AOL to Promote Kellogg’s, Keebler

Multimedia conglomerate AOL Time Warner will promote cereals and snacks through a new marketing alliance with Kellogg USA, a unit of Kellogg Co.

Through the multi-year arrangement, AOL will market the food manufacturer’s Kellogg’s and Keebler brands, using online and television outlets. Those include its America Online flagship Internet service and its cable and broadcast networks.

Terms and specifics were not disclosed of the agreement, which involved the Battle Creek, Mich.-based company and its media agency, Bcom3’s Starcom North America.

AOL executives categorized the deal as evidence of the efficacy of its new Advertising Council, which works with the company’s various divisions to craft cross-media brand marketing deals.

“This agreement demonstrates how AOL Time Warner’s Advertising Council can work … to craft advertising solutions that meet individual partners’ unique needs by drawing on the strengths of various divisions — in this case Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros. and America Online,” said AOL co-chief operating officer Bob Pittman.

Mundane as breakfast cereals might seem, the agreement could represent a windfall for AOL. For one thing, Kellogg is among the world’s top producer of breakfast cereals and so-called “convenience foods,” such as Pop-Tarts toaster pastries.

In addition to continual sparring with larger rival General Mills for a larger share of the cereal market, it’s expected that Kellogg — which bought smaller cookie and cracker giant Keebler in March — is eager to flex its advertising muscle to promote newly-acquired products.

Secondly, bringing in brand advertisers is seen by many as a way to inject life into the struggling online advertising industry, which has suffered from the dot-com shakeout. Also, since consumer staples companies are relatively immune to the effects of the current economic climate, ad spending from firms like Kellogg is expected to be greater and more consistent than that of other national brands, many of which are cutting budgets.

The agreement expands on an earlier deal between Kellogg USA and the Cartoon Network, which is owned by AOL Time Warner. In that agreement, signed in July, AOL agreed to promote Kellogg’s Powerpuff Girls cereal and Pop-Tarts using on-air programming and the Web.

The effort isn’t the first by Kellogg to promote its brands online. In May, the company inked an agreement with Walt Disney Pictures to promote its cereals with tie-ins to the studio’s animated film, “Atlantis.” The promotion involved using codes found on Kellogg’s cereal boxes to access an online game.

In August, the company launched an effort to promote its Corn Pops cereal via a rich media campaign on the Mplayer Entertainment Network.

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