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NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.
Here are the latest supplier spotlights:
As the "King of Beers," Budweiser is in search of the tastiest partner to be its king of burgers. On April 7, National Beer Day, Budweiser launched a national competition to find the Bud & Burgers Champion through a coast-to-coast tour with the help of award-winning chef David Chang.
"Both burgers and beer are experiencing a renaissance of sorts," said Chang, who is well-known for elevating classic dishes and for his love of lagers. "I love that there's nothing pretentious about the combination — it just works. A full-flavored lager brings out the taste of a savory burger."
The winner of the Bud & Burgers Championship will win $100,000 to support their culinary ambitions and be invited to compete in a new cooking competition series with the working title, "United States of Burger," which will premiere on the Esquire Network.
Burger enthusiasts aged 21 and older can submit a video or photo at www.Budweiser.com/Burgers showing their burger and explaining why they should be the 2015 Bud & Burgers Champion. Semi-finalists will compete head-to-head at 10 nationwide Bud & Burgers Championship events hosted at several large summer festivals. The competition's finale will take place at the Budweiser Brewery in St. Louis on July 11, where Chang and Budweiser's brewmasters will judge the final event.
Bazooka Candy Brands
Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of Topps Co., is giving Bazooka Joe a makeover with the help of four top artists who are developing potential new looks for the gum mascot. Designs will be shared weekly at www.bazookajoe.com, where fans will be able to weigh in and vote for their favorite. Fans who visit the site can also enter for a chance to win one-of-a-kind, Joe-branded gear such as gaming consoles, skate decks and more.
The promotion runs through May 31, and the reimagined Bazooka Joe will be unveiled in June, with new comics and jokes to come later in 2015. It is supported by a national broadcast campaign, digital promotion and social promotion.
"Bazooka Joe is an American icon and important part of our brand's heritage. Over the past two years, as we have evolved the brand, consumers have responded — and sales have surged," said Nicole Rivera, senior brand manager, Bazooka Candy Brands. "Reimagining Bazooka Joe was the ultimate step in the Bazooka brand revitalization and we expect to see continued growth and excitement as a result. And honestly, who better to help us than our loyal Bazooka Bubble Gum fans?"
The artists assisting with Bazooka Joe's redesign include Benjamin Balistreri ("How to Train Your Dragon"), Robert Lilly (Nickelodeon Animation Studios), Ben Reynolds ("Ghostbusters" and "Monster Pet Shop" mobile games) and Victor Instrasomnbat ("Clockwork Animation").
Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Dr Pepper is inviting viewers of the Telemundo network to "Try Something New" through a new campaign that includes on-air integration with popular hosts and celebrities. The campaign targets U.S. Hispanic millennials with the goal of building their brand awareness for Dr Pepper.
The on-air component of the "Atrévete A" ("Dare To") campaign consists of branded segments during celebrity chat show "Suelta La Sopa" ("Spill the Beans"). Celebrity guests, along with hosts Jorge Bernal and Erika de La Vega, will attempt unusual or challenging feats they have always wanted to try, starting with Bernal riding a mechanical bull. "Daring Moments of the Week" editorial segments will also appear on the show, along with custom videos that air during commercial time and cross-promotional segments on other Telemundo series. NBC Universo will air promotions as well.
The campaign's online component invites viewers to participate in a photo contest in which they share a photo of themselves with the Dr Pepper logo and write a caption describing something they have always wanted to try. The winner will fly to Miami to perform the dare on the set of "Suelta La Sopa." Custom-branded digital content will also appear on the show's Facebook page and on Telemundo.com.
Mars Chocolate North America
After five years of the Snickers campaign that proves "You're Not You When You're Hungry," Mars Chocolate flipped the concept around and invited fans to share who they are when they're hungry for the chance to win $50,000 and "take over" the Snickers YouTube homepage for a day.
Fans in the United States could enter by uploading photos or videos, or by pulling content in from Facebook or Instagram, through April 17. People will now be able to vote online for their favorites among 10 finalists from May 11 through July 15. Fans can also visit the Snickers "Who Are You When You're Hungry?" meme generator at snickersmeme.com and share their hungry identity using the hashtag #eatasnickers.
As part of the campaign, World Wrestling Entertainment star Roman Reigns shared his hunger alter-ego by expressing uncertainty before the biggest match of his life and wondering why he and his opponent can't "just get along" in a video on the official Snickers YouTube page.
"Roman, like all WWE Superstars, has a larger-than-life personality, so he was the perfect partner to showcase the dramatic effects of hunger," said Allison Miazga-Bedrick, director of the Snickers brand. "Hopefully millions of fans will follow Roman's lead and share their hunger alter-egos with us as part of our unique contest."
In a separate move, Mars Chocolate is bringing the Milky Way candy bar back to TV advertising for the first time in six years with its "Sorry I Was Eating a Milky Way" campaign, which originally launched in late 2012.
Three new video spots position the caramel, chocolate and nougat of a Milky Way bar as the ultimate distraction and feature traditionally detail-focused professionals, such as hair stylists, tattoo artists and ship captains, making comical mistakes while they're engrossed in enjoying their Milky Way bar.
"We're very excited to bring this powerful creative and overall campaign messaging to life in our return to television," said Bedrick, who is also director of the Milky Way brand. "The new videos really capture the fully involved experience of eating a Milky Way, so much so that all other details of the world around you no longer matter at that moment."