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P&G Hopes Consumers Bite Interactive Pringles Campaign

The Internet will play a key role in Procter & Gamble Co.'s road show to promote the Pringles potato chip brand to teens and young adults.

A new Web site features online sweepstakes and interactive games that will support the Pringlesmobile, a 53-foot trailer truck that houses a mobile dance club and a 30-foot Pringles can.

The campaign began yesterday, and integrates music with the ongoing Mr. Pringles ad campaign. There is also an offline-online contest that will use the Internet to select a couple who will be featured in a future Pringles television commercial.

“Basically what we're trying to do with Pringles is surround our target and reach out to teens and young adults,” said Shanae Gibbs, manager of external relations for North America food and beverage brands at P&G, Cincinnati. “This is somewhat of a difficult target to reach and once you reach that target you have to really make sure you're doing something relevant to them. That's exactly what Pringles is trying to do.”

The truck will visit popular outdoor locations in 20 cities nationwide through August, starting with spring break in Daytona Beach, FL. It will host the Mr. Pringles' Posse Casting Call Dance Contest and will play off the brand's ads in search of a couple to feature in an upcoming TV spot.

Also, two tours will stop at select SFX concert venues and Six Flags theme parks. Free samples of Pringles chips, including new flavors like Spicy Cajun, will be distributed at all stops.

At each stop, people between 18- and 24-years-old will be asked to register in the dance contest. A panel will select quarter-, semi- and finalists on location. Contestants will be judged on audience interaction, dancing skills and how much they reflect the brand character. Videos of the finalists — three men and three women — will be posted on pringlesmobile.com and the pringles.com sites. Consumers can vote for the winners, who get an all-expenses paid trip to the site of the ad shoot.

“It's very compelling for teens to choose the winner instead of us choosing the winner,” Gibbs said. “It's really about self-expression. Teens really like to express themselves and that's the benefit here.”

Besides increasing interaction with the brand, P&G hopes to build a database of consumers attracted by the Pringles effort once they go online to vote.

Interactive kiosks on board the Pringlesmobile will allow visitors to register for a sweepstakes to win a Volkswagen Beetle called the Spud Bug. Consumers can also register on the pringlesmobile.com site. E-mail and mailing addresses are required and will be used for future marketing.

“With these names, it gives us a database which we may use for future marketing efforts,” Gibbs said. “For instance, it could be e-mail marketing, it could be direct mail, it could be giveaways.”

Gibbs said that P&G has never undertaken an e-mail marketing push for Pringles.

Pringlesmobile.com, which will offer tour information, also boasts interactive games that require visitors to guess what different sounds are. In addition, visitors can make music combining the different sounds.

Grey Interactive, New York, is handling the Internet effort, and parent Grey Worldwide, New York, has the advertising account.

The latest truck-and-Internet effort is part of a strategy to keep Pringles active in the minds of its target.

“Basically, it's not necessarily a challenge specific to the Internet,” Gibbs said. “I think it's a challenge for Pringles just to be hip, fun, cool, relevant — all those things that you need to do to make sure that you keep that target engaged. The Internet is one of those elements that help do that.”

Available in more than 75 countries, the Pringles line includes Original Pringles, Fat Free Pringles, Right Crisps and Pringles Ridges. It is the largest-selling potato chip brand worldwide.

Pringles will soon become part of a joint venture by the $40 billion P&G and Coca-Cola Co. Both marketers will pool their juice brands, while P&G will also throw in its snack foods business as part of this deal, which awaits regulatory approval.

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