Quaker Oats begins its new partnership with the NFL by living out its ‘nutritious start to the day’ message and serving nourishing oatmeal breakfasts at the NFLs ‘Play 60 Youth Football Festival’.
Quaker Oats, one of 22 brands generating $1bn plus annually within the $65bn PepsiCo empire, becomes an NFL league sponsor in the new 2012/13 season. Pepsi has a long standing relationship with the NFL and as the new ‘Official Hot Cereal Sponsor Of The NFL’ Quaker Oats has been quick out of the blocks by leveraging its rights at this Youth Football Festival that coincides with this year’s NFL Draft on 26 April.
The two day NFL festival aims to help children and youth learn about healthy approaches to both eating and exercise both on and off the field. It is part of the wider NFL 60 initiative which is based around the objective of tackling youth obesity and is a key part of the NFL’s long standing commitment to health and wellness in tandem with its partner organisations.
This kick-off event certainly dovetails with the umbrella approach Quaker Oats has said it will take to its NFL partnership this season – one that is focused on helping families live healthier lifestyles through a combination of physical activity and healthier food.
The breakfast cereal brand’s activation message is built upon expert opinion that eating a nutritious breakfast each day lays the foundation for a healthier lifestyle not only for that day but providing lifelong health benefits.
As part of its ongoing activation, Quaker aims to reach out to football fans and young players through both in-school and retail programming in order to raise awareness of eating healthy, whole grain breakfasts.
At this New York based event, which is running alongside the 2012 Draft, alongside league and its new hot breakfast cereal sponsor representatives, top draft prospect and leading quarterback pick, Andrew Luck (Stanford), was on hand to motivate and help educate young athletes about choosing wholesome and healthy foods.
“I make a hearty breakfast, like oatmeal, part of my morning routine to help me fuel up for the day,’” said Luck. “I’m happy to see the NFL and Quaker team up to help teach families about the powerful combination of good nutrition and physical fitness.”
The NFL’s Play 60 initiative is implemented locally as part of the league’s in-school, after-school and youth-team based programmes.
It was first launched back in 2007 and since then the NFL has committed more thasn $250m in youth health and fitness schemes through programming, grants, media time for related public service announcements as well as experiential educational events such as this Play 60 scheme.
Within the wider programme, the league has built more than 120 NFL Youth Fitness Zones and organised more than 1,500 Play 60 local youth events. Its initiative has been integrated in to more than 77,000 schools across the USA.
“Powering up with wholesome foods and staying active are two key components that contribute to healthy living – athletes and families alike,” said Quaker Oats chief marketing office Justin Lambeth. “Quaker is proud to team up with the NFL and proud to serve Andrew Luck breakfast as he gears up for the draft by sharing his healthy habits with kids at Play 60.”
While we never like to hear a brand talking about ‘being proud of sponsoring’ any property (surely they have something more genuine and engaging to say than that?), we do admire to speed at which both new partner and new star athlete have begun their life in the NFL sphere.
Neither new sponsor Quaker Oats, not soon-to-be new player Luck wasted any time before throwing themselves into the NFL marketing machine. Indeed, in Luck’s case he has begun his professional career as a brand endorser before he has even been drafted as a professional NBA player.
Bearing that in mind, it is sensible that both have kicked off with a corporate social responsibility campaign – a local community event for health benefits. Even the most cynical of consumers will find it hard to pass judgement about the overt commercialisation of NFL players before they have even signed up to the league when they begin with a good cause campaign such as this.
This is just one of several pieces of enthusiastic NFL partner and media sponsor activation based around the NFL Draft. It would be a surprise if the big European football leagues and media partners, like the EPL and Sky, didn’t look on at how sponsors leverage the NFL Draft and wonder how they could possible attract that kind of traction during their own ‘transfer window’.