Hershey’s Earnhardt Promo In Limbo

Endorsement deal on hold pending discussions in wake of racetrack hero’s death
Hershey Foods has suspended its promotion involving racecar driver Dale Earnhardt, who died Feb. 18 when his No. 3 car crashed during the last lap of the Daytona 500. The candy giant is meeting with Richard Childress Racing and the Earnhardt family to decide what is appropriate but has not cancelled any marketing plans thus far.

“We’re one of many sponsors that are working with the family,” said Mike Kinney a spokesman for Hershey, whose promotion — “A Sweet Dale From Dale” — involved retail displays that were to the Nascar circuit offering Earnhardt caps, T-shirts and other merchandise.

Other brands tied to Earnhardt for sponsorships, promos and advertising include General Motors’ Goodwrench Service, Coca-Cola and Nabisco’s Oreos cookies.

Hershey moved its Nascar sponsorship from Bobby Elliott’s car, which last year sported the Reese’s brand, to the Intimidator’s Nascar team for the 2001 season. Earnhardt’s Monte Carlo was to feature the Hershey logo, giving the candy maker flexibility to push its Hershey’s Chocolate, Kit Kat, Almond Joy and Reese’s through sweepstakes and in-store programs.