Participating retailers can get involved in contests and other program-related activities, Bertagna said.
“Since we’re a licensee, we have retailers who can run a contest with them,” he said. “We can get tickets to races for them in their areas, that kind of thing.”
Castellini is the only produce company involved with NASCAR, said Jay Jones, a liaison in NASCAR’s business and licensing office who helped put the deal together.
“We see an opportunity to embark on a different category,” Jones said. “It wasn’t a die-cast, it wasn’t a T-shirt or a jacket. It was just something different, a different way to reach the NASCAR fan and bring them a new product.”
Jones said that Castellini had previous marketing experience in the sports arena.
“The Castellini opportunity came about by looking at some old files,” he said. “They did some work with the Cincinnati Bengals as well as the Cincinnati Reds. I said, ‘Well, hey, it has worked before in one sporting arena, why not NASCAR?’”
NASCAR collects a royalty on products in the program, although Jones declined to provide information on royalties.
Jones said that NASCAR’s connection to a produce company would translate to profits for the latter.
“Honestly, in the licensing business, it’s more than exposure; it’s a way for Castellini to help them incrementally grow their business,” he said. “With a fan base of over 75 million and growing, and with 40 million of our fans spending money on our licensed products, it’s just a way for companies who produce and manufacture products to help them sell more products to our fans.”
Bertagna said that his company will align with additional packers as the company rolls out more items in the program.
As for NASCAR, does the new arrangement represent new territory, after years of affiliation with the tobacco industry?
“I’m gonna say yes and no,” Jones said. “Winston was a great, great sponsor over the last 20-some-odd years. At the same time, with the crackdown on tobacco and that industry, it gives us an opportunity to reach more markets that we were not able to before.”