Trade Promotion

The Top Cross-Promotional Campaigns of the Summer (Podcast & Transcript)

The Top Cross-Promotional Campaigns of the Summer (Podcast & Transcript)

Wendy’s Spicy Chicken flavored Pringles. Space Jam Mac & Cheese. Krispy Kreme flavored Smart Food Popcorn. These are just a few of the cross-promotion campaigns sweeping the nation this summer as brands fight tooth and nail for eyeballs as consumers are eagerly looking for discovery and new products they’ve missed since the pandemic began.

The post-pandemic boom will be a pivotal moment for many brands. What can you do to make sure your brand stands out amongst the crowd? Read or listen along as we break down a handful of cross-promotion campaigns that have caught our attention, discussing what’s worked regarding branding, promotion, and retail activation.

Listen or read along for a fun and informative perspective on how CPG leaders think about and plan successful cross-promotional campaigns.



Ben Weiner: Welcome to today's webinar on the top cross-promotional campaigns of the summer. I'm Ben Weiner, Content Marketing Manager at Repsly, and I'll be your host for today's fun and informative webinar. Today, we’ll be discussing what exactly is a cross-promotional campaign and what makes them successful for both brands. We've got a packed agenda for you today. So before we get into it, let's start off with some introductions on the panel.

On today's panel, we've got Cait Will, the Vice President of Marketing at Repsly, who will be giving a marketing perspective. We also have Hagen Panton the VP of Global Retail Development and Training at Nutrabolt who will be giving a sales and field territory perspective. We've got Frank Brogie, Product Marketing Manager at Repsly, who will be giving a trade promotions perspective. And lastly, we've got Matt DePaolis, the Chief Customer Officer at repsly who will be giving his customer success perspective.

Let's dive right into what makes a cross-promotional campaign. So a cross-promotional campaign – it's quite simple – it's the practice of two competitive brands building a strategic partnership to increase awareness and drive sales. And why do brands choose these? They choose them because it allows their brands to reach untapped new audiences. And you'll see exactly what we mean when we dive into these products. 

What we'll be discussing today is:

  • How these brands work together from a marketing perspective. 
  • What challenges their field teams might face in executing in-store.
  • How in-store promotions work and where we see wins and opportunities.
  • And lastly, we'll be closing with how these two companies track success together.

So Cait let's, let's jump right over to you. We'll start off with this; when you're thinking about promotion campaigns, what are you thinking about from a marketing perspective?

Cait Will: Partly what comes to my mind is how these brands work together and what about them is similar that can be leveraged. Then the other part of me just goes to all the logistics and how many logistics these two teams from a marketing perspective have to align on. I can't imagine the level of work that goes into some of these partnerships, particularly when you're partnering with multiple brands – like we'll talk about later when we talk about the Space Jam partnerships,

Ben Weiner: So Hagen, and let's jump to you quickly. What are some of the challenges that field teams face when executing a cross-promotional campaign in-store?

Hagen Panton: The number one challenge is that you're typically dealing with two different buyers. You may have a buyer on this side, that's a beverage or a yogurt person. You have a buyer on this side, that's a candy or granola person. And those two buyers may not talk, so the biggest challenge is really to get the inventory to come together so that you can do those cross-promotions. And right now, with supply being an issue for everybody in the world, I can see this as a huge challenge and even for the co-branding that we have coming up, that is really the biggest challenge is getting the people that work in those different categories to work simultaneously together to get the product to the store, get it out on the shelf and get that display looking as good as possible.

Ben Weiner: And Frank, let’s jump to you. What are the big opportunities that you see when it comes to cross-promotional campaigns?

Frank Brogie: Similar to what Hagen mentioned, when a product hits the shelf I think about how these are different flavors or different types of products. What are the occasions for buying them and how does that compare to their traditional products? For example, if they've introduced a new flavor; if there's a different reason that somebody is going to be purchasing that flavor; where might it want to be in the store compared to where that traditional flavor is going to be? So there are lots of considerations like that that will change the way that they interact with the shopper in different parts of the store. So that's what we're going to be looking at closely today.

Ben Weiner: And Matt, what are you tracking when you're one of these brands running a cross-promotional campaign?

Matt DePaolis: For each of the brands participating in the campaign, ultimately everybody wants to boost sales, but in order to do that, there are a number of things that have to happen. You need to generate awareness, you need to convert that to buying opportunities. And then of course you need to convert the sale as well. Meanwhile, you need to make sure you're doing that with a partner that's going to support your brand initiatives to make sure that it's still on brand and it's driving in the right direction. I think when we get into one of my favorite topics, which is data and what are the leading KPIs that lead to certain other larger KPIs, one of the things that we get to look at is how do you slice and dice it and look at it across different demographics.

Ben Weiner: Let's dive in with the first two brands. We have General Mills and Mars and the product they came out with was Yoplait Skittle yogurt. In 2019, the brands unveiled the Starburst yogurt in all four original candy flavors. And in 2020, they introduced the Gushers yogurt, which had bursting beads inside of it. And now the latest that we've seen sith Skittles. Do you guys have any interest in tasting the rainbow for breakfast? Let's start with Cait. How do these brands come together?

Cait Will: They come together kind of perfectly – they're made for each other. Yoplait’s branding and their mantra is all about you. Very family-oriented, all about celebrating the individual, obviously highly focused on the children demographic. Skittles, a very similar brand. Their brand mantra is making the world smile, creating better moments, celebrating uniqueness. And when you just look at the two brands from that kind of brand mission perspective, they're very aligned. My takeaway is these two companies are both very fun and happy. They’re both very much about celebrating the individual. From a product and brand perspective, this is a perfect mashup.

