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Volume 24 No. 115
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Marketplace Roundup

USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz writes social media is a "slam-dunk marketing strategy" for companies advertising around the NCAA men's basketball tournament. It has "so utterly infiltrated" the tournament that marketers are "knocking their cyberheads together to come up with creative ways to keep consumers engaged." Coca-Cola is "so gung-ho that it's upped its social-media spending around the tournament tenfold." The company this year broke its Coke Zero Social Arena, and it "will spend more than 20% of its tournament budget on social media this year compared with 2% last year." Meanwhile, Hershey's Reese's Peanut Butter Cups brand is "coaxing fans to visit its Facebook page with the lure of shooting a half-court basket for $1 million at next year's tournament" (USA TODAY, 3/18).

BACK TO BASICS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Mike Esterl reports PepsiCo is "attempting to put a big new charge into its U.S. soda business after losing more ground last year to Coca-Cola Co. in their decades-old cola wars." The company "plans to spend 30% more to pitch its beverages on U.S. television in 2011 than in recent years." Some analysts said that PepsiCo "has been too focused on its other businesses in recent years, including a relaunching of the sports drink Gatorade and new forays into more nutritious snacks, at the expense of its U.S. soda business." PepsiCo Beverages Americas CEO Massimo d'Amore said that the company is "'totally committed' to expanding its soft-drink sales and plans to launch a new television-advertising campaign for its flagship Pepsi-Cola this summer" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/18).

ON DECK: Victoria's Secret PINK and MLB Properties on Thursday announced the expansion of their exclusive assortment of co-branded merchandise to include 12 new teams, bringing the total number of clubs to 23. The spring collection will feature the D'Backs, Orioles, Indians, Rockies, Tigers, Brewers, A's, Giants, Mariners, Rays, Rangers and Nationals (Victoria's Secret). By the '12 season, MLB "expects all 30 clubs will be represented" (, 3/17).

SPANGLISH : In Jacksonville, Francine King wrote, "Every time I see the 'El Heat' playing the 'Los Spurs,' I want to throw something at my television. ... I honestly don't understand how Hispanic NBA fans could view the league's lame attempt at selling more jerseys as anything but offensive to their language and their culture." If the NBA really wants to "draw a new demographic, then commit" and "translate the whole thing." King: "Los Spurs should be Espeulas. El Heat should be El Calor. Los Bulls should be Toros. ... I'm not sure what exactly the NBA is afraid of: losing the teams' branding maybe or confusing non-Hispanic fans?" (, 3/17).