Kraft Foods' string cheeses -- branded Polly-O on the East Coast and Kraft elsewhere in the country -- are teaming with Six Flags Entertainment Corp. for a multiplatform "Twisted Fun" promotion this summer.
The promotion also brings in a sustainability element, through a partnership with the TerraCycle, Inc. "upcycling" company.
The "twisted family fun" angle ties in both with the "Twists" variety of the cheeses (mozzarella and cheddar cheeses twisted together) and high-visibility promotional signage throughout a twisting rollercoaster ride in each park (even the ride's cars are wrapped with the brand's messaging).
Special bags of the cheeses now in stores feature discount offers for Six Flags tickets, earned by bringing these (empty) bags to any of Six Flags' 17 U.S. parks between May 15 and Aug. 31. (Six Flags' parks in Mexico City and Montreal are not included in this promotion.)
Polly-O packages are good for one free kids' (under 10 years) ticket with the purchase of a general admission ticket on weekdays (up to a $34.99 value), or $15 off general admission on any day. Kraft packages are good for $15 off general admission on any day.
In addition, there will be in-park couponing activities, and purchase of any kids' meal at the parks will come with a free sample of one of the cheese brands (brand determined by the park's location). Across its 19 parks, Six Flags serves more than 250,000 kids' meals annually, according to Six Flags Entertainment VP Jeff Portugal.
In East Coast parks, there will be appearances by the Polly-O parrot mascot character. The parrot -- not seen in recent years -- is now being revived because of older consumers' fond memories of it and to enhance the brand's personality, reports Sam Garfinkel, senior associate brand manager for the Kraft and Polly-O string cheeses.
While the Kraft string cheeses obviously have built-in brand recognition, Polly-O is looking to build a stronger identity. And like a number of other smaller brands within Kraft's portfolio, it is employing new tactical strategies to "drive business forward," says Garfinkel -- in this case, with emphasis on non-traditional outlets or programs, with Six Flags being the major one at present. "If this drives volume, we'll look at continuing or expanding" such programs, Garfinkel adds.
The promotion is being supported by branded advertising across the Six Flags Media Networks, including commercials on the Six Flags TV out-of-home television network. In-park network advertising elements include digital TV screens, a jumbo digital screen at park entrances, and digital billboards and menu boards, says Portugal, who points out that Six Flags does numerous branded programs through its Corporate Alliances division.
The string cheese brands did advertising "takeovers" of the SixFlags. com home page during the last two weeks of April, and continue to run banner ads about the promotion on the site (which draws 225 million visitors annually), reports Portugal.
The promotion also includes a "Twisted Adventure" sweepstakes, in which one family at each park will win 20 one-day general admission tickets to the park of their choice -- including exclusive access to the Kraft-brand-dominated rollercoaster for the winning group, according to Portugal. The sweeps, ending June 30, can be entered online at SixFlags.com/twistedsweeps.
The promotion is also being supported through Kraft's Facebook and Twitter accounts, and through outreach to mommy bloggers, says Garfinkel.
A critical element, of course, is in-store promotion. For this initiative, the cheese brands are providing an online tool kit for retailers that provides various signage and display options, enabling them to tailor their own in-store promotional approaches, Garfinkel reports.
In addition, the program will have exposure on the social media network of TerraCycle -- which will be collecting the empty bags and recycling them through a process in which the pelletized resulting materials are used to make affordable, eco-friendly items such as park benches, picnic tables, plastic plywood, trash cans and planting pots, explains Albe Zakes, TerraCycle global VP, media.
The string cheeses and other Kraft brands such as Capri Sun and Nabisco also participate in separate programs in which schools and community nonprofits can earn two cents per bag returned to TerraCycle and use the funds to support their activities, Zakes notes.