Kraft Foods 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.”
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.
“We are thrilled to have Kraft Foods join the NCAA Corporate marketing family at CBS Sports,” said Chris Simko, SVP/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 NCAA 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 Men’s Final Four in Houston.
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.
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” ad.