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Mars wins NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award

BY Jason Owen

DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. — NASCAR will honor Mars this year with the annual Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 29. Mars and NASCAR represent one of the longest-standing partnerships within the sport with their 23-year relationship.

Spanning multiple activations, Mars has directly engaged race fans, customers and associates through an integrated marketing strategy, including intellectual property, promotions, public relations, B2B, online, broadcast, event marketing and retail.

“Mars’ execution of a fully integrated strategy within NASCAR exemplifies the spirit of the award and has been the catalyst to the brand’s success in the sport,” said Jim O’Connell, chief sales officer for NASCAR. “One of our longest-standing partners took full advantage of its sponsorship, raising the bar with innovative ideas designed to engage our brand-loyal fan base, its associates and ultimately move product off the shelf.”

A recent study found that Mars receives an impressive 4-to-1 return on its investment in NASCAR.

“The NASCAR sponsorship model is driven by brand loyalty, and Mars has been behind the wheel of a best-in-class partnership,” said William Clements, VP sponsorships and sports marketing for Mars Chocolate North America. “Our successes have been led by innovation that extends to customers, consumers and associates, and capitalizes on NASCAR’s broad fan base that represents approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population. We are honored by this award and continue to see the strength and growth of our partnership with NASCAR.”

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Quill.com expands ‘Dunder Mifflin’ product line

BY Jason Owen

LINCOLNSHIRE, Il. — In late 2011, Quill.com began offering Dunder Mifflin paper as part of an innovative licensing agreement with NBCUniversal. The program was a huge success, and now Quill is looking to expand "The Office" product line to feature several more items.

Going beyond the simple office paper the fictional show promotes, Quill.com will offer several new office products they hope will add "humor and levity" to any office environment, said Sergio Pereira, VP merchandising at Quill.com.

The items are adorned with slogans inspired by the hit TV show, such as "Quabity First" and "Look Busy. Take Notes." New items available include Sharpies, Self-Stick Notes, premium facial tissue boxes, coffee cups, storage boxes and legal pads.

The items are currently available for pre-order on Quill.com and will begin shipping in December and January.

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CVS Caremark offers to buy back $1B in senior notes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced on Monday that it has commenced tender offers to refinance a portion of its debt.

The company has commenced cash tender offers for any and all of the 6.6% senior notes due 2019 and up to a maximum amount of the 6.125% senior notes due 2016 and 5.75% senior notes due 2017 such that the aggregate principal amount of the maximum tender offer notes tendered and accepted for purchase is equal to $1 billion less the aggregate principal amount of the any and all notes tendered and accepted for purchase. 

"This tender offer allows us to take advantage of the current favorable interest rate environment," stated Dave Denton, EVP and CFO. "We expect to record a one-time expense in the fourth quarter of 2012 related to the tender. We also expect to extend a portion of our debt at lower rates, which will reduce our interest expense going forward."

In separate company news, Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark president and CEO, issued on Wednesday the following statement regarding the fiscal cliff: "CVS Caremark customers are the hard-working American families who are making decisions now about how to budget for the holidays and early next year. Their confidence has already been tested by persistent high unemployment and fragile economic growth. Our customers want to know that our leaders in Washington are working on their behalf to solve the real problems facing America."

"CVS Caremark is pleased that policy-makers of both parties appear committed to working together to avert the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ and focus on pragmatic, sensible solutions. What America and American families need now is follow-through.

"CVS Caremark urges President Obama and Congress to work together, on a bipartisan basis, to enact tax reform that spurs economic growth, entitlement reform that preserves America’s safety net for future generations and sound fiscal policy that sets the stage for long-term growth and job creation."

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