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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:
Advanced Digital Data (ADD)
The supplier of software solutions to the convenience store and energy distribution industry held its largest-ever user conference in May at the Boardwalk Inn Resort at Walt Disney World. The 2017 Business Tech Conference had record attendance, with companies from across the United States, ranging in size from one to more than 100 retail locations.
The event kicked off with the ADD User Group (AUG) meeting.
"The enthusiasm at the conference made it clear that our clients find great value in being part of this group," said Rob Culbertson, chief operating officer and senior vice president of ADD Systems. "Both the AUG and ADD Systems see tremendous benefit in the group helping to steer our product development."
The rest of the conference included a variety of sessions about software announcements, client best practices, new products and vendor partner applications. ADD Systems also provided Ask-the-Expert stations, and attendees had the opportunity to visit with 19 vendor partners.
Corona Extra partnered with Texas Athletics to become the official sponsor of the University of Texas Longhorns. The brand's "Horns up, Limes In!" marketing efforts and sponsorship assets include access to the university's football, basketball and baseball programs; a responsible drinking campaign; hospitality; tickets; media exposure on the Longhorn Network; and access to the "Texas Exes" alumni community.
Corona also has use of university trademarks for use in certain point-of-sale, social, digital and other advertising materials.
"There really isn't anything more emblematic of the state of Texas than the storied history of the four-time football national champion Texas Longhorns," said John Alvarado, vice president of marketing for Corona Extra. "Corona is honored to be a part of the legendary Longhorns lore, and we're excited to raise our Coronas and Hook 'em Horns this season as part of a statewide platform."
Before each home football game this year, fans of legal drinking age can get ready to cheer on the Longhorns with the brand's activation experience at the Corona Beach House located near the stadium. The Corona-branded experience includes fun photo opportunities with Corona's iconic giant Adirondack chair.
GasBuddy and WEX Inc., a provider of corporate payment solutions, have formed a strategic partnership focused on the retail gasoline market for consumers.
The partnership will focus on innovations that bring added convenience and savings to drivers that fill up at retail gasoline stations, and represents a continued focus by WEX to expand the company's offering to the business to business to consumer (B2B2C) space, the companies said.
An announcement on the progress of the partnership toward consumer-facing payments solutions is expected later this year.
"WEX is keen to develop new opportunities that leverage our massive advantage in infrastructure and payments expertise to open new markets," said Nicola Morris, senior vice president of corporate development at WEX. "We are excited to partner with GasBuddy to explore bringing new levels of convenience and value to the marketplace."
Hunt Brothers Pizza
Hunt Brothers Pizza will pay tribute to its first year in NASCAR with a throwback paint scheme on the No. 41 Ford Mustang Kevin Harvick will drive during the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Sept. 2 at South Carolina's Darlington Raceway. The car will feature red and white ribbon accents mirroring the brand's former pizza shoppe design.
"Hunt Brothers Pizza has been a proud sponsor of NASCAR drivers for 10 seasons. Participating in the Darlington throwback weekend is incredibly exciting and brings back very humbling memories," said Scott Hunt, CEO of Hunt Brothers Pizza. "Everyone remembers their first NASCAR race, and to have this paint scheme back on the track makes us reminisce about ours. What incredible experiences we have had along the way with so many great drivers, teams and partners. We are truly thankful and blessed."
The 2017 scheme was inspired by Hunt Brothers Pizza's No. 70 car, which debuted at the 2008 Talladega Superspeedway for what was then Haas CNC Racing, the precursor to Stewart-Haas Racing.
"We love that the Hunt Brothers Pizza throwback scheme is celebrating NASCAR roots. When I look at this car, I am instantly reminded of our first race together back in 2008 under the Haas name," said Gene Haas, co-owner and founder of Stewart-Haas Racing.
In addition to its throwback paint scheme, Hunt Brothers Pizza is offering its fans the opportunity to win throwback-themed T-shirts and hats and to request a limited-edition throwback hero card. All items are available in limited quantities and for a limited time.
Artisanal-style protein snack brand KRAVE Jerky launched its first-ever national ad campaign in July. It includes KRAVE's first television ads on a mix of cable, prime cable and sports channels that are designed to capture the "KRAVE Better" spirit.
The campaign seeks to share the KRAVE aesthetic and messaging that highlights the brand's culinary roots as well as the unique ingredients and and high-quality sources of protein that go into every KRAVE product, from the original KRAVE Jerky to the more recent KRAVE Stick and KRAVE Bar, according to the company.
The new ads will be disseminated through a fully integrated campaign with multiple touch points via television, digital video, print, social media, field marketing and influencer programming.
In April, MasterCard unveiled a next-generation biometric card that combines chip technology with fingerprints to conveniently and safely verify the cardholder's identity for in-store purchases.
South Africa is the first market to test the evolved technology. Two separate trials recently concluded with Pick n Pay, a leading supermarket retailer, and Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa.
The new card builds on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments today and can be used at EMV terminals worldwide, the company said.
"Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics," said Ajay Bhalla, president, enterprise risk and security, MasterCard. "Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It's not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected."
Cardholders enroll their card by registering with their financial institution. Upon registration, their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. The card is then ready to be used at any EMV card terminal globally.
Tecate launched the "Claim Your Corner" retail promotion running July 1 to Aug. 31, leading up to the up to the championship boxing bout between world No. 1 "Golden Boy" Canelo Alvarez and Gennady "GGG" Golovkin.
The on- and off-premise promotion captures all the excitement of the ultimate showdown as it engages boxing fans and beer drinkers nationwide, the company said.
Specially marked packages give consumers a code that provides a chance to win Tecate merchandise and boxing gear, as well as tickets to the ultimate boxing experience on Sept. 16 in Las Vegas. The promotion is designed to generate consideration and engagement amongst the primary Tecate consumer, Hispanic beer drinkers.
"Passion for boxing comes together with passion for Tecate to make this a truly unique and exciting program for the retailers who support it and the consumers who participate," said Gustavo Guerra, brand director of Tecate. "With Tecate Light the fastest growing light beer brand in the U.S. amongst beers in its category, the expectation and anticipation is sky high!"
Those who watch boxing two-times more than the average consumer and purchase pay-per-view fights four-times more versus the rest of the population. Additionally, Tecate consumers are over 20 percent more likely to watch boxing versus the leading domestic brand, the company stated.
"Claim Your Corner" is a fully integrated marketing program that works at multiple levels to drive consumer engagement and retail sales. Consumer advertising drives awareness with a heavy focus on video featuring Sylvester Styllone. Point-of-sale and special fight thematic packaging will be used to secure in-store features and displays.
Visa launched a major effort to encourage businesses to go cashless through the Visa Cashless Challenge.
Seeking to create a culture where cash is no longer king, the program gives merchants increased ability to accept all forms of global payment. Visa will encourage and help merchants to go cashless by using innovation to their advantage in order to stay competitively connected to their customers, the company said.
Through the Cashless Challenge, Visa is issuing a call to action for small business restaurants, cafés or food truck owners to describe what cashless means for them, their employees and customers. It will award up to $500,000 to 50 eligible U.S.-based small business foodservice owners who commit to joining the 100 percent cashless quest.
"At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever — whether it's a phone, card, wearable or other device," said Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions, Visa Inc. "With 70 percent of the world, or more than 5 billion people, connected via mobile device by 2021, we have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless."
Visa will also demonstrate the benefits of going cashless and by tapping into its sponsorship as the official payment partner of Formula E to offer cashless, digital payment acceptance at the first-ever Formula E race in Brooklyn, the New York City ePrix.