Melissa Siciliano, Weber Shandwick: 312/988-2069, firstname.lastname@example.org
Basil Maglaris, Kraft: 847/646-4538, email@example.com
Gail Dent, NCAA: 317/917-6117, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Sabatelle, CBS Sports: 212/975-4120, email@example.com
Major Snack Brands Named Official “Cracker,” “Nut” and “Cookie” of all 88 NCAA Championships
EAST HANOVER, N.J. (March 11, 2010) – Kraft Foods’ U.S. Snacks business announced today it has teamed with the NCAA and CBS Sports to become an Official NCAA Corporate Partner for several of its flagship snack brands including Planters, Ritz, Oreo and Wheat Thins. The partnership includes promotional and marketing rights for the NCAA and all 88 of its men’s and women’s championships.
As part of the agreement, the brands will be featured as the NCAA’s “official” Cookie, Nut and Cracker partners through in-store promotions and with a major advertising buy on CBS Sports starting in March with the Network’s exclusive coverage of the “Road to the Final Four®.”
“This partnership is a slam dunk for Kraft Foods,” said Stephen Chriss, Senior Director, Marketing Alliances at Kraft Foods. “It gives us an opportunity to connect our delicious snack brands with key audiences in a big way.”
Throughout the partnership, NCAA and CBS Sports fans can expect to see Kraft Foods snack brands sharing a large presence before, during and after NCAA championships events. Planned marketing initiatives include new product sampling, contests, promotions, and college-themed displays in retail stores.
“Having Kraft Foods on board as part of the NCAA team is a win for everyone involved,” said Peter Davis, NCAA Director of Corporate Alliances. “Associating with well-known brands like Planters, Oreo, Ritz and Wheat Thins helps increase awareness and build excitement for all of our NCAA sports and the fans who support our student-athletes and championships.”
“We are thrilled to have Kraft Foods join the NCAA Corporate marketing family at CBS Sports,” said Chris Simko, Senior Vice President CBS Sports Sales and Marketing & Director CBS Sports Properties Group. “This is exactly the kind of integrated promotional partnership that has become synonymous with CBS Sports’ NCAA corporate marketing program.”
The initial sampling effort during March Madness will feature Wheat Thins snacks and two of the company’s newest snack products: Ritz Munchables pretzel crisps and Planters Flavor Grove almonds and cashews. In addition, people can follow Mr. Peanut’s Road to the 2010 NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis by becoming fans of Mr. Peanut on Facebook. Beginning March 12, Mr. Peanut fans on Facebook can enter for a chance to win tickets to the 2011 NCAA Final Four. Visit www.facebook.com/mrpeanut for more information.
Big Brands, Big Stages
In the last five years, Kraft Foods has embarked on several strategic, high profile sports marketing initiatives including NASCAR and the U.S. Open to raise the profile of its flagship snacks brands. In fact, the company announced in January 2010 that Oreo and Ritz are the official cookie and cracker of NASCAR, in addition to its sponsorship of Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman.
“Showcasing our big brands on big stages takes our marketing and merchandising to new heights, providing perfect venues to elevate our equities, reach new audiences and promote new products in unique ways,” says Chriss.
Oreo has worked with A-list athletes Eli Manning and Peyton Manning and Venus and Serena Williams for its Oreo Double Stuf Racing League campaign, and enlisted sports analyst and former football star Tiki Barber for its recent Ritz “Tailgate” advertisement.
About Kraft Foods
The combination of Kraft Foods and Cadbury creates a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals. With annual revenues of approximately $50 billion, the combined company is the world’s second largest food company, making delicious products for billions of consumers in more than 160 countries. The combined company’s portfolio includes 11 iconic brands with revenues exceeding $1 billion – Oreo, Nabisco and LU biscuits; Milka and Cadbury chocolates; Trident gums; Jacobs and Maxwell House coffees; Philadelphia cream cheeses; Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings; and Oscar Mayer meats. Another 70+ brands generate annual revenues of more than $100 million. Kraft Foods (www.kraftfoodscompany.com; NYSE: KFT) is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index.
About the NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions—AT&T and Coca-Cola—and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners—Enterprise, The Hartford, Hershey’s, LG, Lowe’s, Kraft Foods and State Farm.
NCAA, Final Four and March Madness are licensed by or trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.