American Idol and Pringles: A New Partnership

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Procter & Gamble Co.'s effort to make its Pringles brand a bigger star is getting a tryout with American Idol.

The consumer products company has launched a partnership with the television ratings blockbuster in TV commercials, special American Idol Pringles cans and contests, including a video jingles competition that can lead to tickets to the talent show's finale.

It's the biggest promotion in the potato chips brand's 37-year history, P&G said. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

"The American Idol tie-in is sort of a bold new step," said Paul Tepfenhart, Pringles brand manager.

Pringles, with more than $1 billion a year in annual sales, has been growing about 5 percent a year, P&G has said. The company has said it wants to heat up the growth, recently extending the brand of chips stacked in cans into packages with a "Select" line of flavors such as sun-dried tomato, cinnamon sweet potato and Szechuan barbecue.

Pringles joins Nestle candy and Dreyer's ice cream among the show's partners, and FreemantleMedia, which co-produces and licenses American Idol, said more partnership deals are in the works. The official on-air sponsors for the show are Coca-Cola Co., Cingular Wireless and Ford Motor Co.

Michele Welch, Freemantle's director of integrated marketing, said the off-air partners are bringing well-rounded promotions for the show. Nestle has a candy-bar wrapper collect-and-win contest, and Dreyer's (which sells under Edy's brand in much of the country) is offering special flavors such as "choc 'n' roll caramel" and "Hollywood cheesecake."

"We want to partner with family brands who can be represented in a fun promotional way," Welch said.

P&G described the deal as a long-term partnership, with promotions continuing past the show finale, such as a Pringles receipts mail-in for American Idol school backpacks this summer. The promotional cans hit store shelves over the weekend.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.