Lucky Charms mascot Lucky the Leprechaun is asking kids to help save magic by using Alexa and Google Assistant as gateways to a free interactive audio story called Lucky’s Magical Mission. Voice experience developer SpokenLayer and marketing firm Mindshare created the original story for General Mills, marking another step in how brands are experimenting with voice technology for marketing and brand awareness.
“Lucky is told by the Wise Old Wizard Tree in the Magical Forest that magic is disappearing so he’ll need to travel to each of the 8 charm lands,” the app begins. “Once he’s there, he’ll need your help and imagination to save magic”
Fans of marshmallow-filled cereal and Irish stereotypes can explore the entire extended Lucky Charms universe through the eight charm lands, each representing one of the marshmallow shapes in the cereal. The interactive aspect comes into play after the introductory chapter when the child can pick which land they want to go to first. They can choose among the remaining lands as they complete each subsequent mission before the concluding chapter begins. The ten chapters are also available in the form of podcasts on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts, although it becomes linear, without the interactive element in that case. SpokenLayer conceived and wrote the story, bringing in some of its stable of voice actors to perform the roles. A keen ear may detect a variation on Lucky’s accent, but the story moves along quickly and has several original characters.
This is actually the second Lucky Charms voice app this year. For Saint Patrick’s Day, the company debuted an interactive choose-your-own-adventure story called The Story of Lucky Charms. General Mills worked with interactive production studio Xandra and Amazon to create the story skill, limiting it to Alexa devices. Lucky’s Magical Mission is more ecumenical in its distribution and is free on every platform. The voice app is purely a branding exercise rather than an explicit prelude to commerce.
Using voice assistants for marketing purposes usually means offering samples as Coca-Cola or DKNY have done with their voice apps. Focusing just on brand promotion is slowly gaining in popularity, and the award-winning Westworld: The Maze voice app points to the quality of some of them. For products that aren’t media, there are plenty of options to try out. The Nutella Creations voice app takes a more direct approach to raise awareness of its hazelnut spread. Launching first for Alexa before expanding to Google Assistant. It combines recipes and guides for using Nutella, including dinosaur pancake recipes. Google Assistant users can also play four memory games related to Nutella designed to help people remember things about the spread, especially kids. Both the Google Assistant and Alexa voice apps were built in a partnership with voice app creation agency Skilled Creative.
Pastry brand MoonPie, meanwhile, went for a more abstract marketing attempt, offering to make the brand a roommate with the MoonPie MoonMate skill. The virtual roommate includes a full database of MoonPie recipes and factual information about the brand along with a lot of jokes, philosophical comments, and slightly off-kilter compliments. The voice app can also access Alexa’s base skills to answer straightforward questions about the weather and similar subjects. Like social media marketing before it, voice marketing is only going to become more widespread in the near future. Some day, every kid’s cereal may have its own voice-based game and story.