Just ahead of the World Cup 2014, Mondelez has launched a multi-pronged media campaign to capitalize on soccer fever.
Mondelez International - the company behind Oreos, Trident Gum, and Sour Patch Kids - is tapping into soccer fever ahead of the 2014 World Cup with a multifaceted media campaign centered on the hashtag #PasstheLove. The campaign asks U.S. consumers to share what they love about the sport on social media.
Starting this week, the #PasstheLove hashtag and related soccer imagery can be found on some 40 million custom-designed packs of cookie, cracker, and candy brands, as well as on the dedicated passthelove.com website. #PassTheLove is also being featured in more than 17,000 in-store displays at retailers across the country.
"We did our research on this and found that the passion and love for this sport is a common thread," says Stephen Chriss, senior director of North America consumer engagement and marketing services at Mondelez International. "We believe this sport is at an amazing stage [in the U.S.], with its popularity never higher."
Those who share their passion using #PasstheLove are eligible for a range of prizes, with the grand prize winner receiving a "Game of Your Life" soccer experience, in which a local soccer event will be held in his or her honor (they will also receive $10,000 in cash and an autographed soccer jersey). Other smaller prizes include a "soccer in a box" kit, which comes with a commemorative soccer ball, goals, and Mondelez snacks.
Soccer fans can also download an interactive game called "Free Kick Fury" on their smartphone to compete in penalty kicks. Those who locate a unique code found on some 2 million snack packages will get virtual rewards for the game, a technique Mondelez calls "Pactivation." The brands will include snack products Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Ritz, Wheat Thins, Honey Maid, Newtons, Belvita, Trident, Stride, and Sour Patch Kids.
"Packaging is one of our biggest assets. We asked ourselves how we could turn that into a media opportunity," says Chriss.
Individual brands such as Sour Patch Kids are promoting the campaign on their Facebook pages, while most users are posting via Twitter. While it's too early to quantify results, Twitter analytics platform Topsy shows that there have been about 150 #PasstheLove tweets in the week since the campaign launched.
Another portion of the campaign involves Blink Studios, the company's own digital newsroom, designed to allow participating brands including Chips Ahoy, Ritz, and Honey Maid to react to real-time news and events in the soccer world. The video content created will be distributed both to paid and owned channels.
A coast-to-coast event tour is also underway, featuring U.S. soccer captain Clint Dempsey, his teammate Omar Gonzalez, and Alex Morgan of the U.S. Women's National Team, all of whom have endorsement deals with Mondelez. The company also signed a three-year sponsorship deal as the official snacks sponsor for U.S. Soccer, the sport's national governing body.
Asked why Mondelez has decided to focus on soccer as the center of its marketing campaign, Chriss says the sport appeals to a varied and wide demographic of consumers. "Soccer is the number one participatory sport for kids, making it an all-family brand...It also appeals to the growing market of Latino consumers," he adds.
Lastly, Chriss says the company sees its brands as inherently connected to the sport as well. "Whether fans are going to a game, playing soccer, or watching a match at home with friends and family, our snacks are a part of that."
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
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