The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.
Heinz Field gives Kraft Heinz huge name recognition during Steelers games with those massive "pouring" ketchup bottles, among other signage. Just don't expect to eat one of the company's Oscar Mayer hot dogs there. The Smith Provision Company, a much smaller hot dog maker, has a new three-year deal kicking off Thursday making its products the hot dog and kielbasa of Heinz Field. The Smith's brand will have signage in the stadium and sponsor Steelers game broadcasts, website promotions and product giveaways. It was not immediately clear which dogs the Steelers previously sold, and Kraft Heinz declined to comment. The Pittsburgh Steelers did not respond to a request for comment. Smith, based a couple of hours away in Erie, Pa., said its products were already the official hot dog and kielbasa of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Jack and Coke have long been cocktail partners -- and apparently the two brands score equally high when it comes to patriotism. Coca-Cola and Jack Daniel's tied for No. 5 on a new ranking of the 50 most patriotic U.S. brands. The consumer survey was conducted by Brand Keys, a global research consultancy specializing in brand loyalty and emotional consumer engagement. Tying for No. 1 were Jeep and Disney, followed by Levi Strauss, Ralph Lauren and Ford.
Speaking of America, we've written a lot lately about the red,white and blue packaging U.S. brands are using to connote patriotic pride this summer. Now, one brand is going purple. Bob Evans Farms has teamed up with actor Gary Sinise and his foundation to honor people serving in the U.S.military. As part of the "Our Farm Salutes" campaign, for the first time Bob Evans replaced its white paint and red logo on its barn with a purple design to symbolize and honor every branch of service. The barn design by Scott Hagan and David Browning will be on the barn through Veteran's Day. The restaurant chain and packaged food marketer is also featuring the purple barn and Mr. Sinise's group on its packaging and donating $200,000 and thousands of meals to support the Gary Sinise Foundation's Serving Heroes program, which provides meals to the military, veterans and their families. Four agencies worked on the project: Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM) for online engagement, Geometry Global on brand media, Chesapeake Group on package design and Pollack PR Marketing Group on PR and media relations.
Diageo is about to launch a sobering virtual marketing play. The liquor giant is developing a VR program that simulates what it is like to be a passenger in a drunk driving crash. "We believe that virtual reality technology provides a powerful new opportunity to emphasize the importance of celebrating responsibly," James Thompson, Diageo North America's chief marketing and innovation officer, said in a statement today. "Enabling people to experience what it's like to be the passenger in a car being driven by a drunk driver may resonate more with participants than disturbing statistics and crash photos." The project is being overseen by Diageo's digital and technology partnerships teams and digital agency VaynerMedia.
Think laundry products are just commodities? Actually they're hot enough to become targets of counterfeiters who've tired of selling Rolexes or designer handbags. In a testament to their brand power, or maybe just the price and ease of counterfeiting, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tide, Gain and Downy were at the center of a recent major Los Angeles counterfeiting bust, chronicled by ABC News, complete with undercover footage shot by P&G investigators. A P&G spokeswoman says the problem began escalating about a year ago, fueled by distribution of counterfeit goods in social media. A member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department counterfeit and piracy team says selling fake Tide might be as lucrative as selling heroin, but with far less risk. P&G has even found church fundraisers based on selling fake Tide, ABC News reports. One dead giveaway: Product being sold in five-gallon buckets. P&G doesn't sell any of its laundry products in such packages.
Vita Coco is known for its coconut water. But the brand also started selling coconut oil about a year ago. And now the skincare product has a big-name spokeswoman. Model Chrissy Teigen has signed up to back the brand, Vita Coco announced today. "Chrissy cracks us up with everything she does on social media and she knows a thing or two about making great food and taking care of your body," VP of Marketing Charles Van Es said in a statement. Ms. Teigen's latest social media attention-grabber came this week, when she started a social media war between blender brands. US Weekly has more on that.
Lastly, we have one executive move to report this week. YMCA of the USA has appointed Valerie
Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jessica Wohl, Jack Neff