Marketing tent with cyclers
Sunnyside Farms sampled 3,500 two-pint bottles of chocolate milk during a bicycle road race through California.

While Sunnyside Farms had previously teamed with its owner Save Mart Supermarkets (a unit of Super Store Industries) on a sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California, the dairy processor had not put its efforts into promoting solely one product at the cycling event.

That changed for the 2011 tour; chocolate milk was the priority for the Lathrop, Calif., processor. As a result, Sunnyside Farms won the Refuel with Chocolate Milk category.

Save Mart sponsored stage three of the event, from Auburn to Modesto.

“The stage drew nearly 20,000 fans from all over the central and northern California valley,” said Sunnyside’s business manager Anthony Escobar. He called it “a perfect fit for the ‘Refuel with Chocolate Milk’ campaign.”

Event-day signage included a banner with the refuel message and Sunnyside Farms’ logo. The on-site team focused on sampling. The team distributed 3,500 samples of 16-ounce bottles of chocolate milk.

“We physically handed out the samples to spectators of the race and took our time to make contact and connect with those people on a one-on-one basis,” Escobar explained.

The team focused the message on product benefits and handed out MilkPEP marketing materials, such as “refuel” lanyards and educational brochures. To promote its new Facebook page, “like us” cards were also passed out. Facebook views increased 42%, and the local market had a double-digit increase in chocolate milk sales for several weeks following the event, Escobar said.