NEW YORK: A number of Kraft Foods brands are combining traditional summer marketing events with a social media push in order to increase consumer engagement and create buzz.

The New York Times highlighted several examples, including an annual marketing tour of Wienernobiles, from Kraft-owned meats company Oscar Mayer, that has been rebranded as the Wienermobile Run.

This will feature the vehicles with a sausage-shaped superstructure being organised into teams with each allocated its own social media hashtag to encourage people to follow and support them. The teams will travel round the country performing tasks and challenges submitted by the public.

Tom Bick, senior director for integrated marketing at Oscar Mayer, noted that people had interacted with the Wienermobiles for decades, although that might just have involved waving at them as they drove past.

"Now, we have the tools for people to really, really interact with them," he said, describing the Wienermobiles as "powerful social media engagement vehicles". 

Bick added that the promotion was also attempting to combine "the classic cross-country road rally with gamification".

A.1. steak sauce, another Kraft brand, plans to offer consumers "an A.1. upgraded experience at a concert or a sporting event," according to Brett Castle, A.1.'s brand manager.

This is likely to involve the creation of an A.1. branded section in a concert hall or arena where people could eat a steak while watching the event.

Further plans involve the creation of "the world's first sauce-related credit card" which will offer consumers found through platforms like social media a telephone number to call to "receive A.1. steak sauce anywhere in the world".

"They'll talk about, and get buzz for, the brand," said Bob Winter, executive creative director of the campaign. "By giving these people a voice, you turn them into the media for the campaign."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by Warc staff