Walmart Huddles with CG Brands for Big Game
Originally published by Path to Purchase Institute
Walmart teamed with multiple manufacturers to leverage its "Game Time" platform in a variety of ways throughout football season.
Mars Inc. activated its official sponsorship of the National Football League's Super Bowl LI to headline the retailer's effort as the big game neared. The manufacturer recruited ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Herm Edwards to star in a promotional online spot inviting consumers to submit videos of their pre-game routine, the most entertaining of which will be played during a complementary "The Almost Game-Time Show" that Edwards will host before Super Bowl LI takes place on Feb. 5.
In stores, Mars supplied an account-specific pallet display. The manufacturer also earned secondary merchandising on upfront endcaps and four-ways outfitted with supporting signage.
At the start of the season, official beer sponsor of the Super Bowl Anheuser-Busch InBev's Bud Light took center stage, running Game Time spots on Walmart's in-store Smart Network to promote the limited-edition, team-specific packaging it deployed in corresponding markets.
"Budweiser made some special cans that had the team logos and colors," Rapid Displays Account Manager Scott Abramson said. "[At Walmart], they wanted to continue with the football 'case man' display using a design that we call 'the running back' so it looks like the case man is running with the football. This year they also wanted to add a new display that looks like the fog tunnel that the players would be running out of – inflatable, with smoke in it."
The manufacturer deployed 28 team-specific versions of the case man display and 27 versions of the tunnel. The cans also were merchandised on pallet displays outfitted with corner wraps. The displays were set up prior to the first regular-season game and designed to last two to three months. St. Louis agencies Group360 and Cannonball handled creative, advertising and promotion.
Bud Light later switched to packaging promoting a national "Gold Can" sweepstakes awarding a grand-prize winner with Super Bowl tickets for life. Sister-brand Corona deployed a "Game On, Lime In" pallet.
Kellogg Co. started the season under Walmart's umbrella as well, outfitting pallet displays stocking Pringles and Cheez-It SKUs in Action Alley with a custom Game Time wrap proclaiming, "Weekends are made for football and snacks."
For its own part, Walmart also positioned Game Time headers on a plethora of pallet displays and above coolers. In addition to meat and beer, the signage spotlighted products from brands such as Hershey Co.'s Reese's and Red Bull GmbH's Red Bull. Game Time wraps also were affixed to floorstands merchandising PepsiCo's Frito-Lay SKUs. Game Time support included radio spots, a dedicated walmart.com hub, display ads running on websites such as espn.com and email blasts.
Outside of the Game Time effort, PepsiCo maintained visibility throughout the season by activating its official NFL sponsorship to deploy archways, price signs and headers. Early on, the manufacturer deployed floorstands promoting Frito-Lay's national "Unreal NFL Experiences" promotion.
Category competitor Coca-Cola Co. early in the season deployed spectaculars, endcap signage kits and pallets promoting a "Not So Fast Mom" co-marketing program with participation from ESPN. An account-specific promotional web page run by Collective Bias supported the in-store activity.
Later in the season, Coca-Cola reappeared in the aisles through a co-marketing partnership with Kellogg. The football-themed "Voice Your Choice" floorstands the latter manufacturer deployed early in the season were outfitted with "United by Football" signs depicting the beverage.
Among additional football-themed activity contributing to the seasonal atmosphere in stores:
- Reese's supplied a "Game On" pallet display and side panel affixed to four-ways merchandising confectionery from the brand.
- Procter & Gamble activated its official NFL sponsorship to run Smart Network ads for brands such as Bounty.
- In the beauty department, Coty Inc.'s CoverGirl supplied a themed "For the Win" endcap display.
- BA Sports Nutrition's BodyArmor deployed dump bins depicting Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
- Banfi Vineyards' Casillero del Diablo earned secondary merchandising space on an endcap (for category competitor Franzia, as well) with a poster presenting itself as the "official wine sponsor" above a Dallas Cowboys football helmet.
- Community Coffee Co. deployed a wobbler promoting a "Tailgate Traditions" sweepstakes awarding a trip to the game in Houston.
- Schwan Consumer Brands' Red Baron supplied themed freezer clings.
- MillerCoors' Miller Lite conducted sampling.