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    Kroger, Food Marketers to Seek Gold at 50th Daytona 500

    NEW YORK -- Although the golden anniversary of NASCAR's "Great American Race" is seven months away (Feb. 17, 2008), nearly 50 products, branded with a special 50th race logo, will appear exclusively on shelves beginning next week at supermarkets owned by Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.

    NEW YORK -- Although the golden anniversary of NASCAR's "Great American Race" is seven months away (Feb. 17, 2008), nearly 50 products, branded with a special 50th race logo, will appear exclusively on shelves beginning next week at supermarkets owned by Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.

    Kellogg, Unilever, ConAgra, General Mills, Nabisco, and PepsiCo are among the consumer product goods companies that will ultimately activate upward of $100 million in marketing for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, reported Brandweek, a sister publication of Progressive Grocer.

    Both Kroger and NASCAR said this is the largest single activation in their respective histories. Products will have exclusivity in each category and will encompass the entire store. That includes snacks (such as Ritz and Chips Ahoy! from Nabisco; PepsiCo's Lays, Tostitos and Ruffles), condiments (Hunt's Ketchup, Gulden's Mustard from ConAgra; Bruce Foods' Louisiana Hot Sauce), center-plate items (ConAgra's Chef Boyardee) and CPG (Cottonelle bath tissue from Kimberly-Clark; Kingsford charcoal; Hefty from Pactiv; Georgia-Pacific's Sparkle Paper Towels).

    When Kellogg nabbed exclusivity in the cereal category (Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran, Frosted Flakes), rival General Mills gained rights elsewhere via such products as Hamburger Helper, Totino's Pizza, Yoplait and Pillsbury Refrigerated Dough. Kroger also will have its private label brands in the mix.

    "I know how big this is -- it surpasses the Wow! factor," said Evan Anthony, v.p. of marketing and advertising at Kroger. "This has been about two years in the planning. The challenge wasn't in coordinating so many companies and brands but making sure we did something that would have value to the consumer and strong ROI for everyone involved."

    Retail Sports Marketing, Charlotte, N.C., coordinated efforts among Kroger, marketers, NASCAR, and International Speedway Corp., which operates the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (home of the Daytona 500). Support at Kroger stores will begin with POP and circulars, then ramp up as the race approaches to include ads on Kroger's in-store TV and radio network, a dedicated Web site anchored each month by a different participating marketer, NASCAR-Daytona 500 displays (including apparel) and personal appearances by drivers.

    The supermarket's NASCAR alliance also includes title sponsorship of the Kroger 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park, Indianapolis.

    More than 350,000 attended the 2007 Daytona 500, which is the official start of the NASCAR Nextel Chase for the Cup.
    -- Barry Janoff, Brandweek. For more, visit www.brandweek.com.

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