P&G, Kraft Brands Adopt ‘OddParents’

Feb 16, 2004  •  Post A Comment

After keeping a low profile in the brand tie-in world, Nickelodeon’s “The Fairly OddParents” is linking with longtime network partners Burger King and Kraft Foods, and with Procter & Gamble’s Pringles for a $50 million cross-promotion this month.
In what has become a signature approach, Nickelodeon simmers its kid properties on-air before linking them with packaged goods. It has worked previously with such franchises as “Rugrats,” “The Wild Thornberrys” and “Dora the Explorer.” Executives have nurtured “Fairly OddParents” since its launch in early 2001, holding back toys and most other merchandise.
The time was right for a partner-enhanced promotion, Nick executives said, because the show’s ratings are second only to those of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” the biggest TV draw among kids age 6 through 11. “Fairly OddParents” averages 2.3 million kid viewers, up 6 percent from last year. Its video game, “The Fairly OddParents: Breakin’ Da Rules,” from THQ, has become a hot seller.
“We’re basically planting the flag and saying this is a tentpole show for us,” said Laura Nowatka, VP, promotions marketing. “It feels like the right time to marshal all the forces around this show.”
“Fairly OddParents” revolves around a 10-year-old boy named Timmy whose wacky fairy godparents, Cosmo and Wanda, grant his every wish. The problem is they don’t usually get it right.
The heart of the promotion is a Presidents Day marathon of a dozen “Fairly OddParents” episodes leading up to a special half-hour in prime time, “The Fairly OddParents’ Big Superhero Wish.”
Kids will use the Web to pick which 12 episodes will air during the marathon. They also can enter a contest by calling an 800 number that will flash on the screen during the special. The winning kid gets a trip to New York, $1,000 and face time on the network.
P&G’s Pringles brand plans to air TV ads dedicated to the promotion, built around original animation of “Fairly OddParents” characters. The theme “Every Kid Wins” reflects the show’s wish-granting story line and puts codes on the packaging of Pringles’ lunchbox-ready Snack Stacks. Kids go to Nick.com and put in the code numbers to watch clips of the show, play games and accumulate points that can be used for Nick swag. They can also cast their vote for the next Pringles flavor.
Adult TV critics have often cited “Fairly OddParents,” created by veteran animator Butch Hartman, as a witty, multilayered cartoon in the vein of “Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
“The show has a unique brand character,” said Nate Lawton, Pringles assistant brand manager. “We think Pringles lines up perfectly with it.”
The Snack Stacks packaging gets a complete “Fairly OddParents” makeover, which Mr. Lawton hopes will make the products jump from their regular space in grocery stores to special displays. The timing works for the marketer because retailers usually highlight sweets in February instead of salty snacks.
“That’s definitely a win for us because it gives us a reason to be merchandised during a month when we normally wouldn’t be,” Mr. Lawton said. Pringles, one of the few P&G brands that markets directly to kids, already is an on-air advertiser with Nickelodeon.
Burger King, a network partner for about eight years, will put 10 character toys in its kids meals. The chain also plans dedicated TV media with footage from the show and in-restaurant signage.
Kraft, which has worked with Nick for about a decade, will fan out the promotion on 35 million packages through a handful of brands, including Kraft Singles and Nabisco Fruit Snacks. Also in the pipeline from Kraft Foods is a limited-time Post “Fairly OddParents” cereal, which will be at retail for about three months, and a macaroni-and-cheese line licensed with the characters. That product will become a Kraft staple. Kraft will air TV spots about the promotion and will be part of Nick’s on-air sweepstakes.