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    Lucky Charms joins mobile gaming craze with AR gem hunt

    • Lucky Charms is celebrating the return of its limited-edition Magic Gems cereal with the launch of a free augmented reality (AR) game, per a press release.
    • “Journey to the Magic Gems” is a mobile web-based offering that sends players on a quest to locate magic gems that help them collect charms hidden from plain sight. It was created in partnership with “Pokemon Go” developer Niantic.  
    • The game features a purpose-driven element with a sweepstakes that makes entrants eligible to receive a free LED lights glow-up at their local park. Lucky Charms joins a growing list of brands exploring mobile gaming as a means to engage young consumers who are hard to reach through traditional media.

    General Mills’ Lucky Charms is the latest brand to experiment in a mobile gaming space that was popular prior to the pandemic but saw adoption skyrocket during the earlier lockdown period. The effort seeks to stoke renewed interest in a Magic Gems cereal that quickly sold out on shelves earlier this year. 

    “Journey to the Magic Gems” takes on similar traits as Niantic’s “Pokemon Go,” encouraging users to play the game outside in search of virtual prizes. It was built using the developer’s 8th Wall platform.

    At the beginning of the game, players are introduced to an AR version of their surroundings and prompted to find the first Magic Gem. Once it has been uncovered, the “power of rainbow vision” is unlocked, and the phone screen goes dark. Players then rely on Magic Gems to find charms that are hidden throughout the world. 

    The game offers real-world rewards for those who opt into a sweepstakes component of the push. The winner will receive a Lucky Charms-inspired park glow-up that decks the area out with LED lights. To access the game, users can scan a QR code on the side of the Magic Gems cereal box or visit the game’s website.

    Lucky Charms is just the latest kid-friendly brand to venture into mobile gaming, whether through standalone titles or in-app integrations. In August, Frito-Lay partnered with Snapchat to create a filter that turned real-world triangles into Doritos chips. The campaign included a “Fortnite” tie-in as well. In Instacart’s largest campaign to date, it deployed a Snapchat minigame that required users to catch falling groceries in a virtual cart. 

    As the popularity of gaming apps increases among kids, brands need to ensure their data-collection practices adhere to industry guidelines. Last month, the maker of a SpongeBob SquarePants game received a rebuke from the Children’s Advertising Review Unit because its ad-based game did not account for the game’s “mixed-age” audience appeal.

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