Ben Weiner: And Hagen, what hurdles did these sales teams likely have to overcome when going to market?

Hagen Panton: With this particular one, it's so easy. By putting “taste the rainbow” on there, having the Skittles, of course, that is going to bring yogurt into the younger demographics that they're looking for, giving kids a healthy breakfast to start their day. You know, ideally we would love to see maybe some Skittles merchandise with the yogurt. But you don't really need that with this because the Skittles is so prominent. And what I've really learned in the last year is that people are so focused on influencer marketing, but when you have such a strong brand like Skittles, that is the influencer and that's the influence that's never going to get in trouble. It's never going to cause you any problems. And everybody goes, “Oh, Skittles made me feel good. I remember the first time I had them handful picking the colors out.” So with this particular one, you know, I think it's easy. You just get it on the shelf and anybody that walks by is going to want to try it.

Ben Weiner: So what was executed well in-store versus online?

Frank Brogie: Taking a zoomed-in view of the shelf here. The first thing that stands out to me is the opportunity. It gives you a play to stand out. And what's typically a really crowded yogurt category, space in the refrigerated section in stores is very limited. So yogurt brands get really a small number of facings compared with products that can be sold on the warm shelf, like a soda or a seltzer might have a few feet of space. While you can see here, you'll play only has these four faces to work with. And it's really only two products why they have to stack two by two. So even though they only have four facings, shoppers are really quickly recognized that Skittles brand and wonder what it's doing in the refrigerated section as they walk by, but the flip side of that and, and maybe an opportunity and something they'll want to keep an eye on is that with so few facings, you can't keep much of this product on the shelf at any given time, so it's bound to be popular.

But the flip side of that, and maybe an opportunity and something they'll want to keep on eye on, is that with so few facings, you can't keep much of this product on the shelf at any given time. So it's bound to be popular, and so because of that they need to make sure to keep up with their pack-outs, or risk that shelf sitting empty for most of the day and losing some of the opportunity they had. So that might mean for some goes and some areas where they have especially high traffic, maybe augmenting their field team with local resources who can check on the shelf a few times a day over the duration of the promotion. So that's something they might want to look into, especially in areas where they're doing some digital advertising to drive traffic to the store, augmenting that with an extra special treatment on the shelf.

Ben Weiner: And Matt, what are some of the top KPIs of tracking and how do you measure success for both of these brands?

Matt DePaolis: Yeah, I love, love this campaign for lots of reasons. One of the things I do love about it is it's a bit of a rinse and repeat play, they've done this campaign before as you mentioned with Gushers and with Starbursts. What that means is they've got benchmarks, they know what to expect so they can measure performance as the campaign's going on, they can set targets for their team and measure progress against those so that they can more quickly adapt whether they're doing well, double down, or, "Hey, oddly we're not doing as well as we expected in a certain territory, area, region, let's go and troubleshoot and get to the bottom of that." So just the fact that they have benchmarks, one of the things we talk about most with the use of data is setting goals, setting targets, measuring products as you go. Not after the campaigns all over and it's too late to make any changes. So I love that about the campaign. So when we look at it from the brand side, of course General Mills here with Yoplait, they are absolutely trying to shake that old feeling that yogurt's for the older demographic and working to get it in the hands and the mouths and bellies of the younger demographic. So they're going to be looking at sales by demographic for youth.

And one of the other things that we love about that play, that targeted play, is when you are getting the product in the hands of the youth, they're going to have a longer total lifetime value back to that brand. If I get hooked on a product earlier on, that's just X number more years that I'll be buying and consuming that product as well. So just always love that targeting, get them in young and keep them through brand loyalty.

And then for Mars Skittles, how they're going to measure success on this campaign, it's going to be a little different. It's not necessarily going to be number of units sold, though I'm sure there is some benefit there. But a lot of this is an awareness play, it's a little bit earlier on in the pipe, it's getting mine share. And so they're going to measure things like eyeballs and food traffic and those types of things. And it's in alignment with them too, trying to get into the demographic where, "Hey, Skittles can be healthy, they're associated with a healthy breakfast alternative or healthy snack alternative." And so I see more of an awareness play for them in the KPIs that you would use for those.

Ben Weiner: All right. One brand down, let's move onto the next one here. So the next one we've got Pepperidge Farms and they teamed up with Frank's Red Hot for a limited edition snack, Goldfish Frank's Red Hot Crackers. So these fish swarmed into stores nationwide this past May, and according to Campbell's Snacks chief marketing officer, the hot and spicy was the most requested goldfish flavor from more than 35,000 requests. And the goal of the new flavor is to broaden the audience of goldfish to a more adult consumer as the crackers were originally geared towards adults as a bar snack and they quickly transitioned into becoming a children's snack. So when we take a look at what we're seeing here Cait, what's the initial impressions? And I'll jump to some videos as well.

Cait Will: I would say my hypothesis I think you just validated what they were trying to do here. So Frank's the brand Frank's is all about living your spiciest life. They have a very funny, very playful brand. If you read some of their copy, their voice and their tone, they don't take themselves too seriously. Definitely oriented towards an older demographic, an adult demographic. The Goldfish I know as a mom by Pepperidge Farms owned by Campbell's Soup, very family-oriented brand, very wholesome, great kids food, you feel good about giving it to your kids. Also very fun and playful brand, similarly to Frank's, but everyone knows, and I think Hagen you might agree with me, parents and adults love goldfish. And so I think it was very smart that they played into the wishes of the adults. And it's not obvious on the surface why these two brands came together, but when you think about it through that lens that this mashup is very much oriented towards the adults, the older demographics, and all those secret goldfish lovers who steal their kids goldfish at eight o'clock at night when they're in bed, then it all makes perfect sense why these two brands came together.

