Post Cereals Tests Mobile Ads Via State Parks

New apps network has also attracted Jeep and Best Western

ParksByNature Network, which has been bringing state parks onto its Pocket Ranger mobile app network for the last four years, launched a first-ever ads product this spring in time for outdoorsy, warm-weather fun. Post Cereals today is launching a display-based mobile campaign—that includes in-parks product samples—on the network for its recently introduced Grape Nuts Fit product. It's the third brand after Jeep and Best Western to test the nascent promotional platform. 

Twenty-five states have worked with ParksByNature to create customized Pocket Ranger-branded apps for their individual park systems. ParksByNature expects to cover all 50 states under contract by next year. The states sign revenue-sharing deals and hope that mobile advertising helps keep parks in tip-top shape, per Don Reuter, assistant director of the parks and recreation division for the State of North Carolina

"It allowed us to get an app for parks up much more quickly than we would have ever been able to do ourselves," Reuter told Adweek. "And having additional revenue generation of any kind is something we are interested in. At this time, the amount of revenue is a little bit unknown. But we are optimistic." 

When it comes to Grape Nuts, it will run ads at the bottom of smartphone experiences like normal mobile app display throughout spring and summer, while promos will also appear for the brand on mobile sites for the parks. What's more, 100,000-plus Grape Nuts Fit samples will be distributed at the participating parks' visitors centers. 

"Our consumers are already spending time in the outdoors," said Stephanie Bennett, brand manager for Grape Nuts. "So we are trying to reach them while they explore the parks."

ParksByNature expects to announce a major insurance brand as its newest advertiser in the coming weeks, per Richard Dubi, CEO for the New York-based company. While the current mobile app user number wasn't disclosed, his company wants to have more than a million downloads by the end of 2013. Dubi's firm also handles the in-parks, product-sampling element employed by Grape Nuts. 

"We are very flexible with how long the brand campaigns can be," he said. "And this parks market is bigger than the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA combined. There have been up to 740 million visits [annually] to the state parks alone."