Guacamole tends to be pigeon-holed as a party food, but Wholly Guacamole is out to make it part of everyday meals, as well.
Not that there's anything wrong with parties. In fact, one of the first moves that Texas-based, privately held parent company Fresherized Foods made after changing the brand's name (from Avoclassic) three years ago was to become a Dallas Cowboys sponsor -- a good way to ensure being included in game-viewing get-togethers. The Cowboys' logo on the guacamole's distinctive box packaging boosted sales 35%, according to Fresherized's Marketing VP, Tracey Altman.
This year, Wholly -- the #1 guacamole, according to Nielsen -- is looking to see similar success with a New York Yankees sponsorship. "We have significant distribution in the New York market, but not much brand recognition," Altman notes.
Now, the brand-building is being expanded to "lifestyle" sponsorships, starting with Six Flags Entertainment, whose 19 theme parks in North America and Mexico attract 25 million visitors annually.
Effective at U.S. locations, the partnership starts with Six Flags offering a Wholly Guacamole Burger. The item is featured on digital menu boards, counter cards and other signage, and street signs at all locations. Eating guacamole on a burger is a new idea to many, and "once people eat something outside of the house, they tend to mimic that behavior at home, and say, 'Let's try that for dinner tonight,'" explains Altman.
The parks are also serving nacho platters featuring the brand's newly launched 100-calorie guacamole and 50-calorie salsa snack packs, and distributing coupons for the packs on designated days. Altman says this is generating significant exposure for these new products, another objective of the partnership.
The third goal -- to grab female shoppers' attention in-store -- is being achieved with specially marked 7- and 14-ounce guacamole boxes bearing a coupon that entitles the bearer to get a Six Flags general admission at the price of a child's ticket through October.
A banner ad for the promotion on the Six Flags site drove 12,000 consumers to the Wholly Guacamole site during July, according to Altman. Other support includes email blasts to both brands' registrants and a promotion on its Facebook page in which consumers who post photos of themselves eating a Wholly burger or nachos at the parks are entered in a sweeps for chances to win free Six Flags passes and VIP treatment (they also get Wholly coupons). Wholly is also testing mobile texting to drive the sweeps entries.
The guacamole is not inexpensive (it retails for $5 in some markets), and its target audience is moms age 35 and up in households with incomes of $75,000 and up. For Six Flags, the brand's quality helps enhance the park experience, according to David McKillips, SVP corporate alliances for the company's Media Networks division.
Later this month, Wholly will also officially unveil a new partnership with ABC-Disney in which its boxes will bear a promotion for a $10 rebate on purchases of DVD sets of last season's "Desperate Housewives" and "Cougar Town," Altman revealed.