Yogurt contest seeks to net young sports fans

The issue of obesity may be weighing heavily on the minds of North American consumers due to an obsession by special interest and advocacy groups lately and, as a result, parents are likely hunting for healthier snack alternatives for their children.
That's good news to Parmalat Canada, which unveiled Astro Yo-Burst this past summer, a low-fat yogurt aimed at kids 7-10. But the Toronto-based packaged goods marketer still has to capture the fancies of little folk, many of whom have no desire to be weaned off potato chips and pop. That's where 'The Ultimate Sports Adventure' promo comes in, says brand manager Nadine Stephens.

The issue of obesity may be weighing heavily on the minds of North American consumers due to an obsession by special interest and advocacy groups lately and, as a result, parents are likely hunting for healthier snack alternatives for their children.

That’s good news to Parmalat Canada, which unveiled Astro Yo-Burst this past summer, a low-fat yogurt aimed at kids 7-10. But the Toronto-based packaged goods marketer still has to capture the fancies of little folk, many of whom have no desire to be weaned off potato chips and pop.

That’s where ‘The Ultimate Sports Adventure’ promo comes in, says brand manager Nadine Stephens. ‘We wanted to get across the whole idea of being active, enjoying sports and offering a healthy alternative as a snack. But we wanted to do something where kids thought it was cool.’

Created by Vaughan, Ont.-based agency Millenium Designs, the promotion debuts this month and revolves around various sporty cartoon characters – with funky blue and pink hair – that have been splashed on packaging and on stickers (500,000 of which have been wrapped inside six- and 12-packs of Yo-Burst), and also pop up online and in advertising.

The stickers are collectible; each has a code on the back, driving kids to astro.ca, where they have a chance to win various prizes, such as Nerf sports products (like the soft, spongy footballs safe enough to toss around indoors).

Plus, they have a crack at the grand prize – a custom-designed road trip that would please any sports fan, no matter what age. The winner gets a trip for four to a North American destination of their choice, where they can observe their favourite team in action, plus enjoy six free nights accommodation and $2,500 in spending cash. The total value of the giveaway is approximately $15,000.

‘It’s a new product, so we’re trying to drive trial and repeat purchase,’ explains Stephens, who adds that the cartoon characters can be further developed if Parmalat decides to expand the brand at a later date. ‘When we did our research, kids thought [the cartoon figures] were cool and identified with them.’

The promotion also enables Parmalat to collect e-mail addresses for a database that will be used for future endeavours, such as a potential online kids’ club.

With a limited budget, the firm couldn’t afford traditional TV, says Stephens, so it ventured into a deal with kids’ specialty channel YTV. Viewers are educated about the offering through 10-, 30- and 45-second spots, created in-house at YTV. (The partnership also enables participants to enter the draw at YTV.com.)

In addition, Saturday morning toon fans will be able to participate in the ‘Yo-Burst This’ on-air contest running from Oct. 14 to Nov. 4. Young consumers will be asked to look for a ‘bursting fruit’ on screen during Vortex programming; once they spot it they can visit the Web site to win one of 100 Vortex Fire Strike footballs from Nerf, which light up when you throw them.

A print campaign targeting moms from Toronto shop Grip will debut in parenting magazines in mid-October. In this case, the creative will highlight the nutritional benefits of the product, says Stephens, who adds that kids’ yogurt represents 12% of the market. ‘We were missing that component, and it’s a higher margin segment, so from a profit perspective [launching Yo-Burst] made sense for us.’