By Barry Janoff
January 30, 2014: Skittles has been getting a lot of attention of late via Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, a devoted Skittles fan whose love of the goodies led to an endorsement deal and a lot of Super Bowl related hype.
Riding that popularity, Skittles' parent company Wrigley (a division of Mars, Inc.) said the brand and its tag line, "Taste the Rainbow," would return to the Nascar Sprint Cup Series for the first time in ten years as part of Mars, Inc.’s longtime partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing.
The Skittles No. 18 Camry will take the track for two Nascar Sprint Cup Series races this season, piloted by Kyle Busch on March 2 at Phoenix International Speedway and March 16 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
“I am honored to help Skittles make a comeback to the Nascar Sprint Cup Series,” Busch said in a statement. “Skittles was one of my favorite candies growing up and still is today, so I am thrilled to be driving the Skittles paint scheme this season.”
Skittles siblings already aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing include M&M’S, Doublemint and Snickers.
“We’re proud to bring one of America’s most iconic candy brands back to Nascar and eager to see what victories ‘The Rainbow’ brings this season as Kyle Busch takes the wheel of the Skittles No. 18 Camry,” John Starkey, sr. director of confections for Wm. Wrigley Co., said in a statement “Sometimes ‘The Rainbow’ likes to mix things up and now seemed like a great time for Skittles to return to the track to have some fun.”
Skittles made its Nascar debut in 1998 in partnership with MB2 Motorsports with the No. 36 Pontiac and driver Derrike Cope. In 1999, Ernie Irvan drove the Skittles No. 36 Pontiac, according to Wrigley.
In addition to Lynch, who said he has been eating the candy since he was a kid, and officially signed an endorsement deal with them this week, Skittles now has a second NFL connection. Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs is a three-time Super Bowl winner as head coach of the Washington Redskins and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In unveiling its alliance with Lynch, Skittles offered, "The unfolding love story between Marshawn, his fans and Skittles has been an incredible and well-documented ride. We're thrilled to have a deal in place with Marshawn."
Among other activations during Super Bowl XLVIII week, Skittles is auctioning off “Seattle Mix,” a limited-edition flavor mix (not available in stores) featuring the team’s iconic blue and green colors., is auctioning off three one-of-a-kind football-inspired Skittles-covered items (pictured) and said it would donate $10,000 to the Fam 1st Family Foundation for every touchdown Lynch scores.
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