am/pm's Freestyle Fountain Promotion

Offers basketball video game on drink lids

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- am/pm, the West Coast convenience store chain owned by BP West Coast Products LLC, has found a new way to add value to consumer marketing: Attaching free video games to its products.

According to MediaPost's Marketing Daily, the promotion centers on drink lids. When consumers trade up to a 36-oz. fountain drink, they get a lid with a small CD affixed to it, containing a version of FreeStyle Street Basketball, an online basketball game.

"Lots of marketers are using CDs to extend a brand and to offer more [image-nocss] information to a consumer," said Ed Bruno, president of eTagz, told the online publication. The firm positions hangtags as a kind of a digital "look-what-I-got-in-my-cereal box!" consumer bonus, said the report.

For am/pm, with 950 stores in the western United States, the promotion is timed to roll out around the time of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) playoffs, and will feature large cardboard cutouts of the animated basketball players. Worldwide, FreeStyle Street Basketball attracts about 32 million layers a month, said Bruno.

While the value of the freebieswhich typically cost about $1 per unit, according to Brunoprobably are not enough to sway consumers to make a purchase on their own, they may offer branding synergy, the report said.