SBD/Issue 52/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • LeBron, Microsoft End Partnership After Less Than Two Years

    MSN Has Shut Down Its LeBron James Web Site
    Cavaliers F LeBron James and MSN have "terminated their contract" after less than two years, according to a source cited by Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. As a result, the MSN Web site "upon which the two sides collaborated and James' personal page," LeBron.MSN.com, "have been shut down." Though James and MSN said that they had "big marketing plans" when they announced the deal in February '07, Microsoft "never really activated the partnership." James was featured in a "brief cameo in a commercial for Windows Vista," but the "child-targeted website was the only major product ever developed." Windhorst notes the pact "started to fizzle last spring" when former Microsoft VP/Global Sales & Marketing Joanne Bradford Joanne Bradford, who arranged the deal, left the company to join Yahoo (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/26). LeBron.MSN.com features the following message: "The site you have requested has concluded publication" (THE DAILY).

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  • Hitting The Wall: Remaining Super Bowl Ad Spots Slow To Sell

    Most ad slots for NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa on February 1 that were not sold in September "still haven't moved, a change from earlier in the year when NBC announced the air time had been selling faster than usual," according to Yao & Nakashima of the AP. Traditional Super Bowl advertisers like FedEx, Garmin, Salesgenie.com and GM are "sitting out" this year, but NBC said that it is "actively negotiating with other potential advertisers for the eight 30-second advertising spots that remain open." NBC Sports Senior Dir of Communications Brian Walker said that NBC had a "total of around 67 spots for Super Bowl XLIII and has sold about 59." Anheuser-Busch will again advertise during the game, and A-B Exec VP/Global Industry Development & Chief Creative Officer Bob Lachky said, "It's a bit of a scary time for marketers, but I think this is the best time of all to put out a positive image. It's one little island of normalcy in a time when things are a little crazy." Yao & Nakashima reported A-B "filmed its commercials on a Warner Bros. studio lot" in Burbank, California, last week. One of A-B's new commercials, which was directed by Joe Pytka, "features a Clydesdale who immigrates from Scotland" (AP, 11/25).

    TAKE THIS JOB AND LOVE IT: USA Today's Laura Petrecca notes both Career Builder.com and Monster.com, the nation's "two largest on line job-listing companies," will both air ads during NBC's coverage of the Super Bowl. Career Builder CMO Richard Castellini said that the company is "targeting a 'dual audience' of both job seekers and employers" with its two Super Bowl spots. Monster CEO Sal Iannuzzi added that his company is "also trying to reach both groups with its Super Bowl ad buy -- and to tout a website revamping that cost 'several hundred million dollars'" (USA TODAY, 11/26).

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  • Reebok, Senators C Spezza Agree To On-Ice, Off-Ice Marketing Deal

    Spezza Latest NHLer To Endorse 
    Reebok Hockey
    Reebok Hockey has signed Senators C Jason Spezza to an on- and off-ice marketing deal that will see Spezza influence product lines for Reebok Hockey, including hockey equipment and training apparel. Other Reebok NHL endorsers include Penguins C Sidney Crosby, Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk, Canucks G Roberto Luongo and Devils G Martin Brodeur (Reebok). The CP reported Spezza in '09 will be "part of Reebok's global marketing campaign entitled 'Your Move,'" which currently features Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin, Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona F Thierry Henry and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour player Jelena Jankovic, among others (CP, 11/25). In Ottawa, Wayne Scanlan reports there is "no specific term of contract, simply an understanding that this [partnership] could lead to a long-term relationship." Talks about a deal began this summer when Spezza "went looking for a new stick after learning that Sherwood would no longer be manufacturing his familiar wooden sticks in Canada." Both sides "saw the marketing potential in doing something together." Reebok Canada GM Len Rhodes: "When you look at the numbers, Ontario is the key strategic market. The fact that he is born and raised in Ontario, playing in Ontario and has the right values that match our corporate values, that goes a long way for us" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 11/26).

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  • Gerrard, Ballack Among Stars In New Adidas Viral Ad Campaign

    adidas has launched a series of four viral ads featuring Liverpool MFs Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso, Chelsea MF Michael Ballack, Arsenal F Emmanueal Adebayor and Real Madrid MF Arjen Robben to promote their new lines of soccer shoes, according to Mark Sweney of the Manchester GUARDIAN. The first ad, called "Clay Pigeon," depicts Gerrard "attempting [to] knock targets -- fired by Alonso -- out of the air" with a soccer ball. The second ad sees Ballack "deliberately missing a target while aiming through a hoop -- so he can hit a man standing nearby." adidas said that both ads, created via 180 Amsterdam, are designed "to take a light-hearted look at the 'extreme power of the boots, in entertaining, surprising ways.'" 180 Amsterdam said that the online campaign, which will ultimately include 25 clips, represented a "new fast-turnaround 'grass roots' approach to advertising." Sweney noted that is in "marked contrast to Adidas' more typical strategy of expensive, high-quality campaigns" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 11/25).

