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Supplier Spotlights: Coca-Cola, Manitowoc & Talking Rain

NATIONAL REPORT — While it's important for convenience store retailers to market themselves, new products, services, promotions and other initiatives by c-store suppliers are a major part of capturing consumer interest. Convenience Store News will regularly highlight such efforts in this roundup.

Here are the latest supplier spotlights:

The Coca-Cola Co.

Mello Yello soda labels have a new signature camouflage pattern designed by Realtree Outdoors as part of the "This is MY World" campaign. Consumers who love the outdoors are encouraged to enjoy their favorite pastimes with a refreshing Mello Yello.

"Our fans are passionate people, from their loyalty to the smooth citrus taste of Mello Yello and 300 mph of drag racing to the gritty adventures of the outdoors," said Bobby Oliver, director, sparkling citrus brands. "This fall, we're bringing Realtree's camouflage revolution directly to Mello Yello packaging for the perfect partnership between two lifestyle brands."

The "This is MY World" campaign includes out-of-home advertising featuring David Blanton, the host of Realtree Outdoors and other outdoor lifestyle movements. The promotion will be supported with additional out-of-home, radio and in-store point-of-sale in select markets between Aug. 3 and Dec. 31.

The Realtree signature camo pattern will appear on Mello Yello and Mello Yello Zero 20-ounce bottles, and 16-ounce and 12-ounce cans in 12-packs. The limited-edition packaging will be available in retail outlets nationwide through December.


Retail services provider GSP plans to add major improvements to Great Big Pictures (GBP), the Madison, Wis.-based large-format graphics production lab it acquired in May.

These improvements include:

  • Expanded warehouse and fulfillment facilities to support complex, multi-store distribution requirements
  • Installation of specialized racking for storage of permanent retail graphics and store fixtures
  • Increased staffing in customer service, design and fulfillment

"The improvements provide a springboard for the rapid growth we've already experienced in 2015, as well as for organic growth that continues as word spreads about our merger," stated GSP CEO Geoff Neuhoff. "We are able to use GBP's ideal Midwest location, talented staff and expanded facility to provide faster turnaround and reduced transit costs to customers in the area."

Manitowoc Foodservice

Subway named Manitowoc Foodservice as Vendor of the Year during its recent 50th Anniversary Convention in Las Vegas.

The award was given in recognition for the hard work and dedication of the Manitowoc Foodservice brands, Manitowoc Ice and Merrychef, as a truly global supplier that supports an ongoing relationship with Subway through innovation, enhanced operations and customer service, according to the announcement.

"Manitowoc as a company comes to us with innovations on a regular basis to see if they fit our needs and if it is something that would really benefit the Subway brand," said Frank Buffone, senior manager of Subway Operations. "It's great having a supplier that really makes the Subway brand better. They bring innovation to the Subway brand that puts us in a better place than we were before they joined the team."

Manitowoc cited the Merrychef eikon high-speed oven as an example of its approach to doing business. By speaking with and listening to customers, the company took the feedback and developed the Merrychef oven to exceed their expectations in performance, maintenance and ease-of-use, the company said.

Other innovations the company has implemented include touchscreen technology and energy-efficient equipment.

"We ask questions like what is the total cost of ownership? How to make products more water conserving, energy efficient, easier to clean and easier to support?" said Manitowoc Chairman and CEO Glen Tellock.

Mars Chocolate North America

M&M'S candies are so delicious that they're worth making a loved one jealous, according to "Eating in Bed," a new TV commercial released by Mars Chocolate North America. The ad takes a humorous look at a married couple's argument over eating chocolate in the bedroom.

When wife Liz decides to enjoy "dessert" all by herself, her husband Scott is shocked by the mouth-watering betrayal — and by the appearance of M&M'S "spokescandy" Red alongside his suddenly blushing bride. The ad also features the iconic track "Tainted Love" to amplify the awkward bedroom scene.

"Our latest commercial shows how irresistible M&M'S really are in a way that's part comedy and part soap opera," said Berta de Pablos-Barbier, vice president, marketing. "We think viewers will have fun with all the twists and turns, and see how it's even more fun to share M&M'S Chocolate Candies vs. keeping them all for yourself."

Seagram Beverage Co.

Fans selected the Peach Fuzzy Navel Margarita from entertaining blog Pizzazzerie as the Seagram's Escapes 2015 Summer "It" Cocktail. Created by Pizzazzerie founder Courtney Whitmore, the cocktail was one of three recipes featured in the first-ever Seagram's Escapes Mixology program.

"Margaritas are one of my absolute favorite summer beverages, and by using Seagram's Escapes Peach Fuzzy Navel, I was able to add a delicious twist to the classic recipe," said Whitmore. "Mid-summer is the best time for peaches, especially here in the South, so I knew the flavor would be the perfect choice for all summer gatherings."

Entertaining experts participating in the Mixology program were asked to use a Seagram's Escapes flavor as a base for their cocktail creation and provide an easy entertaining tip for the at-home party hostess, such as a party décor idea or a quick go-to appetizer. The cocktail recipes and entertaining tips were featured on a specially created landing page on the Seagram's Escapes website.

After the Mixology program launched July 8, fans were encouraged to create and sample all three cocktails and select their favorite. The Peach Fuzzy Navel Margarita was named the winner on July 24.

"The Seagram's Escapes brand is all about color and creativity and inspiring our consumers," stated Associate Brand Director Jennifer McCauley. "We love that the entertaining experts we partnered with on the Mixology program each created new and delicious ways for our consumers to enjoy Seagram's Escapes flavors."

Talking Rain Beverage Co.

Talking Rain, maker of Sparkling Ice sparkling flavored water, is partnering with its hometown NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks. The multi-year partnership will feature co-branded Seahawks Talking Rain and Sparkling Ice products, on-premise and off-premise advertising, and retail availability and distribution.

The partnership kicked off Aug. 19 during the Seahawks Training Camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Former Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant leaped out of a Sparkling Ice-branded airplane, landing amidst Seahawks trainees to announce the collaboration. Attendees received samples of the new Talking Rain, Sparkling Ice and Seattle Seahawks co-branded products.

"When creating a partnership for Talking Rain and Sparkling Ice, the Seattle Seahawks was a natural fit," said Kevin Klock, president and CEO of Talking Rain. "As a company with strong ties to our community, the opportunity to collaborate is truly an exciting endeavor. We're honored to be partnered with such a hard-working and passionate team on and off the field."

To honor loyal Seahawks fans known as "The 12s," Sparkling Ice will launch a custom variety 12-pack that features Seattle Seahawks branding on the packaging. Talking Rain's Sparkling Mountain Spring Water will also showcase the team's branding on the Natural and Lemon Lime flavors. These custom offerings will be available at select retailers in Washington State starting Aug. 31.

Talking Rain and Sparkling Ice will also participate in text-to-win promotions with 710 AM ESPN Seattle's "Seahawks Weekly" radio show, offering a pair of tickets to fans for every home game during the 2015/2016 season. "Seahawks Weekly" will also work with Sparkling Ice to give away "Tailgate Essentials Packs" on-air, including a Sparkling Ice 12-pack, a $50 retailer gift card and Sparkling Ice/Seattle Seahawks branded merchandise.

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