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Super Bowl Wannabes

Promo, February 01, 2007

By Amy Johannes

Don't have the millions it takes to buy a Super Bowl spot or a tie-in to the Big Game?

No worries.

A little creative copywriting can do the trick.

Non-sponsors are stealing some of the glow by using words like the "Big Game," "Halftime" and other language that references Super Bowl XLI.

Scott Tissue, for example, has revived its Great Halftime Flush campaign with football legend Mike Ditka.

Positioned as a public service announcement, an online video states that 90 million toilets will flush during halftime, wreaking havoc on water pipes. Ditka tells people how to choose the proper toilet paper to avoid a mishap.

Scott is also asking consumers to recount their worst clogged-toilet disasters in its Share Your Cloggiest Moment contest through Feb. 18. Stories can be submitted to for a chance at $25,000.

"It's the time of year where everybody is focused on one thing, and that is the Big Game," says Mwanza Lumumba, associate brand manager for Scott Tissue at Kimberly-Clark Scott Tissue. "It's not about trying to latch on to a property. It's more about timing."

The promotion is being supported by online materials. GMR Marketing, New Berlin, WI, is handling the contest.

"A company can talk up the Big Game or this weekend's event and not use the words 'Super Bowl' and they can get away with it," adds William Chipps, senior editor with the IEG Sponsorship Report. "As long as they don't refer to the event itself or call themselves an official sponsor when they're not, they are for the most part in the clear."

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, which promotes dairy products, has found its own way to get around its lack of connection with the National Football League. It has launched Playoff Payoff, a trivia-based game, in partnership with Nonni's, the maker of New York Style Bagel Chips and Pita Crisps.

Consumers enter UPC codes on packages of Wisconsin cheese products at or and answer questions for a chance to win $100,000.

In addition, the board sent FSIs last month to 46 million households, and has set up P-O-P displays offering $2 coupons for cheese and other products.

The promotion runs through February.

"Everybody knows what the Big Game is," says Bill Drew, vice president marketing services for Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. "It's a culmination of a season of football, which is great for entertaining with our product. We liked the idea that it's stretching out beyond the game."

For its part, ConAgra Foods has tapped Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome "The Bus" Bettis as a celebrity spokesperson. He was featured in an FSI drop last month promoting the firm's Slim Jim, Orville Redenbacher's, Manwich, Eckrich sausage and Banquet brands.

Are people confused about which brands are true NFL sponsors? Not really. NFL emblems and logos make it clear who's paying the big bucks to tie in to the game. For consumers, it's all about football.

"Any way that advertisers can bring the Super Bowl experience to consumers in some way, shape or form will resonate," Chipps says. "At the end of the day, people just want to go to the Super Bowl."