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Reese’s Puffs Turns Cereal Boxes into AR Synthesizers

Dive Brief:

  • Reese’s Puffs has released three limited-edition cereal boxes that can be used to make music, per details shared with Marketing Dive. The PR-FX series includes the Crunchy Drum Machine, the Creamy Lead Synth and the Chocolatey Bass Synth boxes.
  • Consumers can put Puffs cereal on the back of the boxes and use the web-based augmented reality (AR) app at to make music; using multiple boxes allows for more layered tracks. The songs can be shared via customizable brand-inspired music videos.
  • In addition, the General Mills brand will release the RP-PRO, an actual synthesizer that is designed to look like a candy- and Puffs-covered cereal box. The RP-PRO will be sent to top musicians and a handful of fans. The effort, a collaboration with creative agency Anomaly, follows previous music-related tie-ups with rappers Travis Scott and Lil Yachty.

Dive Insight:

Reese’s Puffs’ musical instrumental push takes an age-old tactic — the limited-edition, activity-loaded cereal box — and updates it for younger audiences that are mobile-first and attuned to the type of beat-making prevalent in hip-hop and electronic music. For the effort, the brand is leveraging what it claims is a first-of-its-kind AR technology that detects the placement of cereal pieces to create music.

“As a kid I was obsessed with reading the back of cereal boxes. Word search? Searched. Maze? Solved. Over and over,” Josh Fell, Anomaly LA partner and CCO, said in a statement.

“We realized our box can be more than that. It can be a … canvas for creativity. Not joke creativity. Legit musical expression.”

The boxes could drive repeat purchases as consumers look to collect all three “instruments” as they make music with AR that can be shared via customizable music videos. The web-based AR technology allows Reese’s to span physical and digital spaces without requiring consumers to download an additional app, which has limited the reach of some AR efforts in the past. The use of limited-edition boxes and AR can help the brand engage consumers without the need of marketing channels like experiential and out-of-home that could be negatively impacted by the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant if consumers start staying home more.

In addition to the AR-powered boxes, Reese’s Puffs is releasing an actual synthesizer that will be available to professional musicians, per details from the brand. This influencer partnership could extend the reach of the campaign and strengthen the brand’s connection to music, specifically hip-hop. In 2019, the brand teamed with Travis Scott on a cereal box collaboration that sold out in 30 seconds; it followed that up with a partnership with Lil Yachty that sold out a collection of remote-controlled boats in April.

Other CPG brands have turned their boxes into gadgets that play and create music. Oreo this month launched a campaign in the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway that uses AI to turn its packaging into a tool for creating and sharing mixtapes, per Adweek. Previously, the cookie brand turned its packs into turntables and DJ mixers.


This article was written by Chris Kelly from Marketing Dive and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].


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