The Golden Valley-based food company is serious – so serious, in fact, that it has put up a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles soliciting the film industry’s help. The company created its own vanity URL, workwiththemonsters.com, where it asks filmmakers, actors and actresses, agents, writers, producers and animators to submit their ideas, or, perhaps more importantly, industry connections.
The company's monster cereals, like Franken Berry, Boo Berry and Count Chocula, are produced and sold every fall to coincide with Halloween season.
General Mills envisions the start of a new cinematic universe, like the Marvel or X-Men film series, for its cereal monsters. Whether this film becomes reality is yet to be seen, but the buzz created by the bizarre billboard certainly hasn’t hurt its chances.
L.A.-based comedian Joe Kwaczala recently tweeted a picture of the billboard, which features Frankenberry lying in a seductive pose. The only words on the billboard, besides the monster’s name, is the project’s web address.
Last month, General Mills brought the monsters (think Disney World characters in costume) to L.A. to announce their desire for a Big Screen debut. Company spokesman Mike Siemienas said, “We believe there’s more uses and more times the monsters can appear in public outside of their limited-edition halloween box.”
The idea originated with Bill Roden, General Mills’ new creative director, and his team. When asked about the initial response, Roden said, “We can’t say who and what yet, but we’re in discussions with the biggest names in Hollywood. We are humbled by the response.”
Big G cereals could use some Hollywood hype. General Mills reported U.S. cereal sales grew last quarter by about 1 percent, but the latest Nielsen data suggests the current quarter may not be going so well. Sales trends have declined over the past three months as prices moved higher, noted Robert Moskow, a food industry analyst at Credit Suisse, in a research note on General Mills released Monday.
This wouldn’t be General Mills first experience with Hollywood. Like many consumer packaged goods companies, General Mills took advantage of the rise in television in the mid-21st century by underwriting cartoons. The food maker sponsored the creation of several children’s animated television shows in the late 1950s and 1960s, including “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle,” “Underdog” and “Young Samson and Goliath.”