Never forget that the food industry’s purchase of youth sport is about marketing and branding opportunities.
By way of example today I’ll be discussing Mac’s Convenience Stores’ “Froster Active Kids” program.
First, for those who aren’t aware, Frosters are Mac’s Convenience Stores’ answer to Slurpees.
Mac’s conveniently spell out the requirements of teams who seek their sponsorship – among them:
- The sports team must agree to send pictures of jerseys, events, etc that can be used to post on our social media pages. Please note that a Photo Release form must be signed by each parent and returned to FrosterActiveKids@macs.ca before funds can be released.
- Where applicable: Sports team must disclose the expected number of audience for the events/tournaments. Froster Active Kids Program branding must be present at the event through team jerseys and potentially a banner.
- Mac’s and Froster Active Kids Program branding must be presented on the team or the association’s social media, web pages and other branding opportunities.
- Sampling opportunities for Mac’s will also be reviewed where applicable.
And then they get a great deal more specific in the application. What struck me from the application, is while there are plenty of questions about the sponsorship opportunities that would be afforded to Mac’s, and of the aesthetic fit with Mac’s logo, there were no questions, none, to help flesh out the deservedness or financial needs of the team.
Froster Active Kids Logo Exposure:
- When does the season start and end? Click here to enter text.
- How many jerseys will the logo appear on?: Click here to enter text.
- Will the logo appear in colour or black and white? (colour preferred): Click here to enter text.
- Will the logo appear on the home and away jersey, please clarify if only one: Click here to enter text.
- What is the colour(s) of the jersey?: Click here to enter text.
- Where will placement of the logo appear?: Click here to enter text.
- What other logos will appear on the Jersey (including other corporate sponsor logos): Click here to enter text.
- Can you send a team jersey to Mac’s with the number “15”? Click here to enter text.
- Is there a team banner that Froster Active Kids will receive logo exposure on? Click here to enter text.
- Additional opportunities for logo exposure i.e. hats, jackets, bags: Click here to enter text.
- Will the Froster Active Kids logo appear on the webpage and the social media page? If so, please provide the link to both: Click here to enter text.
- Will you be sending a team picture of the members wearing the jersey? Click here to enter text.
- Is there an opportunity for Mac’s to provide coupons (i.e. BOGO Froster, Free Froster)?: Click here to enter text.
- Is there an opportunity for Mac’s to come out to a tournament with a banner and sampling/coupons? If so, please describe: Click here to enter text.
- Additional marketing opportunities: Click here to enter text.
While other programs may provide lip service to altruism, it’s refreshing to see Mac’s Convenience Stores boldly tell us that it’s not about us, it’s about them.
And how much are these sponsorships worth? A few hundred dollars? A few thousand? Would it really be impossible to raise these funds in other ways – ways that might also teach the kids important lessons? My three girls went door to door selling flower bulbs for their school this year. They raised nearly $250 in an afternoon. I also recently came across a group of kids sitting outside the local liquor store collecting empties from returning customers so as to collect the bottle deposits for charity. In the few minutes I purposefully spent watching, I didn’t see a single person enter the store without donating their bottles to the kids. Back of the envelope calculation has them raising at least $100/hr/store of sitting there.
Given most teams are between 10 and 20 kids strong, and weekends are two days long and multiple times a month, I struggle with the notion that funds can’t be raised without turning kids into walking billboards and providing fast food marketers access to children along with a priceless emotional branding opportunity.
By way of example, two of their initiatives.
The first is called, “Get the Ball Rolling” and according to Caren Pasquale Seckler, VP of Social Commitment at The Coca-Cola Company, it was launched because,
“At that time, we made an important decision to take a public stand against obesity. And the reason is simple: Coca-Cola cares about the health and happiness of everyone who drinks our beverages.built on our Company’s global commitments to help fight obesity“
Read about the program on Coca-Cola’s website and you’ll learn that apparently fighting obesity for Coca-Cola means handing out Coca-Cola branded soccer balls, driving traffic to “MyCokeRewards” loyalty program (which no doubt collects personal information, allows for permission marketing, and of course markets their beverages directly), asking people to vote for their favourite national park, and bringing their “Happiness Trucks” to events where kids are apparently placed in giant cans of Coca-Cola to race around in (photo up above). Oh, and of course, Coca-Cola beverages are distributed as noted in this Coca-Cola piece on a Get the Ball Rolling event with the Texas Rangers and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America,
“All Boys & Girls Clubs participants and coaches received a José Guzmán autographed baseball, Powerade t-shirt and goodie bag and Coca-Cola “Open Happiness” soccer ball, along with plenty of Powerade and Powerade Zero.“
Next up is Mixify. Mixify is a joint project between Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association.
The intervention seems geared to directly target teens and teaches them that following sweaty workouts you should eat “whatever you’re craving“,
And at their travelling road show of events, Mixify literally has children “balancing” what they drink with exercise as illustrated by their real life Jenga game.
So what do you think? Helpful altruism, or slick marketing?
Right now, there are a lot of things that make me smile. After all, as long as my children are happy, I feel content. However, we all have bad days— those moments of doubt and insecurities and fear that can take over the mind and put you in a state of complete unhappiness.