While Despicable Me 2, which topped the box office for the past two weekends might be benefitting from family-movie-friendly weather across much of the country, we would be remiss if we ignored the true pull and power of the film: enter the Minions.
These golden-hued mischief-makers made a big impact on kids and tweens after the original film; with their silly speak, funny shapes and sizes and relatable role as “minions” (what kid doesn’t feel like a servant to an all powerful adult at least some of the time?).
So it’s no surprise that Despicable Me 2 earned over $250 million in promotional partnerships before the film’s release, just prior to Independence Day. Predictably, there’s a collection of cute Happy Meal Minions. Cheetos is running a “One-In-A-Minion” sweepstakes, and put Minions in a special edition of Cheetos “Mix-Ups.” Honey Nut Cheerios and Lucky Charms has gone old, school, offering a literal “prize inside” the box.
But the promotion that stands out to us comes from an unexpected source: Chiquita Banana. From our perspective, this might be the perfect partnership for kids. Here’s what we think brands can learn from Chiquita’s strategy and execution:
- Keep it simple! Minions love bananas. This simple truth, told to viewers in the movie, makes infinite sense to (and we say this with affection) LITERAL kids! They are yellow. They look kind of like bananas. Therefore they love them. So they chose this URL: www.minionslovebananas.com. When it comes to kids promotions, don’t overthink it. Keep it simple, and kids will understand.
- Play AGAINST type. Bananas don’t exactly have a rebellious rap. They’re one of kids’ first foods. They’re easy eating. They don’t require utensils. And, of course, simple sweets like bananas get squeezed out as favorite snacks as kids turn to tweens, and certainly to teens. BUT, Minions bring a bit of edge to the bunch. Bananas have always had a humorous halo, and Chiquita reminds us that bananas can be as fun as they are fulfilling. So when choosing your promotional partner, don’t just consider what “fits” – think about your partner as a pathway to the place you’d really like to be.
- Own it. When it comes to kid and tween promotions, simply being associated with the right partner can be helpful. But Chiquita shows that promotions that matter make the most of any brand/partner association. Other brands include the Minions; Chiquita makes it hard not to think about bananas when you think of these little guys. Granted, Chiquita has a unique advantage in that they only have to own “bananas” – not differentiate themselves among a formidable category competitor. But Chiquita seems to claim these characters in a way that other Despicable Me 2 promotional partners have not.
- Package it. While all of the Despicable Me 2 partners include Minion imagery on their offerings, Chiquita takes the best advantage of the little bit of real estate they have. The brand went big, placing more than a half billion Despicable Me 2 stickers on the front of these fruits. The variation gives kids a chance to literally pick their favorite, and makes a healthy option even more a-peeling for moms.
- Follow-through. Chiquita’s site offers games, kid recipes and even a chance to win a trip to Hawaii – all great ways to extend the life of this association online. But the games on the site – “Minion Memory” and a “Minion Maker” feel younger than the presumed target for this promotion (which, remember, involves a PG –rated film). The site lets you vote for your favorite Minion model, which includes a Minion wearing a hula skirt. These Hawaiian themes Minions win among voters in almost every case, yet the “Minion Maker” doesn’t give you options to create a luau-looking Minion. And finally, the kid recipes don’t connect to the Minions theme – a missed opportunity for both kids and tweens, as well as for moms. To take advantage of a strong strategy, make sure your execution matches developmental level with look and feel and game play with age group.
Have you seen a smart strategic partnership in the past year? Tell us about it!