In homes across the country last week, excitement grew as football fans finalized Super Bowl celebrations where family and friends would gather to cheer their favorite team and vote for their favorite commercial.
All this excitement was good news for PepsiCo and its customers who leverage the company’s NFL partnership and product sponsorships to drive business.
For the California-based grocery store Safeway, football is a major food event, says Diane Dietz, Safeway’s chief marketing officer.
“Tailgating continues to be popular, but the big evolution is ‘homegating,’” said Dietz. “People are spending more time entertaining around football, so the weekly games, playoffs and Super Bowl are important to our business.
“PepsiCo has some of the best brands that equal fun and entertainment,” she said. “And it’s one of the best in the industry at bringing the NFL to life in our stores for our shoppers. It has been very powerful for us.”
PepsiCo has enjoyed a successful, three-decade partnership with the NFL, whose 185 million fans make it the most popular sport in the United States. From the NFL draft to Super Bowl Sunday, the company uses its partnership to drive sales for its brands and its customers who benefit from displays and promotions that feature hometown teams.
“PepsiCo gives us very innovative ways to merchandise products around the NFL and engage our customers,” said Tammy DeBoer, senior vice president of Family Dollar, a convenience retailer with more than 8,000 stores in 46 states. “PepsiCo helps us connect with our customers and the communities we serve to let them know we are their hometown store. This increases customer traffic and drives sales.”
Safeway’s Dietz agrees. “Local relevancy is important to our business,” she said. “PepsiCo’s retail teams are well known for their excellent execution at the local level. By partnering with them, we’re able to leverage their many team-specific NFL assets in a big way to create fun and excitement at our stores.”
The NFL season comes at a time, says Dietz, when customers transition from summer, with a lot of outdoor activities and grilling, to fall, with a greater focus on being indoors and entertaining at home. “Bringing the NFL to life at the store level with PepsiCo brands fits very well with that transition,” she said. “So we engage during the season, week after week.”
The engagement runs through the playoffs to the Super Bowl as well. At the end of the NFL season, PepsiCo responded quickly to outcomes on the field and provided Safeway, Family Dollar and other customers special in-store assets, such as player cardboard standup displays, for stores in playoff team markets.
PepsiCo’s customer focus is made possible by its powerful go-to-market system, which operates more than 100,000 routes and serves approximately 10 million outlets almost every week. It is also powered by the company’s complementary food and beverage portfolio. During the football season, for example, store displays combining PepsiCo food and beverage products cater to busy party planners, a strategy used by Safeway, Family Dollar and other PepsiCo customers.
“We are very positive about bringing snacks and beverages together where shoppers can find all the ingredients for a fun and successful party,” said Dietz. “We know PepsiCo brands index very high when it comes to football. So we make sure we have those available where shoppers can easily find them.”
For PepsiCo, Super Bowl XLVIII was a pivotal moment in its consumer engagement strategy, providing a big stage for some of the company’s most popular brands, such as Pepsi, Doritos Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Quaker. Ads aired. Contest winners were announced. And in retail stores across the country, thousands of Super Bowl displays stood front and center.
It was also an important time for Family Dollar. During Super Bowl weekend, the lucky winner of a joint PepsiCo-Family Dollar sweepstakes headed to MetLife Stadium with his children to watch the Super Bowl. Family Dollar shoppers entered the sweepstakes in stores, online and using text messaging. Everyone who entered received mobile coupons for savings on PepsiCo products.
“Family Dollar is also having an incredible week in food and beverage sales,” said DeBoer. “Snacking and beverage occasions, and celebrations are very important to our customers. PepsiCo has been a tremendous partner helping us ensure that we have good products and incredible displays in all of our stores to meet our customers’ needs and drive incremental sales.”
PepsiCo and Family Dollar are currently planning for next year’s NFL season. Both teams say they want to top last year and build upon enhancements in value and product assortment that are coming from Family Dollar in 2014. “We want to make PepsiCo’s relationship with the NFL a bigger part of our customer engagement,” said DeBoer. “That will be part of our future plans.”
Safeway isn’t revealing future plans yet, but according to Dietz, “this will be a big area of focus for Safeway because we think that football, food, groceries and PepsiCo fit together so well.”