- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2002

One way for a food company to build brand loyalty besides creating delicious products is to offer consumers lots of premiums and free stuff. Nabisco, the maker of such products as Oreos, Newtons, Ritz crackers and Cheese Nips, has created a Web site fitting these criteria.

Featuring a variety of contests, games and helpful advice, this stimulating cyber-stop has more than 4.1 million visitors stopping by each month to partake in the online shenanigans.


Site address: www.nabiscoworld.com


The Nabisco Biscuit Division, located in East Hanover, N.J., developed the site and unveiled it in 1999.

Creator quotable:

"We created NabiscoWorld.com to provide a fun, safe destination on the Internet by offering content that is entertaining, free and appeals to the entire family," says Laura Morris, brand manager at NabiscoWorld.com. "NabiscoWorld offers visitors a range of activities to choose from, including learning fun facts about Nabisco brands as well as enjoying the site's great interactive games and educational tools."

Word from the Webwise:

This jam-packed, in-your-face promotion machine gives families an avalanche of free time-wasters that could garner some prizes.

The visually active site presents icon-rich, colorful options for visitors to learn the history of the Nabisco snack brands or go straight to the online activities.

Forty-four games are available, organized into five sections Break the Rules, Arcade, Sports, Puzzles & Board and Multiplayer; most of them sneak in plugs to the products touted throughout the site.

For example, under Arcade, Ritz Bits Sandwiches "sponsors" a sumo-wrestling contest in which players control half of a hearty cracker smothered in marshmallow or fudge. The player earns points by creating the perfect s'more. This bizarre diversion has the partially complete snacks dressed in traditional sumo garb jumping out of the box, stalking each other across a plate and attacking as the player pulls back his mouse and pushes it forward to initiate a lunge.

In the Oreo Adventure Game, the player takes control of an Indiana Jones-type character as he attempts to avoid jungle creatures and uncover the Temple of the Golden Oreo. This addictive side-scrolling game looks as good as some of the Game Boy Color titles on the market.

Thankfully, not all games pound visitors over the head with brand messages; some, including Video Safari Savannah, actually provide a bit of an educational experience.

The visitor uses a virtual camcorder to capture the exploits of an elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, zebra and lion roaming across a range. Holding down the mouse activates the camera and keeps it recording. Catching the animal doing something interesting, such as a giraffe lowering its neck, adds bonus points. As animals are recorded, the footage can be played back along with an informative blurb on each creature and the sound it makes.

Other neat site features include board games such as chess, checkers or hearts that can be played with other opponents online, sweepstakes with prizes such as a platinum album autographed by Britney Spears, and a way to compare the scores of other players.

Ease of use:

Visitors will need version 4.0 or higher of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator to view the site. Macromedia's Shockwave plug-in is needed for the challenges. QuickTime or Real Player are necessary to view the online commercials.

Players using slower modems need not worry; the site offers the ability to upload 13 of the games PC users need a 233 MHz or faster machine with at least Windows 95 installed; Macintosh owners need operating system 8.0 or higher.

Don't miss:

The recently added Reading Circle gives parents a chance to interact with their children by helping them enjoy three classic tales, "Three Little Pigs," "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "Jack and the Beanstalk." Through an interactive book presentation, each story comes to life with colorful visual and audio elements activated when the mouse pointer passes over an element or a highlighted word in the body of the text.

As an added bonus to parents, the Honey Maid area contains a reference guide that provides information from child-development specialists on preparing children 2 to 5 years of age for the rigors of school.

Family activity:

Scattered throughout the product-promotion areas are recipes the entire clan can help prepare. The offerings range from a banana pudding treat using Nilla wafers to a SnackWells double chocolate mousse dessert.

Cyber-sitter synopsis:

If mom and dad do not mind seeing junior being bombarded with advertising messages, spending hours on the computer to learn a few tidbits and developing an unusual craving for animal crackers or Nacho Stix dipped in gooey cheese, NabiscoWorld is a great place to hang out.

Overall grade: B

Remember: The information on the Internet is constantly changing. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it's accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your own physician. Have a cool site for the family? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected]).

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