John Morrell Food Group, a division of Smithfield Foods, announced the beginning of an exclusive licensing agreement with Nathan's Famous, Inc. (NASDAQ: NATH) to manufacture and sell branded hot dog, sausage and corned beef products at retail stores nationally. The agreement commenced in the beginning of March 2014.
"We are very excited to launch our new partnership with John Morrell Food Group," said Eric Gatoff, chief executive officer of Nathan's Famous. "It will allow our very successful retail licensing program to finally achieve a truly national sales, marketing and distribution footprint."
The John Morrell Food Group will leverage the new partnership with full-scale marketing efforts, both in store and out highlighted by exciting consumer events including a three race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sponsorship with Richard Petty Motorsports and driver Aric Almirola and the addition of new settings for Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifying events.
The new venues that will host Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifying events include Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, during "Nathan's Day" at the ballpark on May 17. The Speed Street Festival in Charlotte, N.C. will host the event for the first time on May 24 around the NASCAR races during Memorial Day weekend. Finally, competitions featuring the world's best eaters will take place at NASCAR Sprint Cup events at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania and Sonoma Raceway in California in June.
"This is the beginning of a great partnership with the John Morrell Food Group," said Wayne Norbitz, president and chief operating officer of Nathan's. "There are many great events planned for the summer to excite and engage our consumers including new hot dog eating events and the sponsorship of Richard Petty Motorsports. This, along with many other efforts still to come with John Morrell Food Group, will lead to continued awareness and growth for Nathan's."
Nathan's Famous will also be promoted nationally with mobile sampling vehicles and a NASCAR show car tour covering stops coast to coast at local grocers and events. The mobile units will stop at over 350 locations throughout the spring, summer and fall. Consumers will be able to sample the great taste of Nathan's Hot Dogs at the mobile sampling events as well as enjoy the unique experience of Coney Island with carnival games, an interactive photo booth, a Zoltar fortune telling coupon machine and the International Hot Dog Eating Contest Championship Belt which will be on display for consumers to see firsthand.
"We have put many hours of planning into our marketing efforts to support our new relationship with Nathan's Famous," said John Pauley, executive vice president of sales and marketing for John Morrell Food Group. "We want to bring the excitement of the original, authentic hot dog across the country and really bring alive that excitement through our NASCAR partnership, the Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifying events and our mobile sampling units. It's going to be a great summer for Nathan's."
Later this month, John Morrell Food Group and Nathan's Famous will debut new social media outlets for the Nathan's brand including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where consumers can learn more about Nathan's products, coupons and future promotions. In addition, a new website will also be unveiled by the end of April as well.