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Frozen-yogurt chain Menchie’s kicked off its biggest summer promotion in its history this month by thinking small, as in the little blue cartoon characters starring in Sony Pictures’ “The Smurfs 2.” Through July 31, the 300-unit chain will transform itself into “Smenchie’s,” with a promotional “Smurfberry Blast” flavor of frozen yogurt, a red and blue collectable cup resembling the Smurfs’ cartoon mushroom, and movie tie-ins with its radio commercials.

Menchie's and The Smurfs 2

The “Smenchie’s” campaign is Menchie’s first marketing initiative involving any entertainment property, chief executive Amit Kleinberger said, and the choice of tying in with the family-friendly “Smurfs 2” movie reflected the characters’ positive associations with all three of Menchie’s audience groups.

“We’re a three-life-cycle brand — children, adults and seniors — and the Smurfs are compatible with all of them,” Kleinberger said. “They stand for similar values that we do. They’re funny and a little clumsy, with different personalities, and at the end of the day they make the world a better place. There’s no better fit for a family-oriented brand like ours.”

Encino, Calif.-based Menchie’s started developing the campaign with Sony last July, Kleinberger said, and the long lead time allowed Menchie’s to create the Smurfberry flavor, which turns customers’ tongues blue when they eat it. He envisions the Smurf-mushroom cups becoming a hit with Menchie’s very young customers and staying in their homes long after the promotion is over.

Of more immediate benefit to the brand would be new radio commercials starring famous voices from the “Smurfs 2” movie, including George Lopez and Katy Perry, he added.

“It’s a big, big project, but we’re already working on several new entertainment properties,” Kleinberger said. “We absolutely can’t wait to launch them.”

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN