Authors bring Olympic stories to cereal boxes

General Mills Canada is upgrading breakfast-table reading to a literary level with the launch of its latest all-Canadian cereal-box promotion.
The cereal manufacturer has teamed up with Canadian book publishing companies to offer some unusual breakfast-time reading.

General Mills Canada is upgrading breakfast-table reading to a literary level with the launch of its latest all-Canadian cereal-box promotion.

The cereal manufacturer has teamed up with Canadian book publishing companies to offer some unusual breakfast-time reading. Each of six participating authors has written a short story about a different Canadian amateur athlete, to appear on the back of Cheerios boxes in anticipation of the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. More than four million of the inscribed boxes have been produced and will hit retailers’ shelves across the country during December. The promotion is expected to run until late March if supplies last.

Since becoming a sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Association in 1998, General Mills has featured athletes on its Cheerios boxes prior to each bi-annual Olympic event. However, this is the first time that stories have been written by authors.

‘This is the first step in what we hope will become an on-going partnership with publishing companies,’ says Dale Storey, marketing director at General Mills Canada. ‘It is something that allows us to support well-known Canadian authors and athletes at the same time.

‘The Cheerios brand is well-known for its support of growth and educational development of kids, so promoting authors and athletes is a good way of strengthening that image, by encouraging kids to read Canadian works and to get into sport,’ he continues.

Each box features a picture of one Olympic hopeful on the front and the profile on the back. A side-panel is dedicated to biographical information about the author and details about their latest publication. Participating authors and publishing houses are J.C. Mills (Key Porter Books), Anne Douglas (CDG Books Canada), Kenneth Oppel (HarperCollins Publishers), Liam Maguire (Random House Canada), Roy MacGregor (McClelland & Stewart) and Gilles Tibo (Quebec Amerique).

Storey hopes that the promotion will help boost cereal sales to a new high, as demand for Olympic memorabilia starts to set in during the run up to Christmas. He anticipates that aspiring athletes and collectors will aim to collect all six Cheerios boxes in the set. ‘During the last two Olympics we achieved record sales levels, and this year should be even better as we are involving the authors as well,’ he says.

The concept is designed to appeal not only to Cheerios target demographic of the under 18s but also to adult consumers. ‘We have found that people read their cereal boxes around eight to 12 times before finishing a box, so this gives really good exposure to the athletes and authors.’

The promotion will be supported by posters, bookmarks and other POS material in Chapters bookstores across Canada. Visitors to Chapters stores during the book launches of the participating authors will also see cardboard standees of the athletes.

Athletes in the spotlight are Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Yzerman, Martin Brodeur, Cassie Campbell, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.

Parkers wanted:

Green P lures drivers with loot

Drivers in Toronto now have an added incentive to pull into a Green P parking lot. The Toronto Parking Authority is offering prizes worth more than $10,000 in its Pull-in-to-Win contest, running from Nov. 5 to Dec. 31. Entry forms are available in a Park & Shop booklet distributed at each parking lot, which require drivers to answer safety-oriented questions to enter a prize draw.

Toronto agency Campbell Michener & Lee (CM&L) has created a bus campaign to support the contest. Green posters feature slogans such as, ‘A good reason to fight over a parking space’ together with the Green P symbol.

‘We chose to use transit media because it’s close to the point of sale and we’re trying to catch the attention of drivers who might be seeking a parking spot,’ says Dan Danyer, VP account director at CM&L. The ads will be displayed on more than 100 buses in Toronto for the duration of the contest.

Why does Frodo have

hairy feet?

Alliance Atlantis has teamed up with a whole host of partners to promote its highly anticipated epic movie, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which is coming to the big screen next month.

A national contest was launched Nov. 10 in conjunction with Burger King Restaurants of Canada, Harper Collins Canada, AOL Canada, Chapters, Indigo Books, Volkswagen, Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Goway Travel and Investment New Zealand.

AOL members are invited to test their knowledge of The Fellowship of the Rings by answering trivia questions online. Each day, 10 players will win prizes from the promotional partners. The five players with the top scores will attend an advanced screening of the movie in Toronto on Dec. 14, and the grand-prize winner will leave with a 2002 New Beetle GLS from Volkswagen and a selection of other prizes.

CD-ROM packages are also being given away at Burger King Restaurants, Chapters and Indigo bookstores, to allow non-AOL members to participate.

Toronto-based Dunedain Multimedia created the challenging and witty interactive Trivia Quest quiz. In addition to showcasing its proprietary Trivia Engine, the folks at Dunedain are uniquely positioned to put together a LOTR trivia game, as president/CEO Brian Keller originally found the company name within the pages of Tolkien.