*Pillsbury Inks Deal With Disney's Family.com

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British food giant Diageo plc's Pillsbury Co. said yesterday it will ramp up its online presence through a cross-channel advertising and content deal on Walt Disney Internet Group's Family.com, one of the leading parenting sites on the Web.


The deal comes on the heels of a Dec. 8 shareholder approval by cereal maker General Mills Inc. to buy Pillsbury from Diageo for $5.35 billion in stock and $5.14 billion in debt.


Courtesy of its agreement with Disney, Pillsbury will become the exclusive advertiser on the homepage of Family.com's recipe department. These pages will also link to Pillsbury's mealtimeideas.com, the food maker's branded Web pages and other company sites.


"We expect them to be a magnet for the right kind of traffic, to drive them to their recipe page, and to feature our content very prominently," said Mary Ellen Griffin, director of relationship marketing at Pillsbury, Minneapolis, MN.


Visitors to the Cake Finder section at www.family.com can find Pillsbury cake designs such as a Football Cake, the Campfire Cake and the Brownie Tree.


"This is the first time we've incorporated an advertiser's information into one of our existing tools on the site," said Beth Collins, vice president and general manager at Family.com, New York.


Add to that a message board, recipes, question-and-answer sessions from a test kitchen, cooking tips and a biweekly consumer online newsletter from Pillsbury on Family.com.


"Our expectations are that we'll be getting our name and our brands in front of the right consumers, who will then migrate to our own Web site [at www.pillsbury.com] and, of course, will seek out our products at retail," Pillsbury's Griffin said.


In exchange, the Family.com Web address will get mention on Pillsbury breakfast product packaging and in freestanding Sunday newspaper inserts among other cooperative co-promotional efforts by the food marketer.


Pillsbury brands carrying the Family.com address include Pillsbury Toaster Bagel Shoppe Bagels, Toaster Strudel Pastries, Toaster Scrambles Pastries, and Pillsbury Hungry Jack Waffles and Microwave Pancakes.


The 131-year-old Pillsbury is the owner of such famous icons as the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Jolly Green Giant. Revenue last year was nearly $6 billion from sales of baked goods, snacks, vegetables, soup and dessert and baking mixes.


A contiguous audience - moms with kids up to 12 and even older - led to the cementing of ties between Disney and Family.com, a site that last month attracted 1.7 million unique visitors.


"Pillsbury was really looking for an online partner that they could have a deep relationship with … they really felt very comfortable with the fact that Family.com is part of the Walt Disney Internet Group, so they knew we were going to be around," Family.com's Collins said.
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