Matt DePaolis: Those secret goldfish lovers, huh Cait? You don't know any of those, do you?

Cait Will: Don't know any of them.

Hagen Panton: Those crumbs inside your pillowcase are very telling.

Cait Will: I know.

Ben Weiner: Hagen, what's a field sales team thinking about when executing a cross-promotion like this?

Hagen Panton: I think this is absolutely great, I love this one. I would eat handfuls of this. I personally feel we've nailed it and set it, but I don't believe that's how it's merchandised. This was founded at places where people drink beer, where adults drink alcohol, that's who wants this product. So you have it on a lower shelf, or maybe I'm from Publix I see a lot of people have a difficult time bending down to that bottom shelf. So yes, you're going to be able to grab some kids, but I see an incredible opportunity with this brand to be cross-merchandised down the beer aisle. You take your cases on the bottom, put your goldfish on the top or string them down. So I do think that there's a huge opportunity with making sure that this is accessible at eye level to an adult or merchandised where the 35,000 people who voted for this are definitely shopping on the beer aisle. So I love it here, I'd love to see it cross-merchandised with beer. I know when I lived in Texas they did an exceptional job of having beef jerky, peanuts, pretzels just hanging out in the beer aisle like literally case stacked up on beer, and that's such a great opportunity for this. And what if you took it up a whole nother level and did something with Chelada or some of the more fun beer flavors?

So great opportunity to bring in the younger kids, but I think the big opportunity here is definitely with adults and feeding in exactly where they expect to see it, which is in that bowl that I think the beer is just behind.

Ben Weiner: And Frank before I jump to you I want to quickly show some of their online promotions as well for this. So this was a little ad they ran leading up to it, they ran this in April for the launch that happened later on in the week, and this was a video that they put out, you asked for it, we heard you, introducing the new goldfish, Frank's Red Hot. So fun video to go with it and they had another third one that went along with it as well to really show the merging of the two brands.

Frank Brogie: Yeah, great to bring some life to just the static packaging. Again, as Cait said, there's both such playful brands that bring some dynamism to the packaging is really fun. To echo kind of what Hagen was mentioning, what I notice when I see this spot on the shelf is this still really leans towards those bulk packaging traditional flavor at eye level. So I think as Hagen was kind of hinting at, this setup as we see on the shelf here is learning towards that secret goldfish fan parent who's maybe shopping for the bulk for school lunches, sees this and tosses it in the cart as well and not necessarily going and seeking it out or finding a new audience.

So I think this is probably a cart builder for an existing audience, as opposed to as Hagen was mentioning going out and finding a new audience. Depending on what part of the country they're in, as we're in Massachusetts there are some stricter limits on what grocery stores can sell alcohol. So one alternative for those stores where they don't sell alcohol would be to cross-merchandise this through dump ins or cardboard shippers near products that are associated with parties even if they're not able to sell alcohol in those stores. So those might be your plastic cups, your paper plates, or alcohol if the store can sell that can help position that spicy new flavor as a great addition to the party and getting the brand back to its roots.

Ben Weiner: And Matt, let's finish with you here. What's Pepperidge Farm measuring for success versus how Frank's measuring success at this campaign?

Matt DePaolis: Yeah, I love how they're approaching this. They're using data the right way, they're using data to take actions. They had some insights and they said, "What action am I going to take on the insight?" That Janda Lukin, the CMO of Campbell's had was that 50% of goldfish are actually eaten by adults. That's surprising for a lot of folks, so let's take action on that, this is one of their first big push campaigns to directly target the adult demographic. So using data all the right way, super mature organization doing the right things with data. I love it, I love it, I love it. For Pepperidge Farms, it's going to be sales and through put for the 18+ consumer, and for Frank's, again, I think it's capturing consumers as a snack, playing off of barbecue season coming up here in summer, and getting more of that mind share, piggybacking off of the large, large distribution that exists out of the Pepperidge Farms and the goldfish consumers.

Ben Weiner: So moving right along here we've got our third brand and our third cross-promotion is Target and Hasbro. So collectors, game lovers and Target fans, they can all rejoice with this one as Target and Hasbro have teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind bullseye edition of Monopoly. Passing go has never felt this good. And this has some new twists to it, instead of collecting properties, you're going on a Target run and you'll get to shop for Target items instead of buying properties, passing go allows you to purchase the items that you have in your basket as you save tokens. And this unveiled earlier this week and became available in-stores on August 1st. And this has driven some pretty exciting buzz online as well as in-store. Cait, what are your initial impressions for Target-themed Monopoly?

Cait Will: Yeah, let's first talk about Monopoly. This has been a Hasbro game and brand since 1991, it's 86 years old, and I think the game just continues to reinvent itself, they have phenomenal history. And Hasbro, as best in class in family entertainment, they know how to keep interest in this brand and they're constantly reinventing it. There's Monopoly Empire, there's Super Mario, there's an LOL Doll's game that my daughter wanted to have, there's a Stranger Things version of Monopoly. So it's amazing how they have been able to continuously reinvent and almost find new demographics through that process. Target as a brand, their brand mantra's all about helping families discover the joy of everyday life. I don't know what embodies families and everyday life more than a board game. So this mashup to me makes perfect sense, it's a great celebration of the brands. Target fanatics will no doubt love it. And obviously they just have to merchandise it in just this one store, so they can focus on a really great in-store execution, which I'm really excited to see as it rolls out.

