Kraft, P&G join Degrassi kids promo

Marketing, September 23 2002, vol 107 no 38, p 1.

By: Sarah Dobson

The Web site for Degrassi: The Next Generation has relaunched with
a new look and new features for users who log in as actual students of
Degrassi Community School.

The popular Canadian TV series is increasing its interactivity and is
cross-branding with marketers to lure greater numbers of young people.

This year, kids can participate in online homeroom intramurals and games,
receive an improved Grapevine newsletter, chat with others in student clubs
and receive show updates through their cellphones via online, synchronized
storytelling.

“We have an extraordinarily interactive Web site, and we’ re up to 75,000
registered users in Canada, with another 10,000 signed on from Australia
because the show just started broadcasting there,” says Stephen Stohn,
executive vice-president at Epitome Pictures in Toronto, which produces the
show. “We’re not aware of any other show in Canada, even the world, with that
kind of Web presence.”

Degrassi: The Next Generation starts Sept. 29 and is being promoted through a
partnership with Kraft Canada that will see the photos of Degrassi characters
and a contest offer on 8.3 million boxes of Kraft Dinner and Easy Mac. Procter
& Gamble will use its Pantene and Tampax Always products to promote the show.

The new Degrassi show launched last year, banking on the popularity of the
first series –broadcast in the ’80s–to attract a new generation of teens.

The program enjoys an average viewership of 600,000, appealing largely to 18-
to 34-year-olds, says Stohn, while the site is targeted to 13- to
17-year-olds, with about 80% of them female.

This season, the site is offering 15 games and activities which will roll out
with each episode. Virtual students earn points by participating, and at the
end of the show’s school year, play in a larger game. “We’re hoping by the end
of the year, we’ll have an overall sponsor for the intramural games,” says
Stohn.

Kids can also have their own “locker page” with customizable Web space
featuring an online journal and photo gallery. They can also communicate with
others through “Dmail” and participate in discussion forums.

Degrassi is also offering show merchandise, with some apparel and items
exclusive to the Web.

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