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Pepsi announces Super Bowl contest with $1 million top prize

BY Jenna Duncan

PepsiCo has announced the opening of a Super Bowl sweepstakes promotion in with top prize is $1 million, the Wall Street Journal today reported. Five finalists will also receive $25,000 plus a luxury trip to the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The sweepstakes is open to participants who create their own 30-second Doritos tortilla chip commercial. The commercials will then be voted on in a viewer-response competition during the Super Bowl.

“We’ve always believed our fans have the talent and passion to compete at the highest level, and we are putting $1 million on the table to demonstrate our confidence and also help our winner fulfill their own destiny,” Ann Mukherjee, group vice president, marketing for Doritos said in a statement. “Whether it goes toward funding a short film, opening an ad agency or anything in between, we’re empowering them with an unmatched stage to compete on and a motivation to make it happen.”

The ads created by five finalists will enter a final round in January. At that time, visitors can review the ad spots online and vote for their favorite one. The winning ad will air Febr.1 during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII coverage. More details are available online at www.snackstrongproductions.com.com.

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General Mills plans expansion of its international business

BY Jenna Duncan

MILWAUKEE General Mills has said that it plans to keep building its international business in order to avoid negative effects of the slow economy. Its international segment is its fastest-growing business at present, the company has said.

General Mills’ chief executive officer, Ken Powell, explained to the company’s shareholders that it will continue to grow brands such as its Haagen-Dazs ice cream business, Old El Paso brand Mexican foods and cereals and other staples such as Cheerios. He said that General Mills also plans to launch 300 new products in 2009.

Figures for the company’s international sales have doubled from $1.3 billion in 2003 to $2.6 billion in fiscal 2008, the company reported. That reflects growth of 21 percent over last year’s sales.

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Mars promises to maintain high quality in chocolate production

BY Jenna Duncan

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Mars Snackfood U.S. has stated that it will continue to use 100 percent cocoa butter in its production of chocolate candies, maintaining its standards of quality and purity.

The company made the statement in order to differentiate its chocolate products from other companies that use coca butter substitutes in production, yet also label their candies “chocolate.” The company explained that cocoa butter is a key ingredient for making chocolate which assures its texture and creaminess.

Todd R. Lachman, president of Mars Snackfood U.S. told the press, “Mars chocolate products are pure, authentic chocolate and they’re going to stay that way. We simply won’t compromise the purity and authenticity of our chocolate by diluting it with a cocoa butter substitute.  This company was built on quality—it’s one of our core principles—and we will not lower the bar on chocolate quality.”

Mars has reported U.S. annual sales of $7 billion for combined sales of food, snack and pet care products. Additionally, the company has spent more than $70 million to expand a manufacturing plant in Elizabethtown, Penn. Mars has been producing chocolate candies for more than 100 years.

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