Unchanging with the times 

As the economy improves, a majority of Americans are not returning to their pre-recession ways, according to Deloitte’s 2013 American Pantry Study. In fact, 94 percent of respondents said they plan to remain cautious and keep their spending for food, beverage and household goods at its current level. Additonally, 72 percent noted that even though they are spending less on household and grocery items, it doesn’t feel like they are sacrificing much. This is a 7 percentage point increase in two years, the study reports. Furthermore, 88 percent of survey respondents reported that they have found several store brands that they feel are just as good as national brands; only 27 percent plan to switch back to national brands as the economy rebounds, it states.


You win some, you wine some

Thanks to a partnership between Fetzer Vineyards, Zipz Inc. and Centerplate, consumers at select Major League Baseball stadiums can enjoy a glass of wine while rooting for their favorite team. Fetzer wines currently are available in Crimson Red Blend and Quartz White Blend varieties in 100-percent recyclable, 187-ml polyethylene terephthalate (PET) glasses at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, Seattle’s Safeco Field and Tampa Bay, Fla.’s Tropicana Field. To consume the wine, fans  pull the tab on the Zipz Clean Wrap outer layer, unzip the wrap, remove the lid, snap the lid on the bottom of the glass, and peel off the
lift ‘n’ peel seal.


The brands behind the event

If consumers “look behind the curtain” of any sponsored event, they’ll find a support system of brands that help to fund the event and reap their own benefits at the same time. In the case of the Nantucket Film Festival, taking place June 26-30 in Nantucket, Mass., beverage brands Stella Artois and Grey Goose are among the producing sponsors that will showcase their logos, products and more to the approximately 10,000 attendees at the five-day event. Stella Artois, a brand of Anheuser-Busch InBev, is the exclusive beer sponsor, and Grey Goose, a brand of Bacardi Limited, is the exclusive vodka sponsor.

“It is kind of a circular support system,” says Mystelle Brabbée, festival director. “There’s usually name recognition of film makers, writers, directors, actors, and they garner press, and the press helps get the brands. So they all support each other, and the brands come in and support the organization, which helps bring in the guests, and it kind of goes ’round and ’round.”

Because the festival doesn’t cater to “the paparazzi crowd,” many opportunities are available for brands to get their products photographed with celebrities, Brabbée says. Sponsors also can get their products in people’s hands at signature programs such as Late Night Storytelling and the All-Star Comedy Roundtable.

“Our festival has a mission with an eye toward screenwriting and storytelling, so we have a live storytelling event where guests of the festival will get up and tell five-minute stories kind of like around a campfire,” Brabbée explains.

Last year, the All-Star Comedy Roundtable included actors Ben Stiller, Bill Hader, Jim Carrey and Chris Rock. Both Stella Artois beer and Grey Goose vodka cocktails are distributed to attendees at these and many other events during the festival.

 “Stella [Artois] has been around for a long time with us,” Brabbée says. “Because of that, our audience comes to expect that Stella is a sponsor, and they definitely associate Stella with our parties.”


Sipping on summer

As a tie-in with the sale of its Summer Ale, Narragansett Beer launched “The First Taste of Summer” photo contest. This promotion encourages fans of legal drinking age to submit photos of themselves via Instagram or Twitter enjoying the Summer Ale along with the hashtag #firsttasteofsummer for a chance to win a case of the beer. The contest runs through Labor Day, with winners announced intermittently throughout the summer.


Refreshment at your fingertips

The Coca-Cola Co.’s latest digital campaign seeks to entice teens on the platform they know and love best — their cell phones, tablets, computers and other digital devices. “The Ahh Effect” is a series of 61 websites, starting with aah.com and adding an “h” to each URL until the maximum character count is reached, that feature games, films and images all designed to remind teens of the features that Coke offers. For example, The “Ice Toss” game challenges users to launch ice cubes into a moving cup of Coke to keep the beverage at 37 degrees — the ideal temperature for ensuring the maximum “Ahh” effect, the company says. Others have a more comical side, like “The Longest Ahh,” hosted on the longest URL of the series, which features bright red lips singing “Ahh” at different pitches for as long as the user will listen. The Coca-Cola Co. also plans to award 25 of the URLs to fans who submit their own creative interpretations of what “Ahh” means to them, it says.


Picking a vintage treasure

In conjunction with the release of American Vintage Beverage Co.’s American Vintage Hard Tea, the brand is giving fans of legal drinking age the chance to hunt for other vintage treasures with Mike Wolfe, creator and star of History Channel’s “American Pickers.” Through June 15, fans can visit pickwithmike.com and like American Vintage Hard Tea’s Facebook page to enter the contest. They also can post photos of their own great “picking” finds and vintage treasures to receive an additional nine sweepstakes entries, the company says. Ten winners will join Wolfe at the world’s largest indoor monthly antique show in Atlanta to learn the art of picking. Wolfe also will make surprise visits to the Facebook page to connect with the new community, answer fan questions, and comment on their photo submissions.


Resting on tea laurels

Ito En, a supplier of loose green tea leaves and the maker of Teas’ Tea ready-to-drink green teas, created a Tea Bench that is made of recycled green tea leaves. In an effort to reuse and recycle its used tea leaves, an eco-friendly synthetic resin was developed to create various products including vending machines, floor mats and public benches. The Tea Bench is composed of 20 percent recycled tea leaves and recycled food trays and retains the green tea leaves’ antibacterial and antiviral properties, the company says. It is available by special order on the company’s website and retails for approximately $925.

Beer on the throne

In partnership with the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones,” Brewery Ommegang  ran a season-long Facebook sweepstakes. “Seize the Iron Throne” invited fans of legal drinking age to raise a glass of Brewery Ommegang’s Iron Throne Blonde Ale to their favorite characters after each episode. “Now I look forward each Sunday to not just the show but the beer and seeing which character deserves a toast,” said Phil Leinhart, Ommegang brewmaster, in a statement during the sweepstakes. Each week, a winner was selected at random to receive a copy of the book “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: The Collector’s Edition,” and one grand-prize winner received a trip to Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y., at the end of the promotion.  Iron Throne Blonde Ale is the first in a series of “Game of Thrones”-inspired beers.  A second “Game of Thrones”-inspired beer is due out later this year, and two new beers are planned for each subsequent season of the show, according to the company.