SBJ/September 24-30, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Big Red soda sees sales boost after using Dynamo to target Hispanic fans

The marketers of Big Red soda have used the partnership between parent company Dr Pepper Snapple Group and the Houston Dynamo for promotion of the soft drink to the MLS club’s Hispanic fan base this year.

And as the 2012 MLS season winds down, results are coming in.

Big Red “targeted a market and hit it effectively” with help from Dr Pepper Snapple.
According to Thomas Oh, Big Red senior vice president of marketing, an estimated 500,000 Hispanic consumers will be exposed to the brand through the team-related efforts, and sales volume is up more than 40 percent at the company’s key retailers in the Houston market.

Looking to develop soccer-themed point-of-sale activations and targeting the Hispanic market, Big Red first reached out to Dr Pepper Snapple Group in the spring about use of the Dynamo marks. Once Dr Pepper Snapple provided the pass-through rights to the partnership with the club, Big Red placed the Dynamo logo on activations at several markets in the Houston area that tailor to Hispanic customers, including Fiesta Mart and El Ahorro locations. It ran an extensive advertising campaign in Houston on Univision Radio, with ticket giveaways for Dynamo games and live remotes from the grocery stores. It also placed branded kiosks at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo’s first-year facility.

“Our sales were strong in San Antonio and Dallas, but we needed to make a strong push in Houston,” Oh said. “Our flavor profile matches up well with Hispanic customers, and we knew the Dynamo was a very popular team in Houston, with a new stadium. The program really resonated with their Hispanic fans, and I thought the deal was good for the team, too.”

Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group is in the first year of its partnership with the Dynamo as a founding partner of BBVA Compass Stadium. The deal runs through the 2016 MLS season. Oh said Dr Pepper Snapple was the primary liaison with the Dynamo and secured approval for all elements of the Big Red activation. Big Red’s corporate offices are in Austin, Texas.

“It was a fairly straightforward activation, but it was executed well by Big Red and DPSG,” said Kristen Gambetta, director of partnership activation for the Dynamo. “Going to the supermarkets, doing radio with Univision, they targeted a market and hit it effectively.”

According to Gambetta, Hispanics make up 45 percent of the Dynamo’s fan base — defined by the club as anyone who has purchased a ticket for a game. In the club’s first season at the 22,000-seat BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo is averaging just under 21,000 fans per game.

Dynamo President Chris Canetti called Dr Pepper Snapple “one of our most active partners,” pointing out a commemorative Dr Pepper bottle produced by the beverage group for the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium in May.

In recent years, Big Red has sponsored golfer John Daly as well as NASCAR’s Tommy Baldwin Racing and driver Jeremy Mayfield, but this was the brand’s first venture in soccer. Calling the campaign “a huge success,” but also “our toe in the water,” Big Red’s Oh said discussions have already begun about more expansive activation with the Dynamo in 2013, possibly with the participation of some of the team’s players.

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