SBD/January 16, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Say Cheez: Kellogg's Cheez-It Brand To Sponsor Watkins Glen Sprint Cup Race

Watkins Glen Int'l yesterday announced Kellogg's Cheez-It brand has signed a multiyear deal for title sponsorship of the track's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race beginning this year. The race will be named the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen. The Kellogg Company has been involved in NASCAR since '91, but this is the company's first race entitlement sponsorship. At the race, Cheez-It also will sponsor Roush Fenway Racing's No. 99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards. The race had been sponsored by snack brand Heluva Good from '09-11 (THE DAILY). Track President Michael Printup said that fans “can expect the product and the characters from the popular TV commercials to have a strong presence at the track on race weekend.” Printup said, “It’s a marketing effort that is applicable to them. They saw what the Glen could bring. Particularly, an oval versus the road course, the signage opportunities and the fan interaction and the quality of the racing is what brought Kellogg to the table” (SYRACUSE.com, 1/15). The deal was done by ISC Partnership Sales Manager Sean Othen. Sources said it gives Kellogg's sponsorships at other Int'l Speedway Corp. tracks, including Richmond and Daytona. The spring Martinsville Speedway race is the only entitlement ISC has left to fill for the '13 Sprint Cup season (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

SCORING BIG: In New York, Chris Gill writes the announcement is “arguably the track’s best catch since re-opening in 1984,” and it gives WGI a “nationally-recognized consumer product for the first time" since '98 when A-B’s Budweiser beer served as title sponsor. The track last year “didn’t have a sponsor for its annual NASCAR visit for the first time since the series returned to the historic road course,” but it now will be sponsored “by a Fortune 500 company.” Printup said, “It’s not just a regional marketing company. Heluva Good was great for us, but it didn’t have that exposure. ... It is beyond critical for us to have that consumer packaging good naming our sport, and naming at The Glen in particular.” He added, “Our goal is the integration of the consumer market and the exposure we want to do locally and regionally is whatever we can do with that box and whatever we can do with our brand -- doing special kiosks at stores, doing end caps at stores.” Gill notes WGI officials met with Kellogg’s “following last year’s NASCAR weekend at The Glen, meeting through a liaison” from parent company ISC (CORNING LEADER, 1/16). Printup said, "It's the first time since the Bud at The Glen we have a consumer product that's available anywhere -- in every corner store, every grocery store, every gas station. I think that's critical for racing and the sport as a whole" (AP, 1/15).
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