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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Dr Pepper Snapple Group this week will roll out a new effort around Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney and the N.Y. TIMES' Stuart Elliott noted it will focus on "five new soft drinks that are entries in the lower-calorie category of the carbonated beverage market along with Dr Pepper Ten." Maroney on Thursday will appear at Penn Station in N.Y., and the public "will be encouraged to sample 7Up Ten and take photographs in which they share their 'impressed' looks with her." Dr Pepper Snapple Group Senior VP/Marketing Regan Ebert said other marketers "'have approached' Ms. Maroney and asked her to declare herself impressed with their brands." However, Ebert added Maroney has "agreed to do it with us, exclusively for us.” Maroney's fee is not being disclosed, and Ebert said that the gymnast will "not appear in an advertising campaign for the five new soft drinks." Elliott noted N.Y.-based social media and digital agency Code & Theory "will work with Dr Pepper Snapple on the promotional event on Thursday" (, 2/25).

The Maryland Jockey Club will unveil its marketing campaign for the 138th Preakness Stakes in the next few weeks, and MJC President Tom Chuckas said that Kegasus, the “beer-guzzling centaur featured prominently in advertisements for the Preakness InfieldFest during the last two years, will likely not be a part of this year’s plans,” according to Jack Lambert of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Chuckas said, “I think we’re at a different stage with the InfieldFest. I think the brand is much stronger.” Chuckas “did not completely rule out Kegasus from this year’s running of the Preakness.” But he said, “If you were a betting man, I think Kegasus has gone to the islands.” Kegasus was created by DC-based marketing firm Elevation Ltd. to “help attract a younger audience to the Preakness.” The campaign “drew criticism” from Maryland state Delegate Pat McDonough and others for “encouraging binge drinking.” But Kegasus also “drew national attention and helped boost ticket sales” the past two years. Chuckas said that he “expects attendance at the 2013 Preakness Stakes to rival last year’s total, thanks in part to the presence” of musical acts Pitbull and Macklemore (, 2/25). Preakness organizers said that the Mug Club, which offers unlimited refills of beer in a souvenir mug, will "return this year.” In Baltimore, Wesley Case reported the Mug Club is “available in two areas of the infield, and costs an additional $20” (, 2/25).

Former NBAer Dikembe Mutombo is the latest celebrity to appear in a Geico commercial, and he said that he "rarely goes anywhere without someone wanting to talk" about it, according to Chris Vivlamore of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Mutombo is second in NBA history for career blocked shots, and in the ad he blocks an office worker "throwing away a piece of paper," a woman taking laundry "out of a washing machine, a driver at a toll booth, a man throwing away a coffee filter and a child getting a box of cereal in the grocery store." Each time he "taunts the rejected with a wagging finger and deep-voiced laugh." Finally, he "knocks the G off GEICO" at the end of the commercial. Mutombo was "approached by a representative of the insurance company and agreed to take part." He went to L.A. in December for "a 13-hour shooting day done at four locations." Mutombo was "caught by surprise" when the commercial began airing several weeks ago. He said that "eliminating the ‘G’ was most enjoyable, just ahead of blasting cereal all over an aisle much to the dismay of a young boy." Mutombo also "has been approached about the possibility of doing another commercial." Mutombo said, "After being off the basketball court for a while, being seen on TV doing something that the fans admire so much with your style of play and signature. I think it brought so many great memories to the fans. It also gave me great exposure for me and also for my foundation" (, 2/25).