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Volume 21 No. 1


Editor's note: This story is updated from the print edition.

Kraft’s Jell-O brand and Chobani Greek yogurt have struck separate multiyear sponsorship deals across nearly 20 colleges each through an agreement with rights holder IMG College.

The Jell-O deal started out as a pilot program last year with four IMG College schools — Arkansas, Florida, Michigan and Texas — featuring school marks and mascots on the packaging. It will grow into a 16-school deal for 2014-15.

Chobani’s sponsorship with 17 IMG College schools will grow to at least 27 schools over the course of its three-year deal. Chobani will become the official Greek yogurt for many of IMG College’s premier brands, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas and UCLA.

The sponsorship was locked down last week, just as Chobani’s chief rival in the yogurt category, Dannon, was doing its own sponsorship with the NFL. Dannon has advertised its Oikos brand in the Super Bowl broadcast two of the past three years. Greek yogurt accounts for half of all yogurt sales, and Chobani, which also sponsors the U.S. Olympic Committee, has a slight edge in market share over Dannon, 35 percent to 33 percent, according to a first-quarter report on

The Chobani deal with IMG will include use of the schools’ marks, digital and radio advertising on the schools’ websites and, and sampling opportunities. Industry experts gauge the three-year agreement at more than $1 million annually.

Chobani will work with ad agency Droga5 on its advertising and creative, while GMR Marketing will assist the company with experiential marketing and sampling.

Andrew Judelson, IMG College’s senior vice president for national sales, said these consumer packaged goods deals with Jell-O and Chobani are the types of programs that his national sales team has been focused on.

“This is a white-space category, something that really hasn’t been tapped into for the college space, and probably wouldn’t get done simply at the local level,” Judelson said.

Judelson negotiated the deal with Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing officer. But Chobani’s founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, was involved in the process, Judelson said. One sales presentation was held at UCLA, where Ulukaya toured Pauley Pavilion and saw Chobani featured on the video board.

Jell-O’s test program with four schools last year saw sales strong enough that the brand decided to expand the program. The list of 16 new schools for this football season includes some where IMG doesn’t hold the rights. Southern California (Fox Sports), LSU (CBS) and Iowa (Learfield) are among the new schools in the Jell-O deal that combines licensing and sponsorship elements.