Ben Weiner: And Hagen, what type of hurdles is Target and Hasbro are they thinking about here when they're going through this cross-promotional campaign?

Hagen Panton: I think that they did a great job at nailing Cait, Cait you're getting one of these for Christmas for sure from me. Create hype with a very targeted demographic, targeted demographic at Target with the female consumer. And so the one challenge that they've got to have with this is this is not a destination item. It is, you can buy that online, if you see it in one of these ads, you can just click on Target online and you buy it, it comes to your house. But for everybody who's not seeing these ads, now you have the in-store shopper. And for me, this is the ultimate impulse buy. And it actually happened to me, over here in my stuff that I could buy for Christmas I was walking through my local Target, Sarasota Florida, and they actually made a Sarasota Florida Monopoly. Now I have never seen this, never heard of it. It happened to be on a pallet and when I was walking by I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I got to buy 10 of those and give one to everybody that comes to visit me as well." And it's totally localized, it's got a gym shoe, a big smile, a dog, a pretzel, it's really funny. Talks about the beaches here. So this is an impulse buy, this needs to be on a pallet, it needs to grab your attention.

But I think almost the best place to probably market this product would be right on the checkout end caps. In Target they have checkout end caps but they're shorter checkout lanes, and you'd see that right there as you're standing in line, it's 10 or 20 bucks and you're like, "Oh, what a great present. So and so loves Target. What a fun game." And I really love this product, but it is definitely an impulse buy or an online ad or online viral marketing that turns into online purchase very easy and you got to move that product out of the stores. So love this product, it's just got to be in that impulse buy zone and I don't know how many moms really go down the game aisle to buy a game on a consistent basis. The toy aisle, oh my gosh, yeah, we all go there, right? We try to go around it but it doesn't work.

Cait Will: We try to avoid it at all costs.

Hagen Panton: Yeah, exactly. But the game aisle, it's not a frequented aisle, it's not something you're going to go, "Let's get a game for this Friday night." For every Airbnb owner in the world, you should have Target Monopoly in your Airbnb for those rainy days. It's a great impulse buy, great gift. And to your point Cait, another great way for Monopoly to reinvent itself as it gets into the '80s, super cool.

Ben Weiner: And Frank, how do you think their online presence compares to what we're seeing in-store here with it being a little bit tucked away in the game section?

Frank Brogie: Yeah, so I actually went to look for this in our local Target yesterday just following launch and actually didn't find it in the store. So I was one of those shoppers who maybe did seek it out, found that it was out of stock, maybe because of it being so easy to find in the stores so early. So I was one of the people who went online to look for it and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it's actually featured on the main page for all Target board games. And they actually have a great opportunity to give shoppers a peek inside the box at things like the game pieces, things like the currency, some of those things that really make this a unique experience compared to the Monopoly games that maybe you're used to playing. So they're using that real estate online in a way that they may not be able to have that interactive side of things in the game aisle. They also make the game really easy to find online I think because the dedicated Target shoppers who maybe see the space for it in the store but find that it's out of stock like me, it's really easy to find it and order online without having to search for it. They made it really, really easy to find. Basically like the online end cap by having it be right front and center on their board game page.

Ben Weiner: And Matt, how do these two brands measure success?

Matt DePaolis: Yeah, they're actually a little bit different for each one of them. For Monopoly they traditionally can appeal to their large collector audience, folks that seek out different Monopoly boards. But for them, I think a lot of the focus and execution is going to be online, so it's going to be eyeballs and conversion rates to clicks and clicks conversion rates to add to carts and purchases. And for Target, it's a little bit different. What I love what they did with the board is they made it match their brand and buying's fun, buying's easy, buying does not need to be expensive. And so actually, the way that you win Target Monopoly is you end up at the end of the game at checkout having saved the most money. And so a lot of the focus and push through the actual game itself was highlighting the Target credit card subscription, they call it their Red Card, and their Circle Rewards Program. And so if you're Target, you're probably really keeping a close eye around metrics around sign-ups and registrations for the credit card and the rewards program.

Ben Weiner: Very cool, that's very cool.

Hagen Panton: You're almost training your consumer through a board game.

Cait Will: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah totally.

Hagen Panton: Matt I can tell you've been playing it a lot, you just share with Frank. Matt, now you know who bought it all, Frank, Matt.

Cait Will: Yeah, right.

Matt DePaolis: Must have gone to the store right after him.

Ben Weiner: The next brand we're going to go to is another spicy mix, so Kellogg's obviously ripped a page out of Pepperidge Farm's books with their spicy chip of the summer. They introduced the Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich flavored Pringles by using the same spicy blend found on their chicken sandwich. When a consumer buys these Pringles, if they keep the box that it came in, we actually have a nice little can of them right here, Cait was able to find them at CVS earlier this morning on an end cap. So if you keep the bottle that it came in, you can take that and you can bring it to Wendy's and they'll give you a free chicken sandwich there, which is pretty exciting and pretty cool. So Cait, what's your initial impressions, for the Wendy's Spicy Chicken Flavored Pringles?

