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Football season is off and running, and in the countdown to its culminating event, the Super Bowl -- scheduled to take place Feb. 7, 2010, in Miami’s Land Shark Stadium -- a spate of football-related promotions has charged into the grocery aisle. The Beef Checkoff has teamed up once more with center store stalwarts Kraft A.1 and Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser on an August/September tailgating promotion including money-saving in-store tearpad coupons featuring steak and burger recipes, and a September Sutter Home promotion offering $1 off beef when shoppers buy the wine.
Still on tap for the program is a winter roast promotion in collaboration with New York Texas Toast, Idaho Potatoes, Mrs. Dash and Sutter Home. Starting Nov. 8, 445 million FSIs will be distributed nationally with two coupons for $1 off beef with the purchase of Texas Toast or a Mrs. Dash seasoning product, while bottleneck hangers on Sutter Home wines will include a beef roast and baked potato recipe along with a $1-off-beef incentive with the purchase of Texas Toast.
For many consumers, it’s not a proper celebration -- of the Super Bowl or anything else -- without plenty of salty snacks on hand. Realizing this fact, Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, has responded accordingly.
“We teamed up with the NFL to launch the ‘Calling All Families’ program to give pro football fans across the country the chance to prove they are the NFL’s ‘Most fanatical family’ and win a trip to Super Bowl XLIV in south Florida,” notes Frito-Lay spokeswoman Katherine Richey. “Frito-Lay and the NFL supported the Calling All Families program with point-of-sale displays at more than 20,000 grocery, mass-merchandise, dollar and other retail channels now … that celebrated families’ at-home game watching environments and featured the Tostitos, Doritos and Lay’s brands. Frito-Lay and the NFL also supported the program with radio and print advertising.”
Changes in Frito-Lay’s marketing approach were based on its careful study of current trends, explains Ritchey. “With the current economic conditions, consumers are doing more simple, at-home entertaining, and our Calling All Families program recognized that trend,” she says “The program focused on the primary supermarket shopper -- moms. Moms are looking for simple, affordable ways to bring their families together, and that’s exactly what watching NFL games and enjoying Frito-Lay chips and dips offer.
“We’re also more focused than ever on extending the program beyond in-store elements,” adds Ritchey. “The Calling All Families program featured 360-degree marketing support, including print, radio and online elements. With more consumers planning their shopping trips ahead of time, these vehicles will help ensure we reach them before they arrive at the store.”
Further, according to Ritchey, Frito-Lay decided to expand the promotion through the beginning of October. “We decided to focus beyond Labor Day, because we know consumers are looking for simple, at-home entertaining ideas as the NFL season kicks off,” she observes.
In a currently ongoing promotion, Frito-Lay’s Doritos brand will once more air three consumer-created 30-second Doritos ads during the upcoming Super Bowl broadcast -- with the added inducement of a $5 million bonus divided among the winners if the home-grown ads take the top three spots of the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter. During last year’s Super Bowl broadcast, a homemade Doritos commercial, “Free Doritos,” created by Joe and Dave Herbert of Batesville, Ind., for under $2,000, snagged the No. 1 spot on the Ad Meter, marking the first time an amateur ad made the ranking.
To publicize the launch of the contest, New York’s Madison Avenue -- the symbolic heart of the ad industry -- was renamed Doritos Drive for Sept. 10, 2009. Free Doritos tortilla chips were given away throughout the day on the famed thoroughfare, and the brand additionally sent coupons for free Doritos chips to people across the United States who live on a “Madison Avenue.”
This year, participants can upload 30-second commercials to www.crashthesuperbowl.com from Sept. 21, 2009, to Nov. 9, 2009. Six finalists’ ads will be revealed in January 2010, and then fans will vote for their favorite ads online and decide the three winning Doritos spots to air during the Super Bowl broadcast on CBS. Each of the finalists will win $25,000 and a trip to Miami to watch the big game from a private luxury suite, where they’ll tune in to find out for the first time which ads won.
Meal categories are also tackling major sports events. As a way to draw attention to a major overhaul of its Chunky soup line’s products and labeling, the Campbell Soup Co., based in Camden, N.J., has joined forces with publication Men’s Health, which last month debuted a microsite, www.ChunkySoupGamePlan.com, featuring interactive tips, tools and videos to help men improve their quality of life by such simple changes as making good food choices and staying active. Visitors also can enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to the upcoming Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, Dinuba, Calif.-based Ruiz Foods, Inc. has seen sales of its frozen Mexican items, which include El Monterey Flour and Corn Taquitos, Family Pack Burritos, Two Pack Burritos and Family Entrees, heat up as a result of nationally dropped FSI programs around such key events as the Super Bowl. “While FSI coupons have always been popular, they have become even more so in today’s economic climate,” says the third-generation company’s president and CEO, Bryce Ruiz. “Value has always been a consideration, but is, from what we have seen, is no longer a trend, but a constant consideration when walking up and down the grocery aisle. Our FSI programs satisfy the consumer’s desire for value, and they continue to create excitement as they build awareness of our signature El Monterey brand.”
But it’s not just edible products that are seizing on the football-related selling opportunity. Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble and the National Football League recently forged a multi-year marketing and sponsorship alliance that kicked off with the 2009 NFL season. Under the alliance, over a dozen P&G brands are leveraging NFL assets and collective team marks within the conglomerate’s Household Needs and Fabric Care sponsorship categories, among others, through fully integrated marketing initiatives and retail-specific executions. As part the sponsorship, several P&G brands, including Febreze, will sport the NFL’s “Official Locker Room Products of the NFL” designation as well as exclusivity in their respective product categories under the NFL shield.
Additionally, such P&G brands as Bounty, Cascade, Charmin, Dawn, Gain and Tide will be able activate NFL marks within key retail accounts. These brands may use the NFL logo in national and local in-store merchandising campaigns and retail circulars.
“Our sponsorship with the NFL underscores the toughness and dependability of our products. The NFL is the ultimate battleground, and P&G products deliver, not just in NFL locker rooms, but in homes all across the United States,” notes Jason Dial, director of global sports marketing at P&G. “This alliance will also benefit our retail customers, by engaging an extremely loyal and fervent fan base with compelling programs that will drive our collective businesses.”
As well as exclusive retail marketing rights, P&G will also maintain the right to promote its brands via NFL.com, NFL Network, and at the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.
Of course, many food retailers are running their own football-related promotions, including Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc., which recently kicked off a “Breakfast Blitz” limited-edition breakfast cereal to celebrate the Green Bay Packers’ 90th anniversary. Three specially designed cereal boxes containing Roundy’s Honey Nut Toasted Oats will be available by late October. The cereals retail for $2.99 per box while supplies last.