With tobacco company brand sponsorships about to be fully extinguished in the U.S., at least two tobacco companies are scouting and signing 11th hour ties.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act—in addition to granting the Food and Drug Administration new regulatory powers over tobacco products—restricts the marketing of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other products, including a ban on brand-identified sponsorship of sports, cultural and entertainment properties.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on June 22, 2009 and the sponsorship ban goes into effect on that day this year.

Between now and then, Commonwealth Brands, Inc. will be partnering with festivals and other types of events to host a mobile experiential marketing program for its value-oriented USA Gold cigarette brand, including a new tie with April’s Kentucky Derby Festival.

Chicago-based promotion agency Legacy Marketing Partners is planning and executing the program on behalf of Commonwealth Brands.

In addition, Charlotte, N.C.-based agency Retail Sports Marketing is scouting deals with state fairs and other types of properties on behalf of a client in the tobacco industry, sources say.

Commonwealth Brands, Legacy and RSM would not comment on their sponsorship plans for this article.

The new law is the final nail in the coffin for tobacco brand sponsorships, which had been limited to one per year under the terms of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and the attorneys generals of 46 states.

Most tobacco companies had already eliminated brand sponsorships prior to the new legislation. A few remaining deals apparently will fall by the wayside: Swedish Match North America Inc.’s Longhorn snuff renewed its year-old title of a Kevin Harvick Racing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry driven by Ron Hornaday a few weeks ago, but only for nine races this season. The brand will go out with a bang, stepping up to primary sponsorship of the team’s Harvick-driven car in a Nationwide Series race on June 19.

Sibling brand Red Man Moist Snuff last month announced a new primary sponsorship of a Baker Curb Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series team, a deal which apparently will become extinct in June.

Tobacco companies legally are left with other ways to utilize event marketing beyond brand sponsorships:

Sponsorships on behalf of corporate names. Parent companies can still sponsor on their own, meaning that, for example, the Swedish Match name could appear on the NASCAR entries.

“The law does not prevent a manufacturer from sponsoring an event in the name of the corporation,” noted Rob Wilkey, Commonwealth Brands’ senior legal counsel.

Relationships other than sponsorships. Tobacco companies may still purchase benefits and inventory a la carte from properties for use in legal marketing programs.

For example, Philip Morris Int’l, Inc., which several years ago dropped its primary sponsorship of Penske Racing’s Izod IndyCar Series teams, continues a relationship with the team in order to provide one-of-a-kind experiences at IndyCar events to consumers over the age of 21, said Bill Phelps, a spokesman with Phillip Morris parent Altria Group, Inc.

Sampling opportunities for smokeless products. The new law bans cigarette sampling, but allow for smokeless tobacco sampling in “adult-only facilities in certain restricted situations.”

As a result, marketers may be able to use enclosed, adult-only mobile marketing programs to sample at events. Smokeless companies could pay a fee to a property for the space as long as the agreement did not include any sponsorship benefits.