ATLANTA -- Procter & Gamble Co. is driving home its Pringles brand message -- literally.
The company has wrapped 25 sport utility vehicles in Pringles advertising to promote the brand's new Cheese and Onion flavor. The event kicked off last month and will run in the greater Atlanta area through September.
"As part of our overall marketing, we're constantly looking for new ways to surround our consumers and spur excitement," Kristin Illingsworth, assistant brand manager, Pringles, told Brand Marketing. "This program does that."
The move comes at a time when P&G plans to move Pringles under the leadership of a new stand-alone snack and juice beverage company it is developing with the Coca-Cola Co. That venture, which has yet to receive regulatory approval, would combine P&G's Pringles and Sunny Delight juice with Coke's Minute Maid juices, Hi-C, Five-Alive and Fruitopia drinks. Coca-Cola Enterprises is already distributing Pringles as part of a several-month test.
Under a partnership with FreeCar Media, Los Angeles, an out-of-home ad firm, the company recruited everyday people who own SUVs. Driven largely by consumers with families, the cars are wrapped in removable vinyl ads created through 3M technology. Drivers are paid for their services.
While P&G has used other types of car advertising for special events, this is the first-of-its-kind promotion. Cincinnati-based P&G will analyze the results of the campaign to decide whether to roll it out to other markets and include company brands.
"Our objective is to learn about this new medium and its effect on our business," noted Illings-worth, saying P&G is pleased with the campaign.
Known as "brand ambassadors," the drivers add a lot to the brand in the form of viral marketing, said Illingsworth. Because of the uniqueness of their cars, they become "instant celebrities" and help spread the word about the product to family, friends and even passersby. They are equipped with several cases of product samples, a move that links them even closer to the brand.
"The drivers become an advocate of the product," Illingsworth said.
FreeCar has also worked with other large companies -- including Microsoft, Lycos and Taco Bell -- but this is the first time it has teamed with a consumer packaged goods manufacturer, according to Larry Butler, chief executive officer, FreeCar.