Albertsons' Jewel-Osco has introduced a lineup of Chicago Cubs themed items at its stores including cereals inspired by players including Anthony Rizzo, David Ross and Ben Zobrist; “Rizzo Wrap,” a limited-edition release of Reynolds Wrap bearing the alternative title and Rizzo’s likeness on its packaging; and store decorations, according to the Path to Purchase Institute.
In stores, the cereals earned secondary merchandising space on upfront spectaculars and floor stands positioned in aisles and near checkout. The chain also is running a promotion called "Stock your bullpen," an instant-win game to shoppers spending more than $10 on eligible products. Grand prize winners get the chance to toss out the first pitch at a Cubs or Chicago White Sox game, while other prizes include store gift cards and team gear.
- Circular features and social media updates tout the exclusives, as well as SKUs from Cubs sponsors Ferrero’s Fannie May Chocolates and BA Nutrition’s BodyArmor sports drink. Budweiser, another sponsor of the Cubs, also has cooler displays and signage.
Few teams in Major League Baseball have such a large diehard fan base as the Chicago Cubs, who were mired for decades with perpetual curses and disappointment — until last fall. Jewel-Osco, a banner of Albertsons, has taken every opportunity to tout its ties to the former "loveable losers."
For Jewel-Osco, it's a smart move. The team is not only capitalizing on its sponsorship of the home team, but it's expressing its support to a fan base that adores the Cubs. Customers visiting the store, checking social media or reading a mailed circular are bombarded with Cubs fandom. The unique Cubs products, available only at Jewel-Osco, could be what is needed to get customers in the store to can load-up on these one-of-a-kind products — and could instill loyalty (much like the finally victorious team) in area fans.
In Chicago, one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country, any advantage Jewel-Osco can obtain over its competitors could be lucrative.
For any business, fostering local pride is invaluable. Budweiser, for example, is putting the names of 11 states — California (which has two Budweiser breweries), Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas and Virginia — on bottles and cans where the popular beer is produced.
Grocery chain H-E-B, ranked recently as the most trusted brand by U.S. consumers, has a loyal shopping base that is has fostered through thousands of store-branded items (some of which are Texas-shaped, and many of which are local) and commercials featuring the San Antonio Spurs. H-E-B also launched a statewide video contest that encouraged shoppers to create and submit a commercial featuring their favorite H-E-B Primo Picks, one-of-a-kind products that are featured monthly across the supermarket chain.
Americans are passionate about sports, especially their local teams. Jewel-Osco is wise to take advantage of its ties to the Cubs — especially if the team makes Chicagoans wait another 108 years to win another World Series.