AD AGE's Natalie Zmuda examines the comeback of Coca-Cola's Mello Yello brand and notes the soft drink last year took over the NHRA title sponsorship from Coke's Full Throttle brand and launched a new campaign, "including TV, radio and updated packaging." The majority of its marketing budget is "dedicated to huge amounts of sampling -- handing out cans to thousands of race attendees." The NHRA deal has "given the brand a national platform, with 24 races taking place" this year. Coca-Cola North America Group Senior Sports Marketing Manager Al Rondon said that the title sponsorship deal "has helped Mello Yello to 'amplify' its retail efforts" (ADAGE.com, 8/9).
WHERE'S THE BEEF? In Chicago, Nausheen Husain reported Pro Football HOFer Mike Ditka has partnered with Vienna Beef to create the Ditka Sausage. The eight-inch sausages "come in two varieties: hot Polish and chicken with tomato and mozzarella." Vienna Beef Head of Business Development Tom McGlade indicated that a "new Ditka Dog with beef sausage will also be available at Soldier Field by next Thursday" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/8).
TIME TO LET IT GO: Golfer Rory McIlroy finished the first round of the PGA Championship tied for 23rd, but prior to the start of the event he "refused to let the equipment-switch storyline linger." He said of his switch to Nike, "It was a valid point at the start of the year. I don't think it's a valid point now. I mean, it's nine months in. Of course there's going to be a transition period. But now I'm really happy with everything that I've got in my bag" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/8).