Cait Will: Yeah, the mashup of the two brands, Wendy's is all about going the extra mile, making you feel like family, very community based brand, very fun, casual voice. They sound like someone you'd want to be friends with, they have a very long history, they started in 1969 with their first store. Just one year earlier Pringles started. They're now owned by the amazing superpower that is Kellogg's, but they started in 1968. They're definitely in a class of their own like Wendy's. Very unique in obviously how they create their product, how they package their product, how they market their product. They really can do it in a class of their own, and they have their scorching chips line already, it's very fun, they have amazing commercials, I loved watching them all. So my takeaway in looking at these two brands together is the sandwich flavor works great with their existing scorching line, the two brands have great history, no doubt share a lot of the same customers, and it makes a lot of sense to cross-market and cross-merchandise them together.

Ben Weiner:  Frank, I'll jump to you first here before we get to Hagen. What are you seeing when we look at their in-store presence of the Wendy's Pringles here? What's executed well in-store versus online?

Frank Brogie: Yeah, well keeping special edition flavors in something like Pringles in stock can be especially tough, because not only are they inexpensive, but they're immediately edible, which also makes them a perfect impulse buy. And because they're sold at convenience stores as well as traditional grocery, there are far more points of purchase for them to manage. So because of that challenge, I think I can actually see there being less emphasis on in-store execution and focusing a little bit more about linking this physical release to some digital engagement. Wendy's and Pringles both have pretty edgy brands that interact with their audiences directly on social media, and are leveraging the launch as a way to drive even more engagement with their brands online. So in that sense, the physical product is actually elevated almost to this mythical status where most shoppers will hear about it but maybe never be able to see it, but both brands get plenty of mind share whether the product's available or not. So for dedicated Pringles fans, I do really like they have an opportunity to find these rare cans using a where to buy tool. So in a way, simply having that kind of tool makes the rarity of the product feel a little bit more like a treasure hunt than a frustrating out-of-stock experience, which I think is a really great turn on a supply chain challenge to turn that into a fun experience for customers.

Ben Weiner: And Hagen, what does a Kellogg's field team likely have to face as a hurdle when doing a campaign like this?

Hagen Panton: Well first, I just want to remind everybody that's listening out there, if you buy the can of Pringles, you can bring it to your local Wendy's and get a free burger or a free chicken sandwich. So really, you buy a couple of cans of Pringles, they more than pay for themselves. So that in itself is awesome. What I see really as the challenge here, I think it's very blended in on the shelf. This really needs to be a shipper program or some sort of preset kit that they're setting up at the corner of that end cap next to the other flavors that have that call to action that you mentioned earlier which is, "Go to your local Wendy's, save your can, recycle it for a free chicken sandwich." To me, you need major POS here, it's got to be a separate entity, it could literally be a prepackaged box with 60 units in it so you're not keeping Frank up at night worrying about running out of stock. And that has a card that tells you what to do. I also feel this is a great text-to-win program, you know text your number, collect that data and then we will send you a coupon for a free chicken sandwich at Wendy's.

Hagen Panton: And then also want to see this going the other way as well. I had a Baconator recently, and it had grilled onions on it. We've all smashed chips into our burger before, I want to see a 360 here where you can also order your Wendy's chicken sandwich with the Pringles crushed down into that, that would be so sick. And then oh my gosh, there's spicy chicken Pringles on here, I can even buy those in the store, yes. And then you take it one step further and you add them to the happy meal for a while so you get a couple of these special chips in your happy meal, or their Wendy's meal, but that makes you happy. So I think there's way more to this one from a 360 approach, but in-store you absolutely need that. And I would also question what's in Wendy's promoting this as well? So I don't know the full scope of this 360 marketing, but I would love to see this again and tie in all of those elements together so you're getting it from all sides. So I think that would be really, really fun.

Ben Weiner: Yeah, I love where your head's at where bringing in the Pringles into the sandwich, that'd be a fun little twist. And Matt, what are you thinking about here? How are these two brands each measuring success here? Obviously Wendy's is giving away a free chicken sandwich with every purchase of these Pringles, so how do they measure success?

Matt DePaolis: Yeah, I'm with Hagen, we're going to start a petition to get the Pringles in the sandwich, let's go. For these I thought this was a well-integrated program. You can see how one purchase ties into the other, it's quick, easy, obvious to understand. For Pringles, it's getting in on the sales with the folks that are in those chicken sandwich wars that get lots of buzz and airtime and mind share. And for Wendy's, it's an offer where they convert, but the conversion actually on it Hagen, I don't know if you saw, but you have to download the Wendy's mobile application, register, login from that, and order through there. And so I would imagine for them it's a big push to try and get subscription and registration up through in-app purchases on the Wendy's app.

Ben Weiner: That absolutely makes sense.

Matt DePaolis: That prepacked shipper unit too, is that being sold in Wendy's? So here's your target customer that may not have your app, they're standing in the store, they're going, "What's this?", while they wait in line. Oh, you download the app and you get a free chicken sandwich today. So another huge opportunity is to take that same unit and throw it in every Wendy's in America and have the opportunity to upsell those on the menu. I love this one, the possibilities are just endless. But I didn't realize that on the app download, that's even better, I love it.

