- Kellogg snack brand Cheez-It looks to bring the in-stadium experience to homebound college football fans by installing animatronic cheese wheels at the end zones of Camping World Stadium, host of the 2020 Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 29, a press release announced.
- Those interested in attending the game in Orlando, Florida by cheese-wheel proxy can create a custom avatar on CheezIt.com that has a chance to appear as one of the "Wheel Live Fans" animatronics. The mechanical stand-ins inspired by fan designs will jump, dance and spin in place based on suggestions offered by Twitter followers on game day.
- Participants can tune into ESPN's live broadcast of the game to see if their cheese wheel made the cut. For Cheez-It, the activation evolves a title sponsorship strategy that has taken on new safety considerations as many fans can't attend games in-person due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cheez-It looks to up its game in accommodating college football fans who can't attend the brand's namesake bowl later this month due to the COVID-19 health crisis. While Camping World Stadium plans to allow limited attendance on Dec. 29, many people will miss out on viewing the matchup in-person, and could welcome tools for re-creating the experience.
The "Wheel Live Fans" activation allows Cheez-It to put its brand front-and-center during the ESPN live broadcast of the 2020 Cheez-It Bowl, while steering people to engage with the animatronics on social media and guide how the "Wheel Live Fans" react to game developments. Cheez-It will promote custom hashtags to share on Twitter after the participating teams are finalized.
The strategy shows the Kellogg-owned snack marketer linking mobile and digital channels with a strange reality particular to sports viewing under the pandemic. Cardboard cut-outs of fans or stuffed animals have become common sights at games that can't seat actual people, but Cheez-It is looking to add another layer of interactivity to the idea with cheese wheels based on personalized avatars. The brand emphasizes cheese wheels in its marketing, and has appeared frequently during ad breaks around the current college football season to reinforce familiarity with the concept.
Users interested in generating a custom cheese wheel can pick from a variety of headwear, hair styles, eyewear, facial hair, lips and neckwear through a tool on Cheez-It's website, as well as review guidance on how to share their creations on social media. While Cheez-It declined to share exactly how many wheels will appear on game day, the press release indicates hundreds will be installed in the stadium end zones.
Cheez-It has tried to gussy up the stadium-going experience before to capitalize on its title sponsorship of the Cheez-It Bowl. Last year, the brand partnered with ex-pro football punter Pat McAfee, who served as host of two-story box seats based on actual boxes of Cheez-It crackers.