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Blockbuster Extends Deal With Coca-Cola

21 Mar, 2002 By: Joan Villa

Blockbuster is expanding a product distribution agreement with Coca-Cola to cover marketing and advertising campaigns targeting each other's customers.

The new five-year marketing and product alliance includes national promotions and opportunities for both companies to build their brands on a global basis. The first promotion, a “Steal the Scene” instant-win game on 90 million packages of Diet Coke, launches this week.

“When you look at Blockbuster and the portfolio of brands Coca-Cola has to offer, both companies have a very broad reach,” explained Lisa Zoellner, VP of partnership marketing, sales and promotions, who spearheaded the deal on behalf of Blockbuster.

With Coke's presence in a variety of retail outlets including grocery, mass merchants, fast food venues and even movie theaters, “there's a lot of potential for marketing outside Blockbuster where Coke can drive traffic into our stores,” she added.

Blockbuster already distributes Coke products in its nearly 8,000 stores worldwide and has had a distribution deal since 1995. But the new alliance has Coke using the retailer's marketing resources, including purchasing time on the in-store television network, in direct-mail pieces and on point-of-sale coupons, all as a means of reaching Blockbuster's active members.

According to Blockbuster EVP and chief marketing officer Jim Notarnicola, the alliance is “an excellent example” of the way the rental chain can leverage its brand as a business-to-business partner.

“Not only are we an excellent distribution point for Coca-Cola's premiere array of beverages because of our millions of daily in-store customers, but we offer them access to our established media vehicles that are targeted to a highly-engaged, affluent, loyal base of members,” he noted. “Blockbuster's marketing assets and our store network offer a compelling value proposition [for brands like Coke] that are looking to build market share and customer retention.”

The marketing campaigns are each designed to drive Coke volume at Blockbuster, or drive volume for Coke's distributors, including fast food chains and movie theaters, or provide out-of-store exposure for Blockbuster. William Levisay, SVP, customer and alliance marketing for Coca-Cola North America, said the pairing is “a perfect relationship” combining Coke's distribution and leading brand name with Blockbuster's customer base and worldwide retail locations.

The “Steal the Scene” contest, for example, will be highlighted on 90 million Diet Coke cans but also extend to Coke cups at concession stands in 1,400 U.S. movie theaters. The grand-prize winner will win a trip to Los Angeles and a walk-on movie role, while other prizes include Club Med vacations, DVD players and free rentals, digital cameras, and free Diet Coke products.

The contest will also be promoted with a new 30-second TV spot titled “Casting Call” that features quick cuts of people describing what feels good, including winning a walk-on movie role courtesy of Blockbuster and Diet Coke. A 60-second version will play in theaters, while Blockbuster will promote the contest on its in-store network, in direct mail and on special packaging and POS materials.

In other Blockbuster promotion news, Blockbuster has teamed with Chrysler on a special offer that gives consumers in 10 states a 52-week rental card with the purchase of a new Town & Country or Voyager minivan. Through April 30, the cars will come equipped with a free MOPAR rear seat video entertainment system, valued at $1,400, that plays VHS tapes on an overhead liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. The Blockbuster rental card allows one free VHS or DVD movie rental per week for 52 consecutive weeks. The offer is good at participating Chrysler dealerships in select areas of Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

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