Ben Weiner: Let's move along to probably our biggest one so far, the biggest cross-promotional campaign of the summer was Warner Animation Group and 200 plus brands. In this one especially we'll talk about Kraft mac and cheese before we get into everything else that they did this summer. But yeah, Kraft mac and cheese teamed up with Warner Bros for the Space Jam A New Legacy featuring Lebron James. And the noodles in here are shaped like characters from the movie. And this was just one of 200 products that Warner Bros approached for the film release. Others included Microsoft, Amazon, Nike, and many more including they also went after and they got action figures, they got all these cereals on the bottom right here, they got a Monopoly board as well and they also got this 100,000 dollar watch from Kross Studios. So Warner Bros really went over the top with everything for this campaign, but we'll focus first on mac and cheese. Cait, what's your impressions on the mac and cheese and Warner Bros and Space Jam? Have you seen this in the store, have you been able to avoid it I guess?

Cait Will: No, I've not avoided it. Actually, it's a great film. So mac and cheese, staple product from our customer Kraft Heinz, really just an amazing product. No parent can live without it. And their whole slogan is, "puts a smile on your face," that's their noodle. Space Jame was a staple movie in every household this summer. No parent or child could live without it this summer. Certainly put a smile on my face. It makes perfect sense. I just have to say, Space Jam and the Warner Bros marketing organization, I really hope they've taken some time off this summer because the amount of work that they executed in these co-branded partnerships, 200 plus is literally insane, it's astronomical, and I can't imagine how many contracts and programs and work that those teams did to execute across every single brand. So my hat's off to what is no doubt a world-class marketing team, and also for identifying Kraft and mac and cheese for one of those partners is a perfect combination.

Ben Weiner: So Frank, when you look at the in-store execution here obviously they've got this big end cap here. What are your thoughts on what you're seeing in the store versus online, and I guess how much work do you think goes into pulling something like this off?

Frank Brogie: Yeah, I think one of the coolest things about this promotion and beyond just the mac and cheese is it feels like every part of the store has been transformed into a billboard for Space Jam. And I think there's actually a little bit of science perhaps behind the types of products that they chose. As you can see, the mac and cheese up there at the top as well as the cereals down there on the right and the Monopoly game, these are large, flat products that give tons of real estate to show really detailed mini billboards in a way. And it offers, I think on the flip side, it offers the brands, especially Kraft Heinz in this case, plenty of room to catch shoppers eye in what's typically a pretty unchanging part of the store, the center aisles. And the center of the store isn't typically where the most promotional activity takes place, but it is a pretty easy area to manage limited-time products like this. So because things like mac and cheese has a long shelf life, those center aisles can hold so much product, you can keep those aisles stocked for a long time compared to the challenges that we talked about for example with Yoplait and Skittles. So keeping that home shelf stocked will probably not be too much of a challenge, even if demand is really high for this promotion.

Frank Brogie: But I think it's what can happen off of the home shelf that makes this promotion so exciting. So the same way retailers set up themed displays for holidays or seasonal promotions, they can work with brands to set up these special Space Jam displays like the one you can see there on the left. The products probably don't really have much to do with one another, but the Space Jam theme draws in shoppers who might not otherwise be looking for that product, they're just a fan of basketball and maybe a fan of Lebron or Space Jam. And so because mac and cheese is small, it's shelf-stable, it's easy to keep in stock, retailers can sprinkle it all around the store wherever they have other Space Jam products, which really helps amplify the brand footprint for Kraft.

Ben Weiner: Hagen, what goes into executing something like this?

Hagen Panton: This is the ultimate disruptor, you're seeing this at 10 points in a store. To me, this is very one-sided towards Space Jam. You're buying Kraft macaroni and cheese, of course, you're going to buy the Space Jam version. So the winner here is really Space Jam, because Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you're going to buy the Space Jam box because it's limited edition, but you were buying Cinnamon Toast Crunch anyway, let's be real. We all do. I'd love to sprinkle some on my Wendy's chicken sandwich, to be honest with you. That's another collab waiting to happen. But the points of interruption, it's really over the top. And Cait, you made a great point and I had to chuckle because the number of approvals their marketing team and the legal team must have gone through is just out of control. Like I cannot imagine how long they've been working on this. So I just have to say Space Jam is the winner on this, they did buy the billboard, they created the POS through the store.

Hagen Panton: And the other thing that's nice about this, like you said Frank, it's shelf-stable. So if you go in there and you're buying eight boxes of macaroni and cheese that may list you six months or a year, your kid is going to be thinking about that until the movie comes out on one of the streaming services, et cetera. So it also lasts a lot longer, I guess is what I'm trying to say, than like a header card or a POS-type display. Now you've got that advertisement in the pantry again in multiple points of interruption. So you've got macaroni and cheese, you've got your Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you've got the toy in the kid's playroom. So all the way, hands down, kudos to the team. How long did it take you to do it? That's what I would like to know.

Ben Weiner: Yeah, and to piggyback off what you just said, the movie came out on July 16th and they started this promotion on June 1st, so they had six weeks of runway before the movie actually came out, so I'm sure there were lots of mac and cheese sitting on the shelves of people's cabinets. Matt, what are you thinking about here? And I'm sure there's a lot to take in. Is what's Warner Animations, how are they measuring the success of this?

Matt DePaolis: Yeah, to Hagen's point, it's bigger, it's a larger presence for Warner because it's a campaign that extends well beyond just one program or project. It's a full-on campaign with many, many projects and sub-projects. And I don't know who the biggest winner in this is. I know Hagen you thought Warner Brothers was, but the only true way to figure out who the bigger winner is to look at ROI when we get to metrics. So it's investment versus payoff. And so who had the higher ROI here? I don't know. Who was benefiting more from the other marketing spend in presence? You could make an argument that Kraft actually probably got a greater ROI from the campaign themselves because of all the extra spend on Space Jam that was already out there. I know to your point if you're going to buy Kraft you're going to buy Kraft, but to get the Lebron box and have that fun and have that experience, there were a lot of programs built into that. And so in general, this was the biggest and most mature integrated campaign that we looked at in the webinar. I felt like the online and in-store presence matched really, really well. Fully integrated campaign.

