KROGER AND GATORADE TEAM UP FOR ESPN PROMO

CINCINNATI -- Kroger here and Quaker Oats have kicked off a new sports-based integrated promotion through Gatorade celebrating ESPN's 25th anniversary. The promotion is aimed to draw a lot of in-store exposure to the Gatorade brand.Participating Kroger retail banners -- including Kroger, King Soopers, City Market and Fry's -- are letting shoppers earn points that can be redeemed for Gatorade merchandise

CINCINNATI -- Kroger here and Quaker Oats have kicked off a new sports-based integrated promotion through Gatorade celebrating ESPN's 25th anniversary. The promotion is aimed to draw a lot of in-store exposure to the Gatorade brand.

Participating Kroger retail banners -- including Kroger, King Soopers, City Market and Fry's -- are letting shoppers earn points that can be redeemed for Gatorade merchandise celebrating the silver anniversary of ESPN. For 25 points, a player can get a Gatorade/ESPN25 water bottle and sports towel; 50 points, a T-shirt and visor; and 75 points, a fleece pullover and duffel bag.

Points are awarded for each qualifying Gatorade purchase. A variety of sizes and flavors in the Gatorade Thirst Quencher line are included, ranging from 32-ounce bottles to eight-packs of 20-ounce bottles.

Shoppers can enter the "Score the Points, Get the Gear" program online at participating Kroger retailer Web sites. To enter, they must provide their loyalty card number and be a member of Kroger's "Internet Coupons" program, in which coupons selected at Kroger Web sites are automatically transferred to loyalty cards.

"Buy any participating Gatorade products while shopping with your Kroger Plus Shopper's Card and automatically earn points that can be used to redeem for Gatorade/ESPN25 Gear," according to www.kroger.com.

Participants automatically earn points for all qualifying purchases made with a Kroger loyalty card from May 17 through Sept. 7.

Anywhere from one to three points are awarded for each Gatorade purchase. Point totals are displayed online at the retailer's Web site, and updated on a weekly basis. Prize rewards can be redeemed from Sept. 9 through Oct. 10.

"Track your progress and view the Gatorade/ESPN25 gear online during the program," the Kroger Web site states.

Officials from Kroger and Chicago-based Quaker Oats, a division of PepsiCo, were unavailable for comment.

Online marketing and media firm CoolSavings, Chicago, provides the back-end technology for the program. CoolSavings developed and hosts the Web site for consumers to monitor their point values and ultimately redeem points for merchandise at the end of the program.

CoolSavings is promoting "Score the Points, Get the Gear" by distributing consumer communication vehicles, including targeted e-mails to Kroger consumers who have opted in to receive e-mail from Kroger.

Matt Moog, president and chief executive officer, CoolSavings, said the program is unique in that it is being promoted offline via shelf-talkers and other in-store promotional vehicles, and online at Kroger Web sites. "This is one of the first Internet-based continuity programs that has significant in-store promotion," Moog told SN.