Reese's Puffs puts Kaws art at center of new packaging, AR game

2021/11/09 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • Reese's Puffs partnered with the artist Kaws on limited-edition boxes of cereal that carry a QR code unlocking an augmented reality (AR) game featuring his signature Companion character, according to a press release.

  • The first Kawspuffs boxes, available now, retail for $4 and come in the General Mills brand's usual orange hue, but with art of the Kaws Companion, a Mickey Mouse-like figure who's often depicted covering his skeletal face with both hands. A second specially designed box — Reese's Puffs' first to come in blue — will release in limited quantities for $50 starting Nov. 17 through the website.

  • Those who play Kawspuffs AR through a dedicated app also have a chance to nab the unique cereal packaging. Players holding the top-10 scores each week from Nov. 15 to Feb. 27 will win one of 150 blue Kawspuffs boxes. The two leading scores recorded between 8-11 a.m. CT on Saturday mornings during that period will secure one of 30 total boxes signed by Kaws, whose real name is Brian Donnelly.

Dive Insight:

Reese's Puffs is channeling the collectible quality of Kaws' pop art, which heavily references cultural icons like Mickey Mouse, giving it an iterable quality that's drawn comparisons to Andy Warhol. Kaws has subsequently become one of the more recognizable faces in the art world in recent years and previously collaborated with brands including Uniqlo, Nike and Dior Homme, per Hypebeast. For General Mills, the tie-up represents an opportunity to stoke fervor over limited-edition items that consumers may hold onto as assets that can appreciate over time versus a snack to scarf down at breakfast.

Collectibles both real and digital, such as nonfungible tokens, have grown popular in marketing as brands try to put their products on the leading edge of culture. Working with Kaws could give Reese's Puffs credibility with a younger crowd that's more interested in high fashion and streetwear subcultures — Donnelly got his start as a New York City graffiti artist — than mass-produced cereal.

At the same time, the brand is angling to stoke consistent engagement through an AR game offering prizes to top scorers. Kawspuffs AR has players control the Companion as it attempts to crunch cereal bits tumbling out of the sky at an increasingly fast rate. Missing three pieces results in a game over, but the experience doles out power-ups that can provide a boost when the character is flagging. While the game is technically web-based, Reese's Puffs said fans need to download the Kawspuffs app for "a more robust experience" and to compete for the cereal boxes.

Reese's Puffs has sought artist partnerships to stake out a more distinctive brand positioning in a category known for marketing to kids and moms. The marketer last spring linked with the rapper Lil Yachty on unique cereal boxes and a toy yacht featuring a waterproof speaker and "Milkcuzzi" to eat its puffs out of. In September, it teamed with singer-songwriter Tinashe to promote limited-edition cereal boxes that doubled as music-makers.

General Mills broadly has been pushing to embrace digital tactics as it evolves its marketing strategy in a world shifting more to streaming and social media. The company parted ways with global marketing chief Ivan Pollard in May and has not sought a replacement amid a larger reorganization.

(Source: MarketingDive Reese's Puffs puts Kaws art at center of new packaging, AR game | Marketing Dive)