A Cereal Experience

Mall of America will soon be home to a new family attraction based upon cereal. General Mill's "Cereal Adventure" will open in June of 2001 and offer a variety of activities in celebration of the long-time breakfast standard, which is growing in popularity at other mealtimes, as well.

In development for several years, the 16,000-square-foot attraction will feature cereal-theme games, shows and playground equipment. These will be situated in entertainment areas familiar to consumers--Cheerios Play Park, Lucky Charms' Magical Forest, Trix Fruity Carnival and Cocoa Puffs Chocolate Canyon. In addition, the Wheaties Hall of Champions will serve as a tribute to sports entertainment and history.

The Total Nutrition health site and General Mills Farm Factory promise to educate visitors in the production of cereal and will offer visitors a chance to create their own cereal combinations.

The Cereal Adventure Café will offer breakfast and snack foods, while an on-site equity store will offer General Mills' branded merchandise.

A Real Classic

The Library of Congress has garnered a prestigious lot--some 50 years of Coca-Cola advertising. The soft drink giant's donation to the library and its website ( www.loc.gov) joins earlier contributions of ads featuring Bumble Bee tuna, Gillette, Schick and Westinghouse.

Worth an estimated $15 million, the gift encompasses some 20,000 advertisements from Coca-Cola campaigns around the world. Coke plans to digitize the entire collection over the next couple of years.

In other Coke advertising news, the company has placed the Interpublic Group in charge of the "brand essence" of Coke Classic. Beginning in early 2001, Interpublic will use an advisory council to develop a variety of strategic and creative marketing communication concepts. The agreement spans a range of disciplines, noted John J. Dooner, Jr., president and COO at Interpublic, "everything from in-store marketing to digital marketing."

Commercials Hit the Web

FutureEngine Inc. has launched Engines, a new line of web-enabled commercials to deliver product and corporate messages.

The 15- to 30-second spots use a combination of Macromedia Flash technology, corporate logos, original graphics and music, and voice. Using Engines, a company can position its products or deliver advertisements, mission statements or demonstrations.

The Engines can be designed as stand-alone spots, embedded e-mail messages or as an enhancement to existing websites. The last frame can link the customer to any URL on the web.

FutureEngine assures the product is a low-bandwidth marketing solution, using files significantly smaller than equivalent AVI and MPEG formats. The Engine delivery system requires a link on the advertiser's existing web page.

FutureEngine has examples of the product on its website (www.FutureEngine.com).

Bread & Water . . . and Soy?

In a move that some say contributes to the country-club aspect of prisons, while others may say it defines cruel and unusual punishment, the federal prison system now offers vegetarian meals.

The new menus follow a lawsuit from an inmate in the Lewisburg, Pa., penitentiary who wanted a vegan diet--with no animal products, including milk or cheese. A federal judge ordered the prison to provide the prisoner with soymilk but did not go as far as requiring the prison to supply the vegan diet.

Denying the menus are a response to the lawsuit, Tracy Billingsley, spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons, says, "The intent of the meatless alternative is to meet the changing dietary habits and religious dietary needs of a diverse inmate population."

Prison entrees may now include barbecued tofu, fried eggplant, soy burgers, peanut butter and cottage cheese. Billingsley said the new menus shouldn't result in any additional cost to taxpayers.