Friday, October 16, 2009

Walmart Gets Its Game On

By Cristel Mohrman

Walmart ushered in football season this month with a reprisal of its annual "Game Time" merchandising program.

The retailer's "Game Time" logo is used on ceiling banners, endcaps, dump bins, in-line headers for sports-related apparel and brand-supplied pallets merchandising food and beverages. Among related national brand activity, Dr Pepper Snapple Group is merchandising football-shaped bottles of 16.9-ounce soft drinks in themed dump bins.

A circular that dropped on Aug. 30 -- right before the college football season started on Sept. 3 -- was dedicated to the "Game Time" theme, containing such phrases as "These winning prices are something to cheer about" and "Add these extra points to your saving score." Featured products included Heinz's T.G.I. Friday's appetizers, Rich Products Corp.'s Farm Rich mozzarella sticks and Dr Pepper Snapple Group's Hawaiian Punch. The chain is also operating a promotional microsite offering tailgating tips, party recipes, games and consumer polls.

TV spots support the football-themed push with co-op ads for a variety of game-day foods such as Bush Brothers and Co.'s Bush's baked beans, Kraft Foods' DiGiorno pizza and General Mills' Totino's Pizza Rolls. The spots broke Sept. 7 on national cable channels.

This year's campaign mimics the one Walmart conducted in 2008, when the "Game Time" logo was splashed on signs and displays throughout the store as well as in a dedicated seasonal department. (See "Walmart Suits Up for 'Game Time'" in Related Articles.) The chain has been using the slogan -- which doesn't require any sponsorship licenses -- for at least four years.

Walmart, Bentonville, AR, operates 2,682 supercenters, 851 discount stores, 151 Neighborhood Markets, 605 Sam's Clubs, four Marketside stores and two Supermercado de Walmart units in the U.S.

Published: September 2009