PepsiCo Extends Its Alliance With MLB, Adds Brands, Harper To Marketing Mix
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 05:08PM in Bryce Harper, Gatorade, MLB, MLB, Pepsi, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

April 2, 2014: PepsiCo, which has been an official partner of Major League Baseball for more than 15 years, said it has signed a multi-year pact to extend and enhance its relationship with MLB.

As part of the sponsorship, PepsiCo maintains "exclusive rights within the non-alcoholic beverage, sports fuel and salty snack categories to use MLB marks and logos."

In addition, PepsiCo said it has alliances with more than half of the MLB teams and has more than a dozen MLB athletes as marketing endorsers.

PepsiCo brands named as official MLB sponsors include Pepsi, Gatorade, Aquafina, Frito-Lay Seeds, Cracker Jack and Lay's. Financial terms were not disclosed.

PepsiCo said it would continue to "create local and national MLB fan marketing programs, integrate into the league's TV assets, work with the league's mobile and digital properties through its long-standing partnership with MLB Advanced Media, produce retail promotional opportunities with its customers and activate at marquee MLB events" such as the All-Star Game and World Series.

"MLB is a terrific PepsiCo partner and provides a strong platform to activate our food and beverage brands in ways that benefit the League, our retail customers and baseball fans across the country," Jennifer Storms, svp-global sports marketing for PepsiCo, said in a statement "Opening Day marks the start of a busy selling season for many PepsiCo brands and we're delighted to continue our relationship with one of the world's most iconic sports properties."

Included in new marketing will be a campaign from Gatorade to support the launch of its Fierce subline starring Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, who has just signed as a brand endorser.

Pepsi will unveil "For the Thrill of the Game"  under its umbrella "Live for Now" campaign, which will focus on the "excitement and passion" that baseball fans have for the game. Aquafina will add to its destination as the "official water of Major League Baseball" by becoming the "official sponsor of the Seventh Inning Stretch," with support that includes on-package promotions.

Frito-Lay brands, including Lay's, Cracker Jack and Frito-Lay Sunflower Seeds will have sampling and other promotional efforts throughout the season. Frito-Lay will also develop team specific POP displays in select markets where it has a team sponsorship, according to the company.

According to Tim Brosnan, evp-business for MLB, "PepsiCo has been a tremendous supporter of Major League Baseball for nearly two decades. PepsiCo will enhance the fan experience at the ballpark and at retail with promotions across its food and beverage portfolio. As one of baseball's great rising stars, Bryce Harper is a perfect selection by Gatorade as a brand endorser."

"PepsiCo will enhance the fan experience at the ballpark and at retail with promotions across its food and beverage portfolio."

The push comes on the heels of what PepsiCo called the launch of the "biggest worldwide, integrated marketing campaign" for its Global Snacks Group. The Lay's brand push stars soccer icon Lionel Messi and will lead to the FIFA World Cup in June-July (for which rival Coca-Cola is an official marketing partner). Elements include TV, out-of-home, POP, Internet, social media and packaging with Messi's image. (See the full spot here.)

“We are proud to deliver the first-ever global equity integrated marketing campaign for Lay’s using the universally beloved game of football as our backdrop,”  Lorraine Chow Hansen, president, PepsiCo Global Snacks Group, said in a statement.

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