SBJ/September 4 - 10, 2006/This Weeks News

Divas race onto Hostess calendar

The calendar packs Danica Patrick and two other female drivers, plus lots of coupons.
The Hostess Race Divas team of Danica Patrick, Melanie Troxel and Leilani Munter are jumping from the track into the pages of a calendar.

The three female drivers will be featured in a coupon-filled calendar that launches Sept. 12 in approximately 90 percent of the nation’s grocery stores and Wal-Marts and about 30,000 convenience stores. In-store displays and product packaging will feature order forms that must be redeemed by mail for the free calendar.

“The calendar is meant for two audiences,” said Kevin Kaul, Hostess’ director of marketing. “First, you’ve got the convenience-store shoppers who are the huge race fans and shop for the two-pack Twinkies. Then you’ve got the moms in the grocery store who have an affinity for the drivers because they’re breaking through, they’re doing something other women haven’t done.”

Patrick, the ultra-popular Indy Racing League driver, headlines the threesome, while Troxel is an NHRA Top Fuel driver and Munter drives in NASCAR’s minor leagues.

Kaul said the calendar marks “by far our biggest use of the Race Divas.” Industry insiders peg the value of the promotion in the mid-six figures.

Hostess worked with Momentum Worldwide, St. Louis, in 2005 to develop Race Divas and activate this year’s promotions. The program launched earlier this year with a sweepstakes.

Kaul said he went to Momentum with a motorsports assignment “because of the strength of racing and its audience. We wanted to understand our options, from sponsoring a car to working with tracks for specific events. Momentum came back with the Divas.”

This marks the first year of Hostess’ two-year plan for the Race Divas. The calendar features photos of the drivers in traditional racing poses. Kaul said Hostess did not attempt to use the attractiveness of the drivers as a lure to the calendar.

“Yes, they’re attractive, but we’re not playing to that,” he said. “We’re playing on the fact that they’re role models.”

A fulfillment company will work with Hostess to track the use of the coupons.

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