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Nabisco sponsors Roush team, launches new marketing campaign

BY Diana Alickaj

BOSTON Kraft’s Nabisco brand is extending its involvement in the racing industry to include a sponsorship with Roush Fenway Racing.

Kraft’s Ritz cracker has been named the “official cracker of NASCAR” and will be sponsoring the “Race to win a Ride” sweepstakes promotion, starting this month and running through September. Five winners have a chance to win a trip to the Sprint Cup Series Championship Weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, and one of the five will also win a 2009 Ford racing-equipped Mustang V6 sports car.

Roush Fenway racing is a division of New England Sports Ventures. The sweepstakes are tied to Ford Racing Technology; Roush is using Ford’s Fusion car for its NASCAR program.

The marketing campaign for Ritz will include print, TV, radio and Internet ads, and will also be involve themes in their product packaging and in-store displays. Driver Matt Kenseth will have the Ritz logo on his car while racing the Daytona 500, and specially marked packages of Ritz will include cut-outs of the Ritz NASCAR car on its back panels.

Another goal for this national campaign for Ritz is to simply get people interested in the sport of racing in New England. According to published reports, the NESV wants to attract Red Sox fans to their races using a wide range of promotions and advertising, and through their favorite baseball team. This year, NESV’s Fenway Sports group will market NASCAR in Fenway Park, by putting a Red Sox car on the park during major events. According to Mark Lev, executive vice president of Fenway Sports Group, “We have had Roush Fenway Racing signage as part of a wide range of marketing activity going on to familiarize New Englanders, and Sox fans, with NASCAR and the brand.”

For more information, or to see the ads that are being used in this year’s NASCAR campaign please visit Kraftfoods.com and Fordracing.com.

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Rafael Roman appointed New York metro region sales manager of Purple

BY Jenna Duncan

Rafael Roman appointed New York metro region sales manager of Purple The maker of Purple antioxidant energy drink, Purple Beverage Co., this week announced the staff addition of Rafael Roman as New York Metropolitan Area regional sales manager. Roman comes to Purple after spending several years as territory manager with POM Wonderful.

At POM Wonderful, Roman handled numerous accounts, introduced new brands and packaging to accounts and supervised sales personnel.

Prior to serving at POM, Roman was distribution supervisor and business development manager at Odwalla (owned by The Coca Cola Co.).

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Coca-Cola purchases 40 percent stake in Honest Tea

BY Drew Buono

ATLANTA Coca-Cola and Honest Tea have completed an agreement that gives Coca-Cola about a 40 percent interest in Honest Tea, with the potential to buy the remaining shares of the company. The current deal was valued at $43 million with the right to purchase the rest of the company in three years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Honest Tea has been around for 10 years and has produced organic beverages, which have brought it into being one of the top-ranked tea brands in the natural foods channel, according to SPINscan.

“Honest Tea is on the forefront of the rapidly growing organic beverage business, and [founder and chief executive officer] Seth Goldman and his management team have successfully anticipated and met consumer needs in this expanding category,” said Deryck van Rensburg, president and general manager of venturing and emerging brands at Coca-Cola North America. “This transaction is a superb example of our mission in venturing and emerging brands to seek out and invest in the best beverage entrepreneurs and the highest growth-potential beverages.”

One of the company’s newest products is Honest Kids, a line of low-calorie organic thirst quenchers sold in 6.75-ounce pouches, which was launched last year.

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