Meaty Bone’s Game to Find Nascar Dads Online

NEW YORK For more than a year, Del Monte dog snack brand Meaty Bone has courted “Nascar dads”—middle-aged, working-class men outside of urban areas who frequent car races—with on-site promotions revolving around lighthearted games.

It is now trying to translate that formula into online success on the Meaty Bone Web site with a new casual contest it bills as “the greatest game in the history of dogs. Its Wild West theme mimics popular bar game Buck Hunter by challenging players to hit moving objects with a stream of water while avoiding the cats that lurk in the midst of the action.

The game takes its cue from the real-life events that Meaty Bone sponsors at car races, mostly in the South and Midwest, like squirt-gun competitions. Del Monte will promote the game at the events.

While the game might not wow Xbox addicts, it does provide Del Monte with a way to connect with the key Nascar dad target audience online, said Kevin Dreyfuss, associate creative director at Agency.com, part of Omnicom Group.

“They like to go where their customers are,” he said. “This was the first opportunity for them to bring that same vibe online.”

Agency.com ecd Mat Zucker said brands are beginning to pay more attention to the nexus of their offline promotional activities and those online. Del Monte, for instance, engaged Agency.com to develop an online extension of its Million Cat Rescue for the 9Lives brand. While both projects involved translating an offline project into the digital realm, the opposite direction is possible.

“They’re genuinely curious about how to use the Web to deliver their brand promises,” he said.

An added benefit of casual gaming: It provides a ready-made customer-relationship management opportunity. At the end of each game, users are given the option of registering to submit their story to the scoreboard. Along the way, Meaty Bone gives them the option of receiving promotional offers.