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Dr Pepper, Walmart engage mobile shoppers ahead of historic college football playoffs

Dr Pepper is teaming up with Walmart to enhance the mobile shopping experience for hosts of parties that will watch the first-ever United States college football playoffs.

The program, dubbed "The College Football Play Book," aims to help Walmart shoppers get ready to entertain guests watching Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State compete in the inaugural U.S. college football playoffs that kick off on ESPN on New Year?s Day. The shopper marketing program is the largest Dr Pepper has ever run with Walmart.

"No one is more glued to his or her mobile phone than the sports fan who lives and breathes for every play,? said Jeff Hasen, founder and CEO of Gotta Mobilize, a Seattle-based marketing consulting firm. 

?As ESPN's John Kosner says, the appetite is insatiable. Next year, we'll be getting scores and highlights on Apple Watches and even more places,? he said. ?And in more personalized ways." 

Restocking time
The New Year?s period historically is a time for Walmart shoppers to re-stock after holiday entertaining.

With ESPN estimating a substantial rise in at-home viewership for these first-ever college football playoffs, an even greater run than usual is expected on food, drinks and snacks.
Larry Culpepper shops for the playoff party.

The College Football Playoff National Championship is the new championship game of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The national title game was renamed as part of the forming of the college football playoff that began at the end of the 2014 season.

The participants in the title game will be the winners of two semifinal games between the nation's top four teams, as chosen by the college football playoff selection committee.

Dr Pepper, a long-time college football sponsor and a sponsor for the ESPN college playoffs telecast, has partnered with Kellogg's and its Cheez-It and Pringles brands to build out one-stop snacking centers around the games.

Fans will find references to the ?College Football Play Book? partly on the playbook page at and over social media. Targeted banner ads on will drive shoppers to brand pages.

The program ? coproduced with Catapult, the Integer Group, Starcom MediaVest, Initiative and Deutsch ? also will involve promotions on national ESPN radio, online display ads, mobile video ads and Facebook posts.

A co-branded ESPN TV spot features brand character ambassador, Larry Culpepper.

Making history on the gridiron, and in Walmart stores.

In the spot, Culpepper, a knee-braced Dr Pepper vendor, is eager to throw the best college football playoff party by shopping in Walmart. 

A major push in-store will include pallet train displays and events such as an inflatable football toss in the hometown markets of the teams competing.

The program also will include the giving away of tickets to the All State Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl Game and the national championship game.

Dr Pepper, whose brand portfolio includes Dr Pepper and 7UP soda, Snapple, Clamato and Hawaiian Punch juices and Mott's apple sauce, has teamed up with Walmart in the past. 

This fall, the soft drink brand and Mars? Snickers candy bars joined forces to offer a receipt-based promotion in Walmart stores, enticing consumers to submit photos of their receipts for a chance to win Walmart gas and gift cards.

Consumption habits
By collecting images of receipts, the two brands could use the contents of consumers? shopping receipts to gain data on consumption habits. 

Restocking for the big games.

The promotions were constructed to mobilize the in-store experience for smartphone users. When users bought two Snickers bars and two bottles of Dr Pepper at Walmart, they could snap photos of their receipt and send them via text or email for a chance to win Walmart gas or gift cards. 

"Brands must be relevant otherwise it's an intrusion,? Mr. Hasen said. ?Soft drinks and beer makers have long established their place. 

?Now it's about awareness and fun experiences," he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.