Kraft Foodsâ€™ U.S. Snacks business is teaming with the NCAA and CBS Sports to become an NCAA corporate partner for several of its flagship snack brands, including Planters, Ritz, Oreo and Wheat Thins.
The partnership includes promotional and marketing rights for the NCAA and all 88 of its menâ€™s and womenâ€™s championships.
The brands will be featured as the NCAAâ€™s official cookie, nut and cracker partners through in-store promotions and with a major advertising buy on CBS Sports starting in March with the networkâ€™s exclusive coverage of the Division I Menâ€™s Basketball Championship.
â€œThis partnership is a slam dunk for Kraft Foods,â€ said Stephen Chriss, senior director of marketing alliances at Kraft Foods. â€œIt gives us an opportunity to connect our delicious snack brands with key audiences in a big way.â€
Planned marketing initiatives include new product sampling, contests, promotions and college-themed displays in retail stores.
â€œHaving Kraft Foods on board as part of the NCAA team is a win for everyone involved,â€ said Peter Davis, NCAA director of corporate alliances. â€œAssociating with well-known brands like Planters, Oreo, Ritz and Wheat Thins helps increase awareness and build excitement for all of our NCAA sports and the fans who support our student-athletes and championships.â€
Chris Simko, senior vice president for CBS sports sales and marketing, said: This is exactly the kind of integrated promotional partnership that has become synonymous with CBS Sportsâ€™ NCAA corporate marketing program.â€ Simko also is director of the CBS sports properties group.
In the last five years, Kraft Foods has embarked on several strategic, high-profile sports-marketing initiatives including NASCAR and the U.S. Open as a means to raise the profile of its flagship snack brands.