Jell-O promotion targets losing fans

The Super Bowl winners get to go to Disney World, the losers get Jell-O?

As a gesture to the sad fans of the Super Bowl losing team, the colorful dessert brand will give out thousands of cups of free Jell-O product in the team's local city on Tuesday.

The promotion will be announced in a commercial celebrating the losing team's prize following the postgame trophy presentation.

"It's a fine line and we don't want to ever come across as rubbing it in," said Greg Gallagher, senior brand manager for Jell-O. "But it was a big accomplishment to get to this game and we want to give these fans a little something to look forward to."

The brand will have a former player from the losing team helping to hand out cups of chocolate pudding, its best selling product, and displaced fans of the team, who don't live in the local area, can download a coupon.

A special website that Jell-O has set up will have a plug-in that fans can download. Once they do so, if the winning team's name appears in an article on a webpage, that will be blurred out.

"We don't want fans to be miserable," Gallagher said.

The clever marketing play comes at a time when Jell-O sales haven't performed to the company's expectations, as the message steered away from family fun to weight management.

"We lost our core family consumer," Gallagher said. "We want them to know that we're about fun."

Gallagher said those fans who turn off their televisions in disgust before the trophy presentation will have a chance to see the announcement as the ads running all day on Monday.

The brand doesn't have any particular connection to the Super Bowl, though sports fans are accustomed to throwing back Jell-O shots -- small cups often spiked with vodka -- at tailgates and parties.

Gallagher says sales are sales, but that the brand would never publicly embrace that use of its product.

"It's our job to find the right consumer through the right messaging," he said. "Anything that happens outside of what we do, we can't control."