Welcome to The Week in Consumer Packaged Goods, a weekly round-up for marketers from Quad Insights that covers the latest must-know news surrounding the CPG space.

Pop-Tarts announces college bowl with edible mascot

On Monday, Pop-Tarts announced the first-ever Pop-Tarts Bowl, to be held Dec. 28 in Orlando, Florida, which will feature an “edible” mascot, per a brand statement. Airing live on ESPN, the post-season college football game will pit an Atlantic Coast team against a Big 12 team, which will compete for their chance to “munch on” the Pop-Tart mascot, Fox Sports reports.

An IRL manifestation of Kellanova’s “Agents of Crazy Good” Pop-Tart campaign, the mascot reflects the brand’s commitment to flavor, Pop-Tarts Senior Director of Marketing Heidi Ray said in a statement. “For sixty years, Pop-Tarts has sacrificed everything in the name of Crazy Good flavor,” she said, “so why wouldn’t that include our beloved football mascot, too?”

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Kraft launches vegan mac and cheese in the U.S.

The Kraft Heinz Not Company — a joint venture of The Kraft Heinz Company and TheNotCompanyannounced on Wednesday the launch of the first-ever plant-based Kraft Mac & Cheese in the U.S., which will begin rolling out nationwide early next year. Called Kraft NotMac&Cheese, it’s made with a dairy-free alternative to the brand’s signature cheese, Jordan Valinsky of CNN Business reports, and represents Kraft Heinz’s efforts to expand its plant-based portfolio. “Kraft partnered with NotCo., a company that makes plant-based foods, to create the new mac and cheese alternative, which is in response to the growing hunger for ‘better-for-you’ products from American consumers,” Valinsky writes.

Available in Kraft’s Original and White Cheddar flavors, Kraft NotMac&Cheese is attempting to offer “fan-favorite foods that taste like the real thing, yet don’t require people to drastically change their eating habits,” The Kraft Heinz Not Company CEO Lucho Lopez-May said in a statement.

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Grand Marnier partners with Teezo Touchdown, UNWRP to celebrate hip hop’s 50th anniversary

In celebration of hip hop’s 50th anniversary, Grand Marnier is partnering with rap artist Teezo Touchdown and luxury Black-owned gifting company UNWRP for what it’s calling a (W)rapping Paper program, per a company statement. The promotion includes limited-edition wrapping paper, collaboratively designed by the Campari-owned company and UNWRP, featuring “musical devices and players that chronicle how music lovers have listened to hip hop throughout the decades,” per the statement.

The campaign also includes a donation to the Bronx’s Hip Hop Museum by the brand, pop-up events in New York and Houston, and “gift (w)rap content.” The latter includes videos on the company’s YouTube and social media channels of Teezo Touchdown wrapping bottles of Grand Marnier while discussing moments that have inspired and defined his music career.

With a Grand Margarita holiday cocktail kit — with everything needed to create Teezo Touchdown’s twist on the drink — also available for purchase as part of the campaign, Grand Marnier is honoring its “storied history of blending unexpected elements to create something extraordinary,” Vice President of Marketing for Campari U.S. Andrea Sengara said in a statement. “Just like the unexpected encounter of orange liqueur and cognac coming together to create something grand, this collaboration … demonstrates the fun you can have when you bring together the unexpected.”

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Pepsi reunites with Shaquille O’Neal to promote its “perfect size” Mini Cans

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Pepsi has reunited with Shaquille O’Neal and hip hop artist Skee-Lo to promote its Pepsi Mini Cans, the company announced. A new commercial plays on the NBA legend’s size with a rendition of Skee-Lo’s hit song “I Wish” — in which Shaq wishes he was “a little bit smaller” due to the everyday challenges of being tall — “to celebrate that Pepsi Mini Cans are always the perfect size,” per a PepsiCo statement.

The new commercial contrasts with Pepsi and Shaq’s first collaboration in the 1990s, which embraced Shaq’s size to promote Pepsi’s 1-liter Big Slam bottles, Ad Age’s Jon Springer reports. However, the new commercial includes some of the same moments and lines from those earlier ones — playing on consumers’ nostalgia, Springer notes. “These moments could resonate with a millennial audience that grew up with those ads and today are parents,” he writes, adding that the approach comes at a time when consumers are increasingly interested in more “snackable” sizes of sodas and other food items.

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