This football season, three of the Bears' key partners – Dr Pepper, Chicago Tribune, and Jewel-Osco – partnered for a Bears cross promotion in which collectible Chicago Bears Fatheads were sold exclusively inside Chicago Tribune's newspapers at Jewel-Osco stores throughout Chicagoland. "While transitioning the Chicago Tribune's brand into the digital age is of the utmost importance, we realize that it is still possible to grow our print business through marketing and promotion. In today's marketplace, seeing a tangible increase in print newspaper sales is unheard of, but by strategically aligning ourselves with the Bears, Dr Pepper, Jewel-Osco, and Fathead, all powerful brands, and by providing something of value to our consumers, we were able to over-achieve our goals. This has been, and will continue to be, one of our most impactful retail promotions." said Trevor Gibbons, Merchandising & Promotions Manager of the Chicago Tribune.
The ideation of this promotion dates back to the Bears Business Summit in March of 2012 when representatives from all three companies attended. Collaborating together, all three partners aimed to successfully align the Chicago Tribune and Dr Pepper brands with the Bears to drive retail sales for Jewel-Osco. The Chicago Tribune selected Jewel-Osco as the retail partner to limit total distribution and create a retail driving element. In exchange for sharing the cost to develop the program, Dr Pepper received great brand awareness through TV, radio, out of home, print and digital advertising. It was a great opportunity for all parties involved.
Logistically the promotion was a total of eight weeks with two weeks of pre-promotion and then six weeks of Fathead distribution. Every Sunday, exclusively at Jewel-Osco, a different Chicago Bears Collectible Player Fathead was inserted into the Sunday paper. On the back of each Fathead was a coupon for a Free 20oz Dr Pepper, redeemable at Jewel-Osco. A comprehensive advertising campaign utilizing all of Chicago Tribune media including print, digital, mobile, TV, radio, out of home, and point of purchase helped drive awareness. Jewel-Osco also accommodated cross-merchandising at the store level, having them set up Dr Pepper displays next to Chicago Tribune newspaper racks to drive sales of both.
Overall, the promotion was very successful. During the eight week window when the promotion ran, the 20 ounce Dr Pepper volume increased 39% versus the same eight week year ago period. Additionally the Chicago Tribune achieved a 15% increase in newspaper sales at Jewel-Osco for the duration of the promotion. "We were thrilled to be a part of this promotion, and we felt it was a great way to help kick off our partnership with the Bears. We not only saw great volume results in Jewel-Osco, but also received some great brand awareness for Dr Pepper through the Tribune's advertising efforts. This was truly a collaborative effort from all parties involved. We have already been in contact with the Tribune to discuss making this promotion even bigger for next year!" said Mike McKinney, Director of Marketing Development of Dr Pepper Snapple Group.