- Cracker Jack on July 20 announced nine recipients of the I Am Cracker Jill Award, with grand prize winner Lindsey Zurbrugg becoming the first athlete to join its Cracker Jill roster of characters, per a press release.
- Limited-edition packaging featuring Zurbrugg will be available in stores and stadiums nationwide next year. Soccer star Mallory Swanson will introduce the award winners in a 30-second commercial that will air throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- The Frito-Lay snack brand is continuing a purpose-driven effort to increase the visibility of girls and women in sports that began last year despite a contentious sociopolitical environment that has dragged other marketers into culture wars.
Cracker Jack is continuing to invest in its Cracker Jill platform as part of its efforts to spotlight female athletes and support the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), to which the Frito-Lay brand has given $400,000 to date to expand access and opportunities for girls and women in sport.
The I Am Cracker Jill Award contest was announced in March 2023 and nine winners — among them women who specialize in football, golf, surfing, weightlifting, martial arts and more — will each receive $5,000. The brand is spotlighting grand prize winner Lindsey Zurbrugg, a current member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team, on special packaging designed by artist Monica Ahanonu. Zurbrugg joins a roster of Cracker Jill characters that Ahanonu designed in 2022.
“We selected Lindsey to become the first real athlete in the brand’s history to join the Cracker Jack roster so that girls nationwide will be inspired to keep playing and keep achieving when they see Lindsey’s story on our bags in stores and in stadiums,” said Leslie Vesper, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay North America, in a statement.
To boost the profile of the award winners, soccer star Mallory Swanson will introduce the recipients as part of a 30-second spot that will air on Fox during the Women’s World Cup, which began on July 20 and will run until Aug. 20. The Women’s World Cup has quickly become a target for major brand tie-ups as interest in women’s soccer continues to increase.
The Cracker Jill program is part of Frito-Lay’s overarching commitment to increasing equity in sports. The PepsiCo subsidiary launched “All-In with Frito-Lay” program last year as the first step in a three-year plan to increase equity in soccer and signed up as a tournament sponsor and Official USA Snack for this year’s World Cup.
By continuing to invest in and expand its Cracker Jill efforts, Cracker Jack is demonstrating a commitment to brand values around inclusion, even at a time when seemingly innocuous actions like Hasbro’s 2021 decision to make its Potato Head characters more gender-inclusive caused conservative backlash that foreshadowed the difficulties faced this year by Bud Light and Target.