- Life Cereal, which is owned by The Quaker Oats Company, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc., is running a nationwide contest to help the brand find the next kid to include in its next advertising campaign, the company announced in a press release. The campaign will pitch the cereal as a healthy breakfast option that is liked by parents and kids alike.
- The effort plays on the brand's former "Mikey Likes It" commercial, which debuted in 1972 and had several sequels. In the original ad, Mikey likes the cereal after reluctantly giving it a try.
- The brand is seeking kids with acting skills, the ability to articulate clearly and convincingly and natural on-camera presence. Parents can bring their kids, between the ages of 4 and 8, to an in-person casting call at one of five Walmart locations nationwide or upload a video of the child reading a script at LifeCastingContest.com through April 27. Finalists will be announced in May, and up to three kids will receive a trip to Los Angeles to audition for the part in person.
By reaching out to consumers to help find the new face for its campaign, Life can build buzz and interest even before the campaign's launch. The contest adds depth to Life's upcoming effort by encouraging fan engagement before the spots air on TV, as parents and kids eat the cereal, visit the brand's website or social channels and share videos of themselves acting the part at home. Plus, to enter the sweepstakes, parents must share some personal details, including birthday, their kids' birthdays, name, phone number, address and email address, providing the brand more customer data that could be useful for other marketing and targeting initiatives down the road.
These kinds of efforts, which include real customers in brands' marketing campaigns, are growing more popular as marketers seek to generate brand buzz and encourage social sharing.
Procter & Gamble deodorant brand Secret in February asked female Instagram users to share their empowering stories to be selected by judges and used in a multichannel campaign throughout the year. Similarly, American Eagle last summer extended its #AExME brand platform which features actual customers, and Burger King recently crowdsourced April Fools' Day pranks from students to drum up fan participation and rake in user-generated content.
Life's latest contest and campaign also tap into nostalgia for the "Mikey Likes It" ads that ran in the 1970s and spurred several sequels throughout the 1990s. The desire for parents to have their child be the next "Mikey" plays into the nostalgia trend, which appears to resonate with millennials. In a similar rehash of a past campaign, Juicy Fruit recently asked consumers to vote on a remixed version of its classic jingle.