Gaming gives ice cream brand the edge over competitors

Paddle Pop/Max may be Unilever’s youngest global brand, having only been rolled out in 2010, but it’s also one of its fastest growing by winning the hearts and loyalty of its core consumers and their parents.

Fuelling the imagination

Paddle Pop and friends

The ice cream’s growth and success in engaging its young consumers has been aided by the creation of the digital adventures of Max – also known as the Paddle Pop Lion in Asia – who offers children the chance to play interactive games online and win awards. Combined with this ability to entertain its audience is the brand’s firm commitment to producing an ice cream treat that contains 110 calories or fewer.

The decision to ‘go digital’ to market the brand was based on compelling insights about this generation of digital natives. Almost 40% of eight to 12 year olds own a mobile phone or gaming device and more than 80% spend an average of 80 minutes a day online. “Kids love to create immersive worlds. Max/Paddle Pop is an entertainment brand that fuels kids’ imagination offline and online,” says Global Brand Director Aparna Sundaresh.

A multi-player game that rivals Moshi Monsters

In a first for Unilever, the brand last year launched World of Paddle Pop, a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG). In this virtual world, players create avatars which they control to co-operate, compete and even chat with each other. World of Paddle Pop has seen high engagement, with an average play-time of over 30 minutes. This far exceeds industry benchmarks for similar games.

Branded apps close to hitting 1 million downloads

While consumers generally don’t download branded apps unless they offer a service, Paddle Pop has bucked this trend. It now has three gaming apps in its portfolio – Rise of the Lions, Dinoterra and its latest offering, Max Dash. All of these allow kids to earn rewards to use in the MMOG. In its first month Max Dash notched up 77,000 downloads and all three games have almost hit the 1 million mark.

TV game show takes Max mainstream

But it’s not just gaming on devices that is being used to increase the brand’s appeal. In Turkey, Max has his own TV show on the Disney Channel where contestants answer Max trivia and make their way through Max-themed obstacle courses. The first series reached a third of children who watch TV, with a celebrity episode hitting 6 million viewers.

Exciting times ahead

“Max the Lion is a unique asset that can be deployed locally and leveraged across markets, experiences and channels,” acknowledges Aparna. “The sheer breadth of executions across gaming, entertainment properties and activation are testament to the power of the brand. This is just the beginning of a very exciting journey ahead.”

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