The 30th anniversary of Shark Week doesn’t air for another three months, but Discovery is getting an early jump on its marketing campaign for the event. The network is partnering with Swedish Fish for a wide-ranging campaign that will include an ad, a mobile game and co-branded packaging.
Swedish Fish will be the official candy sponsor of Shark Week, which debuts on July 22 on Discovery, marking the candy brand’s first time as a Shark Week partner. In addition to promoting the annual shark programming extravaganza, the partnership will promote the launch of Swedish Fish’s new Mini Tropical candy in a co-branded ad that will run across the entire Discovery Inc. portfolio during Shark Week.
The Shark Week logo will appear on the packaging of Swedish Fish’s 1.9-pound packaging, which will be sold nationwide throughout the partnership.
The brands are collaborating on a mobile game, Swedish Fish Chomped, set for release next month. In the game, which was developed by Vayner Media, users play as a shark with the goal of eating as many Swedish Fish as possible without gobbling any coral or jellyfish. Game users can also enter a sweepstakes to win a shark encounter opportunity in Oahu, Hawaii.
The partnership also includes on-site activations at 14 aquariums across the United States, and a two-month truck tour that will stop at aquariums and retailers nationwide.
As Swedish Fish is celebrating its 75th anniversary and launching a new product, “they were looking for a big summer event,” and Shark Week was the perfect fit, said Keith Kazerman, group svp, client solutions, Discovery Inc.
“Part of the Shark Week experience is attending viewing parties with your friends and enjoying shark-themed snacks and entertainment,” said Katie Williams, senior director, equity and innovation, NA Candy Mondelēz International.
Swedish Fish Chomped is the first mobile game for Swedish Fish, but parent company Mondelēz International has created virtual reality and mobile games for another candy brand, Sour Patch Kids.
“We wanted to make a fun, engaging mobile game that our fans can play over and over to channel their inner shark and get them excited for Shark Week,” said Williams.
This is the earliest start ever for a Shark Week-related brand campaign. “We needed to start the process earlier in order to get the Shark Week branding on-pack with Swedish Fish,” said Kazerman.
The Swedish Fish/Discovery partnership was put together prior to Discovery closing its deal to acquire Scripps in March. That means it was one of the last deals under former Discovery ad sales chief Ben Price, who announced yesterday that he’ll be leaving the company after the conclusion of this year’s upfront.
The network will announce several more brand partnerships in the walkup to its annual Shark Week. This year’s event will be the biggest in network history, given the 30th anniversary.
Discovery Inc. intends to leverage its newly combined portfolio—its deal to acquire Scripps closed in March—to promote Shark Week.
Ahead of Discovery Inc.’s first combined upfront, the company’s new chief lifestyle brands officer, Kathleen Finch, told Adweek earlier this month that Food Network will help celebrate Shark Week this summer. Talent will create shark-themed cocktails and cookies on their shows before directing audiences to tune into Shark Week.