General Mills hopes to hit nothing but net with its latest video game marketing activation. The cereal maker has teamed up with game publisher 2K to promote NBA 2K18 alongside its Reese’s Puffs cereal. It’s the latest marketing activation targeting gamers, following last year’s sponsorship of Yahoo Esports Live.
Mike Siemienas, brand media relations manager at General Mills, told AListDaily that the Reese’s Puffs brand looks to “fuel the fandom” of consumers by focusing on sports gaming.
“The goal is to promote Reese’s Puffs by aligning with consumer passion points of sports,” Siemienas said. “NBA 2K is the top-rated sports video game in the US, and our Reese’s Puffs consumer is passionate about sports and gaming. They’re unapologetically all-in with their fandom. From filling out brackets to spending all day watching games with their friends and family, sports are social activities that fuel their lives.”
Siemienas said the NBA is known for its intense competition and iconic personalities that bridge the intersection between sports and popular culture. The NBA also provides a lifestyle element for fans, and through the NBA 2K franchise, delivers billions of impressions to one of the largest audiences in the world. NBA 2K has been the best selling and top-rated sports game in the US, with hundreds of millions of games played each month.
“Together, the NBA, NBA 2K and Reese’s Puffs will create unique and compelling platforms to generate awareness, engagement and trial (sampling) for Reese’s Puffs,” Siemienas said.
The Reese’s Puffs locker code promotion works across the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC versions of NBA 2K18. Specially marked boxes of Reese’s Puffs cereal contain a 25-digit code printed inside that unlocks 2,500 worth of in-game currency that will give players a jumpstart in building their custom MyTEAM when the game launches on September 19 with Kyrie Irving from the Boston Celtic on the cover.
2K developer Visual Concepts introduces a new career mode called The Neighborhood, which combines the MyPark, Pro-Am and MyCareer experiences in a shared world that explores the life of an NBA athlete both on the court and off. PS4 and Xbox One users can now download a free preview of this mode called The Prelude.
Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, said in a statement that this new mode puts players at the center of a fully-immersive basketball environment to explore, socialize, and compete. The Neighborhood offers an online world for custom-made MyPlayers to live in a city block environment with locations like tattoo parlors and barber shops to visit, filled with other MyPlayers, characters and NBA players like Irving.
In-game currency plays a large role in the new game, allowing the Reese’s Puffs brand to connect with fans in a positive light. General Mills has been targeting gamers and NBA 2K fans all summer through samplings at a Reese’s Puffs branded lounge during the Dew NBA 3X Tour. The brand will also be activating at GameStop locations nationwide via sampling with the game’s launch.
“We will promote the partnership on NBA and NBA 2K digital and social channels, as well as Reese’s Puffs social channels.” Siemienas said. “Throughout our combined activations and packaging promotions we’re expecting to reach millions of consumers.”
2K and General Mills teased Reese’s Puffs locker codes through a YouTube video. The NBA 2K team will continue to promote this partnership through a number of social media posts/channels throughout the program.
— Reese's Puffs (@reesespuffs) August 31, 2017
“We know that NBA 2K gamers are eager to get their teams going for the season and Reese’s Puffs can help them jumpstart their teams through our Locker Codes,” Siemienas said. “We hope that NBA 2K gamers will become more aware of Reese’s Puffs and have a chance to try it and love it.”
The codes will be valid through January 31, 2018. They also tie into the new NBA 2K18 feature “The Road to 99,” an overarching meta-game that rewards users for improving their MyPlayer’s overall rating, regardless of which modes they choose to play. Featuring a unified badge system across Pro-Am, Park and their NBA journey in MyCareer, gamers’ attributes, animations and badges all combine to define their play style on their road to a 99 overall rating.
The Reese’s Puffs brand has also been incorporated into the game, showing up in digital advertising at the scorer’s courtside table. That type of integration will connect with additional eyeballs next year with the launch of the inaugural season of the NBA 2K ELeague.
“We’re in the early stages of our partnership with the NBA and will continue to evaluate everything it has to offer, including the NBA 2K ELeague, for Reese’s Puffs,” Siemienas said.
Past gaming marketing activations across multiple General Mills brands has helped the company further connect its brands with gamers.
“We’ve learned that gamers love our brands, which has given us the confidence to continue to pursue partnerships like the NBA 2K promotion,” Siemienas said. “We know that these activations resonate with our consumers and provide value in key moments.”