Matt DePaolis: Kraft Heinz is obviously a very data-forward company. This is a rinse and repeat play for them as well, they've done partnerships like this with Warner Brothers, they've done SpongeBob SquarePants, they've done Ninja Turtles, they've done Bugs Bunny, they've done Looney Toons. I remember back in the turn of the millennium around 2000 they have the Mil-Looney-Um Mac, and so they've done this before, which means they get to benchmark, they get to set targets, they get to see how they're performing against those targets. And so I bet they had a real fine-tuned spend versus value, I bet they had a really fine-tuned ROI on this program. So I wouldn't be surprised Hagen if you happened to be wrong on this one, well maybe in just how you measure it, how you measure who is the biggest winner here. But one of the things you definitely see here is around the Space Jam mac and cheese is the packaging really, really pops. One box has got Lebron, one box has got Bug Bunny, one's got Marvin the Martian, and you see that all lined up on a shelf and it's going to really pop. So for Kraft Heinz, obviously you're going to measure throughput, but leading indicators to that are going to be how many secondary placements did I get? How many secondary displays did I get that disrupted buying patterns and behaviors?

Matt DePaolis: And with a product like this that just pops, pops, pops, I bet they were crushing it. I bet that they were more measuring leading indicators that led to the sales outcomes that they were looking for. Probably something around things like secondary displays. Warner Bros, how do they measure? Box office, it's just dollars, cha-ching at the box office, they know how to do that. And so it measures what campaign from that viewership, that download, that watch, that's going to be harder for them to measure the ROI I think.

Hagen Panton: I just have to know. Is there a Michael Jordan-shaped noodle in that box? Or a box of Michael Jordan itself? Everybody wants to know that. I'm buying the macaroni and cheese just to see if there's a Jordan noodle in there.

Hagen Panton: Let's get the rumor mill turning, let's get the rumor mill turning!

Cait Will: If Marvin the Martian got a box, you got to give one to Jordan. It's nostalgia.

Ben Weiner: And we'll move along to our last brand here is a bit of a bonus here, was Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and Kraft Heinz once again. So on July 14th this year, two of the most iconic comfort foods came together on macaroni and cheese day for a mashup that I guess nobody really expected and everybody seemed to love. So Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen's mac and cheese flavored ice cream sold out of 2,000 pints at 12 dollars a pint within the first hour of sales online. And the website had initially crashed after nine minutes of launching. In the brick-and-mortar shops, the flavor sold out within three hours, as 9,000 scoops were sold. And if you are interested in reading some reviews on this ice cream, there are some very much raving reviews for it. So Cait, what are your impressions on mac and cheese flavored ice cream?

Cait Will: Yeah, so Van Leeuwen is a pretty staple brand in the ice cream aisle, although definitely has a cult following. They've been around since 2008, their whole motto is ice cream that makes you feel good, as you mentioned Ben comfort food. They have also great branding, they have awesome packaging, their flavors are phenomenal. They have already tiptoed into that diverse flavor, that special edition, that vegan, they're always innovating. So what I understand is mac and cheese partnered with them to celebrate national mac and cheese day which also happened to fall during national ice cream month and they said, "Who should we partner with?" And it's no surprise they chose Van Leeuwen, there are huge PR benefits to A, making mac and cheese ice cream to begin with, but associating themselves with a brand that is all about natural food, that there's nothing artificial, that there's good-good as Van Leeuwen puts it. This is only going to help the Kraft brand out, and particularly because Kraft removed all artificial ingredients from their products in 2016 for macaroni and cheese. So it's a really good alignment for them. And the question then is, can Van Leeuwen pull it off? They have these amazing ingredients and these awesome flavors, can they figure out how to pull off mac and cheese ice cream that tastes good?

Ben Weiner: Hagen, what are your thoughts on this? How do you think this was executed?

Hagen Panton: I just think it's awesome. If you read Jonah Burger's book Contagious, this checks every box of viral marketing. It's the one that put the biggest smile on my face when you sent out this email. I thought they did incredible, obviously there's not a lot of retail slides here to look at. But digitally, this is 1000% sharable content, no matter. I've never heard of Van Leeuwen ice cream, but I heard of this. I'm not a big ice cream guy, but it's genius. It's absolutely viral marketing 101. How many people sent this to their friend and was like, "Is this for real? Oh my gosh, we have to try it." And that's obviously why they sold out. Kentucky Fried Chicken does fire logs that you can get during winter, and I try to buy it every year, it's always sold out. And I think even if you pulse this and caught back up on inventory and did it again, you're going to sell out again and again and again. And it's genius, they nailed it, you can't take anything away from that.

I will say though, I thought in my head that this would be Gouda mac and cheese, I did not know that this would be what my son calls orange mac and cheese. So now, I'm challenging Van Leeuwen to come out with a white mac and cheese. Let's take it up a notch, add bacon. Come on, let's have some bacon in our macaroni and cheese. The sky's the limit with this. It's genius. I can't stop, put the Pringles in here, let's go.

Ben Weiner: Frank, what do you think was executed well online?

