life in an app makes a lot of sense,? she said. 

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York