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Hershey Blazes College Trail for CPGs

Sep 05, 2012

In a classic ad campaign for Hershey Company’s Reese’s brand, chocolate and peanut butter collided to make for a very tasty combination.

The match of college sports and Reese’s is adding up to the same kind of very effective combination.

A national collegiate marketing deal with IMG College will connect Hershey to schools coast to coast through customized promotions for retail partners. Hershey will use each school’s team logos to promote its Reese’s brand and drive customers to retail locations.

Hershey’s commitment to IMG College schools opens the door for more CPG (consumer package goods) companies to build their brands with college sports.

“Hershey’s sponsorship reinforces the value of colleges’ intellectual property and signals to the market our ability to execute locally and regionally in the CPG category,” said Lawton Logan, SVP US Business Development for IMG.

In expanding its collegiate marketing footprint, Hershey becomes an official partner of marquee IMG College schools including: Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Michigan, Cal, Syracuse, Kentucky, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, and many others. Reese’s plans in-store merchandising, social media and a blizzard of radio spots during the college football and basketball seasons.

The retail-driven program includes Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix, Meier, Walgreen’s and HEB. Hershey will leverage its school relationships by featuring collegiate team logos on packaging as well as point-of-sale promotions, coupons, FSIs, and grocery chain circulars.

Hershey also extended its NCAA Corporate Partner agreement through an agreement with CBS Sports & Turner Sports, including continued title sponsorship for its Reese’s College All-Star Game during Final Four Weekend and title sponsorship of Reese’s Final Four Friday.

"Our expanding relationship with IMG College enables us to activate our NCAA Corporate Partnership with increased localization,” said Drew Iddings, Senior Manager, Consumer Promotions at Hershey Company. “We will continue to execute national tent-pole promotions and will use school assets to drive relevance at retail with customized offers and POS leveraging national collective, regional collective or local school rights. Our customers and internal stakeholders are extremely excited about this opportunity to better connect with college sports fans, shoppers and consumers."

Whereas professional sports restrict marketers trying to work multiple teams onto packaging or promotions, Hershey was drawn to the flexibility of college. Hershey can create custom promotions mixing and matching schools on a national, regional and local level for retailers increasingly demanding unique activation setting their stores apart.

This full IP flexibility without radius or other usage restrictions is unique in sports. College team logos can be mixed and matched freely. For example, a significant number of University of Michigan alumni reside in Chicago, far from the Ann Arbor campus. Hershey can use the Wolverines logo in Chicago without the type of restrictions imposed by pro leagues.

Hershey’s relationship will capitalize on the IMG College Audio Network – the largest independent sports network in the nation, reaching 2,100 affiliates. Commercials in game broadcasts will tag retail partners to drive consumers to the stores featuring college-themed displays. Hershey is planning consumer campaigns offering trips to the Final Four and VIP football experiences.

Since 1894, Hershey has pioneered many innovations in the manufacture and sale of chocolate – from perfecting the mass production of milk chocolate to building a machine to wrap its famous “Hershey’s Kisses”. Now just as sweet for its customers and college sports fans, the company becomes one of the first major CPG partners to utilize IMG College’s national marketing platform, providing one-stop shopping to the largest, most affluent, and most diverse fan base in sports.