CINCINNATI — With the 50th running of the Daytona 500 one week away, Kroger is finishing the last lap of a major integrated promotion that includes dozens of limited-edition Center Store products packaged exclusively for its stores and featured on sale.
Through partnerships with Pepsi, Unilever, Kellogg, General Mills and other manufacturers, Kroger is the exclusive retailer for hundreds of specially packaged products ranging from mustard to pasta sauce. All items bear a special 50th Anniversary Daytona 500 race logo, as well as images of race car drivers, trivia and race information.
This is the first year Kroger has tied in with the event, said company spokeswoman Meghan Glynn.
“We know that millions of our customers are race fans, and that's why we're proud to partner with Daytona 500 this year,” she said.
Kroger sponsored yesterday's Daytona 500 qualifying, in which drivers competed to secure a front-row starting spot.
The limited-edition packaging is exclusive to Kroger-owned stores, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs and King Soopers banners. About 2,500 Kroger stores in 37 states are participating, according to a published report.
“This once-in-a-lifetime keepsake packaging will only be available at participating stores,” Kroger says in promotional materials.
Participating brands include Chips Ahoy!, Wish-Bone salad dressing, Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Lipton tea.
In addition, nearly 15 Kroger-brand private-label products — including hot dog and hamburger buns, coffee and peanut butter — also feature the logo on the package.
The packaging, which first hit stores last July, will remain in distribution at least through this month. Products are also featured on in-store displays.
The marketing deal is high-profile, because the 200-lap Daytona 500 is regarded by many as the most prestigious NASCAR race of the season. More than 200,000 fans are expected to attend the Daytona 500 this weekend, and millions more will watch on TV.
Along with featuring the Daytona 500 packaging, participating products were also on sale last week. Offers included Klondike ice cream novelties, four to six count, three for $10; Kroger-brand coffee, 34 to 39 ounces, $5.99; and Chef Boyardee pasta, 15-ounce can, 10 for $10. All specials required shoppers to use their Kroger loyalty card.
Kroger is promoting the products on a dedicated website, www.kroger.com/daytona500, that features racing games and trivia, as well as ticket information and up-to-date race news.
“Log in to experience all the special features offered on this site compliments of Unilever, including race games with the chance to win NASCAR-themed prizes, special race packages, merchandise offers, and more,” according to the website.
Along with Unilever, other manufacturers are also actively involved in the online component. For instance, General Mills sponsors several online games, including the “Kroger Daytona 500 Qualifying presented by General Mills,” and the “Kroger Daytona 500 Trivia Challenge presented by General Mills.”
There's also a section of manufacturer-produced race-themed recipes, including “Tony the Tiger Cookies for Casey Mears,” and “Jeff Gordon's Victory Lane Salad.” All recipes contain ingredients from the participating manufacturers.
Kroger has aligned itself with NASCAR in other ways. For instance, Kroger shopping bags were painted on driver David Gilliland's car during the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway last summer.
Also last year, the retailer teamed with the Speedway for an online auction that raised $20,800 for United Way of Greater Cincinnati. The auction involved a helmet signed by all 24 living past champions of the Daytona 500.
International Speedway Corp., which owns Daytona International Speedway, declined to comment.