Frank Brogie: Yeah, I think Hagen's point about products like this selling out is really the key. I think the story that a mac and cheese flavored ice cream sold out in nine minutes is almost bigger than the idea that anybody is going to be able to really try this. Because it's the story that it sells out that creates the headline and gets the shares. So I think that's a way, again, to lean into the fact that they're not going to be able to really make this a mass-market product that everybody really loves. I think reviews on limited-time products are typically really good because people who go through some pain to get something like to think it was worth their while, so they'll leave better reviews. So I think there's some magic there around availability.

Frank Brogie: But the other thing I really love is actually the product photography for all of this. And I think it's really hard to look at these photos and not taste Kraft mac and cheese. And that to me is, even though I didn't get a chance to get my hands on this ice cream, the fact that these photos are circulating makes me crave Kraft mac and cheese, even if I didn't connect it in my conscious brain, somewhere back there next week I'll probably find myself throwing Kraft mac and cheese into my cart because of these photos. And I think that's a little hidden benefit, and clearly they really focused on the product photography for this I think exactly for that reason.

Ben Weiner: Yeah, I totally agree with that. And Matt, how do you measure the success of these? Obviously they were incredibly successful online as well as in-store, but what measures success moving forward?

Matt DePaolis: Yeah, this is obvious this is not like I made a million bazillion dollars selling this flavor of ice cream, it's I drove awareness to our brands. This is all about eyeballs, it's all about mind share, it's all about click stuff. To Hagen's point, this is viral marketing 101. To Frank's point, it's all about the story. One of the quick headlines was, "It was so viral it crashed the Van Leeuwen server because it couldn't handle how buzzy it was." So guess what that does? I went to the Van Leeuwen ice cream to see if the server was back up, so the buzz created more buzz. So how do we measure it? It's all about eyeballs, it's all about clicks. It's strictly that play for this.

Ben Weiner: All right. So in the number six position, it was Yoplait Skittles, the Google search results would add 400,000 search results and only 632 results for in the news. In number five it was Wendy's Spicy Hot Pringles. Google search results up close to a million with 780,000 and the Google News results of 5,000. What do we think is number four?

Hagen Panton: Frank's.

Cait Will: Yeah.

Matt DePaolis: Target.

Ben Weiner: We are spot on, it is Frank's Red Hot Goldfish. Google search results of close to 12 million, Google News results of a little bit over 5,000, just 10 results more than the Wendy's Pringles. All right, let's move along to number three. Number three is... this may surprise you all as obviously they had over 200 products, but I wonder if that number of products took away from the search results for just Space Jam mac and cheese. But 21 million is still an incredible number of results, and 34,000 in the news is still buzz-worthy for sure.

Hagen Panton: I think you're right on that one, Ben.

Ben Weiner: What do we think is the number two position here?

Hagen Panton: Target.

Frank Brogie: Target.

Cait Will: Target.

Ben Weiner: You guys are spot on with that as well, it's Target Monopoly. 47 million search results and 138,000 news results. That means there's only one position for our top spot, and that is the mac and cheese ice cream. 80 million search results and 200,000. We actually pulled this data a couple of weeks ago and that had the least amount of search results, so it's been interesting to see how it's taken over as number one and it's obviously been buzzworthy for the last couple of weeks since that July 16th unveiling. I don't think there are many surprises here, what do we think?

Cait Will: No. You can't top that mac and cheese, you just can't top it, it's just perfect.

Hagen Panton It is perfect.

Cait Will: I really want some.

Hagen Panton: I can't believe Wisconsin or Vermont never figured that one out.

Ben Weiner: That wraps up this webinar, I hope everyone was able to learn something new from this and take something away, learn something a little bit about cross-promotional campaigns. Thank you all for joining, I really appreciate all of your insight, Cait, Hagen, Matt, Frank. I'm Ben Weiner, thank you for joining the webinar. We hope to see you at the next one.

Watch the recording here!

The post-pandemic boom will be a pivotal moment for many brands. What can you do to make sure your brand stands out amongst the crowd? In this webinar, we’ll break down a handful of cross-promotion campaigns that have caught our attention, discussing what’s worked regarding branding, promotion, and retail activation.

Ben Weiner

Ben is Repsly's content marketing manager, focusing on digital storytelling through blogs, video and podcast production, and social media. He recently served as Bullhorn’s senior content marketing specialist and is also the founder of InVision Media, a video production company that helped small businesses promote their message. Before joining the workforce, Ben was the captain, president, and social media manager of the men's ice hockey team at the University of Maryland. In his spare time, he enjoys rollerblading with his dog Chewbacca, watching the Boston Bruins, listening to classic rock, and playing competitive games of Settlers of Catan. Follow Ben on Twitter: @bennybyline.

Latest Posts

3 Min Read
Why are CPGs Doubling Down on Tech Investments This Year? Let’s Get Into It.

Insights and Studies

Why are CPGs Doubling Down on Tech Investments This Year? Let’s Get Into It.

Cait Will

Our team at Repsly is excited to announce the launch of our highly anticipated 2024 Retail Outlook Report. At Repsly, our mission is to help CPG brands thrive in the retail landscape, and our annual..

3 Min Read
Having the Right Tools is a Beautiful Thing

Having the Right Tools is a Beautiful Thing

Luciana Marzilli Lord

Successful cosmetics, hair, and skincare brands know that data and metrics are essential when it comes to optimizing their team’s performance, improving compliance, and getting the most out of every..

3 Min Read
Repsly in Review 2023

Product Updates

Repsly in Review 2023

Sanja Novotny

Embarking on a mission to revolutionize retail execution, the Repsly team has consistently delivered on its commitment to enhancing the mobile and web app experience for users. As we reflect on our..