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Volume 21 No. 18
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Deal giving P&G, USOC prime space at Wal-Mart

Two of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s largest partners are teaming on an extensive merchandising program that will roll out in 2,300 Wal-Marts across the U.S. starting next week and running through the London Games.

Procter & Gamble will work with WinCraft, one of the largest USOC licensees, for an activation effort that will see thousands of Olympic-themed pallets of P&G products combined with a variety of licensed goods in the nation’s biggest retailer.

Wal-Mart will also use the program as a July 4 promotion.
Photo by: WINCRAFT
The Stand Together & Save program will put the red, white and blue pallet displays in Wal-Mart’s high-traffic “Action Alley” area, prime real estate that’s adjacent to the retailer’s checkout aisles, where Wal-Mart’s biggest price promotions are featured. Wal-Mart isn’t lending any specific marketing support to the program, but since 130 million people shop at the retailer weekly — or 84 percent of the U.S. annually — that’s not unusual or even necessary.

With the program starting later this month, Wal-Mart will use it as a July 4 holiday promotion as well as an Olympic tie-in. Accordingly, there’s more “Team USA” imagery than Olympic rings on the displays.

P&G, a USOC sponsor since 2009, will feature brands including Cascade, Duracell, Febreze, Puffs, Tide and Pampers on the pallets, Meanwhile, WinCraft, one of the country’s largest hard-goods licensees, will be selling an assortment of Team USA-logoed products — from towels, pennants, magnets and mugs to key chains, signs and car flags — through the pallet program.

For the USOC, the program could be a boon. Not only does it offer an exclusive design on the merchandise at America’s biggest retailer, it also will be Wal-Mart and the USOC’s largest retail program this year.

“This is really an all-star program at the right time of year to capitalize on Olympic interest to generate impulse sales at Wal-Mart,” said WinCraft President and COO John Killen, “so it’s in a place where everyone wants to be when everyone wants to be there.”

WinCraft will also have similar free-standing displays of USOC-licensed merchandise in 500 Kroger grocery stores.

“All signs point to this being one of the most successful Summer Olympics ever and being able to pull together this much product with a consumer-products powerhouse like P&G, with the USOC and Wal-Mart under a red, white and blue thematic, is just immensely satisfying,” said Philip Welp, WinCraft vice president of business development. “And it works well, because so many of our products are manufactured domestically.”

With this program as a model, the prepackaged retail program could serve as a template for other large properties, especially with P&G and other large packaged goods companies getting more active in sports sponsorships. For example, P&G is also an NFL corporate sponsor, WinCraft is an NFL licensee, and Wal-Mart has bought ads on NFL game broadcasts.

“Their supply chain is not really set up to do hot-market products, and mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart have been forced to cut margins recently, so it’s tough for them to accept the margins that are normally considered acceptable in licensing,” said Jeff Bliss, the former president and CEO of the Sara Lee Olympic Partnership, who now heads The Javelin Group, an Alexandria, Va., marketing and licensing consultancy.

“But if you can get a top vendor like P&G to participate, it’s a real door opener to this kind of deal at that class of retail.”