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Smucker's signs on with US Olympic Committee

Tuesday - 3/5/2013, 9:50pm  ET

EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer

DENVER (AP) -- Champagne? Nah. U.S. Olympians might prefer to celebrate their gold medals next year by downing an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The U.S. Olympic Committee signed a deal Tuesday with J.M. Smucker, bringing the maker of Smucker's jelly and Jif peanut butter into the Olympic fold for the Sochi and Rio de Janeiro Games.

USOC chief of marketing Lisa Baird told The Associated Press the deal came out of Smucker's long relationship with U.S. Figure Skating, which pushed the jelly maker over to the USOC. The USOC helps underwrite training, travel and other expenses for American Olympic athletes.

"This is the kind of market-leading brand we love," Baird said.

Financial details of the Smucker's deal were not disclosed. The agreement lasts through 2016.

Smucker's will combine with Procter and Gamble, Coke, Budweiser and Kellogg's in an Olympic-themed promotion that wraps several of their products together under the red-white-and-blue banner of Team USA.

The promotion, called "The Power of ...," brings products from some of the world's largest and most competitive companies together in displays at Targets, Wal-Marts, Safeways and other grocery chains. Their common bond is supporting the U.S. Olympic team.

"This works both ways," Baird said. "We have things we want sponsors to support. But this is one where they really win when they combine to get the most out of the value of our marks, our ideas, our athletes into their environment."

The USOC has been looking for innovative ways to increase revenue from the sponsorship side, which generated $78 million in 2011. (The amount is almost always higher in Olympic years.)

Baird came from Procter and Gamble, and that was one of the first big sponsors she landed after taking the USOC job.

The idea behind "The Power of. ..." promotion first took hold for the Vancouver Games in 2010 with a single retailer, Safeway. The number grew to 24 for the London Games and the participants were impressed.

Often, event-based promotions give sponsors about a week to take advantage of the hype surrounding that event; the run-up to the Olympics and the Games themselves provides months.


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