Rich deal for Disney, Nestle

The Walt Disney Co. and Nestle USA have struck a strategic alliance encompassing theme park sponsorship, licensing activities and joint marketing tie-ins in the U.S. Sources estimate the 15-year deal as worth at least $ 2 million annually, placing its value at $ 30 million-plus over the life of the agreement.

The deal encompasses several Nestle product divisions with Disney’s filmed entertainment, consumer products and attractions. It becomes effective Jan. 1.

Growing relationship

It is also the most recent development in the growing relationship between the two companies. Nestle USA’s Swiss-based parent, Nestle S.A., is one of 12 founding sponsors at the Euro Disney theme park outside Paris and is also a major Disney licensee in Europe.

Brand names featured

Several Nestle brand names — Friskies, Hills Bros., Contadina, Toll House, Carnation, Nestea and Stouffers — will be featured at Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort. Carnation is already strongly associated with the Disney parks, having been one of the original Disneyland sponsors that founder Walt Disney brought in in 1955.

Although Nestle has several major candy brands, the alliance does not involve those brands. Disney has an existing sponsorship deal with M&M/Mars, which continues.

The agreement calls for Nestle to become the sponsor of the Land pavilion at EPCOT Center in Florida. It is one of the eight major pavilions at EPCOT Center’s Future World, which Disney will renovate. Nestle replaces Kraft General Foods, sponsor of the pavilion for the past 10 years.

Under the arrangement, Nestle receives marketing and promotional rights to tie-in to specific events, such as a Disney anniversary, or a homevideo release, for example.

There are also several licensed food products in the works, most probably new Disney-inspired ice cream items, which will be test-marketed then introduced in the next 12 months.

Nestle’s expanding involvement with Disney places it among the limited number of consumer products companies, notably Coca-Cola Co., the Eastman Kodak Co. and Mattel Inc., which have forged comprehensive sponsorship agreements with the theme park giant.

Fewer but bigger

In recent years, Disney has embraced a philosophy of striking fewer, but bigger, sponsorship deals.

About a year ago, Disney struck a similar strategic alliance with Mattel, calling for the development of new toy lines, extension of an existing toy license and establishing Mattel as a theme park sponsor (Daily Variety, Nov. 12, 1991).

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