General Mills' Lucky Charms Harnesses ‘Magic’ and Consumer Engagement With AR

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
Liz Dominguez profile picture
Lucky Charms AR game

Lucky Charms, owned by General Mills, is coming to life through magic…or rather, augmented reality (AR).

The cereal brand has launched its first AR game, “Journey to the Magic Gems,” which  transforms real-life parks into Lucky the Leprechaun’s world.

The free, mobile, web-based AR game was launched in partnership with Niantic, which created Pokémon GO.

To play, customers can visit or scan a QR code on any Lucky Charms Magic Gems cereal box — a limited-edition version of the cereal that is making its return after selling out earlier this summer. They then make their way to a local park to participate.

Players are prompted to find the first Magic Gem — which provides “the power of rainbow vision to see in the dark and navigate through the darkest of places. Once found, rainbow vision is turned on and the player’s phone screen transitions to dark mode. Players will then have the chance to collect all the charms that are hidden in plain sight.

Digital rendering of park glow-up for Lucky Charms Sweepstakes. Credit: General Mills
Digital rendering of park glow-up for Lucky Charms' sweepstakes. Credit: General Mills

“This new experience invites families to get outside and explore Lucky's world by unlocking the power of his charms to find the newly coveted magic gem,” said Mindy Murray, senior marketing communications manager at General Mills.

The game is tied to a sweepstakes. Participants who opt in prior to joining the game can win the chance to nominate a local park for an LED glow-up so visitors can enjoy more time at the park together.

This isn’t the first time a brand is embracing AR in order to cement a loyal fan base and encourage interaction. Chip brand Doritos, owned by Frito-Lay’s division of PepsiCo, recently allowed consumers to transform their surroundings into Doritos as part of ongoing social media efforts on TikTok and Snapchat. The company also jumped into gaming with its Fortnite launch.

Many brands are also looking to disrupt the traditional store experience, marrying digital and in-person shopping by introducing AR and digital opportunities to engage through social media. For example, Nike recently launched a pop-up store that provided a content studio as well as in-store augmented reality features.

Other brands have zoned in on opportunities to leverage AR to showcase real-world results related to product offerings. Recently, Colgate-Palmoive partnered with Perfect Corp. for a tooth-whitening algorithm and AR experience through which consumers use their smartphones to visualize what their smile would look like after using the Colgate-brand Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen for two weeks.

General Mills Looking to Get Closer to the Consumer

It’s no surprise the cereal brand is launching initiatives that encourage brand interaction. Parent company General Mills' has leveraged augmented reality for its Cheerios brand in the past, allowing customers to create their own virtual forest or wildflower garden. It is also investing in ways to get even closer to its consumers, even recently launching its first consumer loyalty program. 

The brand is looking to build up its first-party data library, and also bolster its analytics strategy to create a more robust experience for consumers that creates ongoing learnings that drive further innovation.

“The pandemic has reinforced our belief that our scale in food can create distinct competitive advantages for General Mills,” said Dana McNabb, chief strategy and growth officer, at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference earlier this year. “We think going big in digital and technology … will create value by unlocking insights, growth, and efficiency across every aspect of our business.”

Looking to learn more about digital transformations and innovative marketing techniques? Register for this year’s Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit, being held on October 26 through 28 in New York City. Register today!

More Augmented Reality News