SBD/Issue 49/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing
Michael Phelps Signs Exclusive Fast-Food Contract With Subway
Published November 21, 2008
|Phelps Joins Fellow Athletes As Subway Endorser|
LOOKING LONG TERM: Following the Beijing Games, a host of QSRs put forward endorsement proposals for Phelps, including KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Subway and others. Phelps ultimately signed with Subway because its long-term proposal extended through London 2012, and its structure and worldwide operations made it more appealing to work with in the eyes of Phelps’ agent, Octagon’s Peter Carlisle. Carlisle: “He loves Big Macs, but he also loves Subway. He loves pizza. He loves it all. There were a number of brands that made sense because he enjoys their product. At the end of the day, you evaluate them for different criteria and one distinguish itself. We can do a program easily and predictably with Subway globally and that was the difference” (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? In addition to Subway, Phelps has endorsement deals Speedo, Visa, Omega, PowerBar, Hilton, Kellogg's, PureSport, AT&T and Rosetta Stone. He also appeared in a recent commercial for Activision's "Guitar Hero III" videogame with Lakers G Kobe Bryant, Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez and skateboarder Tony Hawk (THE DAILY). MEDIABISTRO.com wrote, "When is too many sponsorships bad for the brand that is Michael Phelps? Perhaps, Octagon, the agency that markets Phelps to the public, needs to take a step back and consider" (MEDIABISTRO.com, 11/20).
RINGING ENDORSEMENTS? In Toronto, Alison Korn writes Canadian Olympians who won medals in Beijing "haven't received the kind of endorsements their predecessors have, and many athletes who hope to get to Vancouver 2010 also are at risk of being left out in the cold." Toronto-based Landmark Sport Group President reps speedskater Cindy Klassen, hockey player Jayna Hefford and curler Ross Howard, all of whom have won Gold Medals in past Games, but "only Klassen, Canada's most decorated Olympian with six medals, is truly cashing in." Klassen currently is "featured in a Sony advertisement, and has a new McDonald's ad in the works" (TORONTO SUN, 11/21).