Mars candy renews with NASCAR

Mars North America announced today that it will extend its contract as an official NASCAR partner.

The multiyear sponsorship designates Mars as the official chocolate of NASCAR (M&M's brand), official chocolate bar of NASCAR (Snickers brand), official cheese-filled snack of NASCAR (Combos brand) and official pet food of NASCAR (Pedigree brand).

"The relationship between Mars and NASCAR is a win-win," said Suzanne Beaudoin, vice president, sponsorships and sports marketing, Mars North America. "Whether tailgating at the Talladega infield or having friends over to watch qualifying at Bristol, Mars wants to be part of every race experience. Being an official NASCAR partner illustrates our dedication to the fans, our drivers and the sport, while driving brand affinity and excitement for our brands."

The multiyear partnership aligns Mars with its existing contracts with Joe Gibbs Racing, continuing a relationship that began in 2008.

For 2009, Mars will continue to develop programs that build relationships directly with NASCAR fans, including continuing two of its popular programs. Brand highlights include:

• M&M's "The Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR Contest," which will launch at the Daytona 500 and run for 24 weeks.

• The Pedigree brand will launch a new contest, Pedigree Brand presents The Luckiest Dog in NASCAR, beginning in late April when the first of three cars sponsored by the Pedigree brand races at Talladega Superspeedway.

• Mars' Combos brand will also leverage its NASCAR sponsorship with the new "Man Zone" promotion, visiting 10 race tracks during the first half of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

• Snickers Brand will promote its sponsorship at retail stores nationwide.

"Mars is an important partner to NASCAR, whose many creative programs excite our fans and help our sport to grow," said Jim O'Connell, vice president of corporate marketing for NASCAR. "Mars' commitment demonstrates the enduring value of an official NASCAR partnership. The measurable return this position brings is particularly important in a challenging economy when every marketing dollar must provide maximum value. With a fan base that actively supports the companies making the sport go, NASCAR sponsorship works for companies like Mars and many other leading brands recommitting to NASCAR during difficult economic times."

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