Hispanic shoppers browsing at their local Walmart stores are noticing something unusual in their bags of Kingsford charcoal briquets: The distinctive red, white and blue striped colors of Las Chivas de Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s most popular soccer teams and also one with the most followers. A promotion that kicked off in September by The Clorox Company brand placed half a million bags of Kingsford charcoal featuring the colors -and badge- of Las Chivas in several Walmart stores across the country, mostly in large Hispanic cities including Chicago and Los Angeles and several stores across Texas and Florida.
The idea, explains Nick Meyer, marketing manager for Kingsford, was not really linked to strategy. Instead, it came from a company-wide initiative to foster ideas within The Clorox Company team. And this particular idea came from Lupe de los Santos, group manager of Hispanic Marketing Communications at The Clorox Company, and a former executive with The Vidal Partnership.
“I was literally sitting in my desk… grabbed a bag [of Kingsford charcoal] and thought: ‘This is a great bag, it has a face, it’s almost like a moving billboard… and then I saw the colors and thought Chivas would be perfect for it!” explains De los Santos, who came up with the idea and helped seal the deal with the company that represents Las Chivas de Guadalajara.
But beyond pure color coincidences, it turns out charcoal is a product Latinos consume in larger quantities than the so-called general market. In other words, explains Meyer, charcoal consumption overindex with Latinos, who reportedly use up to 50% more charcoal than their general market counterparts. “This is not necessarily because they grill on more occasions, but because their events tend to be larger.”
Meyer does not say how much the company has invested in this particular promotion, nor how many Chivas-labelled bags have been sold since the promotion was launched last month, except to say that his team is “happy” with the results so far. Overall, Kingsford spends about $5 million a year in Hispanic marketing and media initiatives and has been active in the U.S. Hispanic market for the past five years, according to the company.
Indeed, while the Chivas-branded bags might be the latest Hispanic push, it is certainly not the first time Kingsford goes after the U.S. Hispanic grilling fan. Back in 2009 the company partnered with ESPN Deportes to introduce Reúne al equipo en casa, a campaign modelled after ESPN’s Tailgate at home, which is now in its third year.
Kingsford, as well as other brands with The Clorox Company handle their media through OMD and OMD Latino, while Alma DDB is charged with its creative efforts.