    Watch The Clip Watch The Clip

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  • Bundesliga Passes EPL For Total Shirt Sponsorship Income

    Football Merchandising Report Ranks Bayern
    Munich As Having Most Valuable Shirt Sponsorship 
    Sport & Markt's European Football Merchandising Report indicates that the German Bundesliga has overtaken the English Premier League (EPL) as the soccer league with the "largest total income from shirt sponsorship," according to Nick Szczepanik of the LONDON TIMES. Also, Bundesliga club Bayern Munich is ranked ahead of EPL club Manchester United as having the "single most valuable shirt sponsorship deal." The report shows that the "economic climate and the drop in the exchange rate of the pound against the euro have been largely responsible for reducing the value of English sponsorship deals relative to those of the top European clubs -- even though the contracts have not been renegotiated." In addition, the "overall level of shirt sponsorship across the six main European leagues has dropped for the first time," from US$527.1M last season to US$511.3M this season. Sport & Markt Exec Dir Hartmut Zastrow said, "The main reasons why the Bundesliga now generates higher income from jersey sponsorships than the Premier League lies in (clubs) lacking jersey partners and the current weakness of the British currency." He added West Ham United shirt sponsor XL airlines went bankrupt, West Bromwich Albion "have yet to find a partner and Aston Villa now bears the logo of a charity organisation on its jersey." But Sport & Markt said that it "expects England to regain its pre-eminence." Sport & Markt Int'l Sales Dir Gareth Moore: "If the currency or the teams that are lacking a paying sponsor recover, the Premier League will top the ranking again next season" (LONDON TIMES, 11/25).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Cadillac Reportedly Might End 16-
    Year Relationship With Couples
    Golf Channel’s Vince Cellini reported that Cadillac is “reevaluating their relationship” with golfer Fred Couples. Couples’ current deal with Cadillac expires on December 31, and it “could be the end of the road after 16 years together.” Cellini: “A Cadillac spokeswoman said while they have enjoyed the relationship with Couples, all of their sponsorships and agreements are being evaluated” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 11/25). Meanwhile, in DC, Tim Lemke writes of Tiger Woods' nine-year endorsement deal with Buick ending one year before it was scheduled to end, "Like Michael Jordan before him, Woods has reached a unique point: Marketing deals are becoming less about endorsing a product and more about creating entirely new brands." It is "unlikely Buick would be able to offer anything similar, and the notion of a Tiger-branded car is just weird anyway" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/26).

    FORMULA FOR SUCCESS: LG Electronics Wednesday announced a multi-year deal to become a global partner and technology partner of F1 beginning in January. Per the deal, LG will be designated the official consumer electronics, mobile phone and data processor of F1. LG gets worldwide F1 marketing rights and will be credited on the timing service at F1 events and on TV graphics (LG). Terms were not released, but LG CMO Dermot Bolden said that the "sum would amount to tens of millions of dollars over the period" (REUTERS, 11/26).

    BOARD BAN: In Denver, Melanie Asmar reports Vail Resorts, Winter Park Resort and Echo Mountain are "banning employees from riding a new line of Burton snowboards that feature nearly nude Playboy centerfolds." Winter Park Resort Dir of Guest Experience Tom Carey said that guests "will still be allowed to ride the boards." Asmar notes "off-the-clock employees also will be allowed to ride them." Aspen/Snowmass spokesperson Jeff Hanle said that the mountain "plans to deal with the 'Love' boards on a case-by-case basis." He said that children's instructors "will likely be discouraged from riding the boards while on duty." Meanwhile, Monarch Mountain Owner Bob Nicolls said that he "won't ban the risqué boards" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 11/26).

    Billups Thursday To Wear Gold & Black Shoes
    In Honor Of Alma Mater, Univ. Of Colorado
    CUSTOM DESIGN: Nuggets G Chauncey Billups will wear a special-edition adidas TS Creator Thanksgiving Day shoe for Thursday's game against the Hornets. The shoe is black and gold in honor of the Univ. of Colorado, Billups' alma mater, and personalized details include inscriptions of "Go Buffs," Billups' initials and his nickname, "Mr. Big Shot." adidas will make 11 pairs, which will be auctioned online beginning Friday to benefit the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy (adidas). Meanwhile, Cavaliers F LeBron James wore a customized N.Y. version of his of Zoom LeBron VI Nikes during Tuesday's game against the Knicks at MSG, and ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said the move is "another sign to clearly say it is inevitable that LeBron James is leaving Cleveland and probably going to New York" when he becomes a free agent in 2010 ("PTI," ESPN, 11/25).

    IT KEEPS GOING: The NHL, NHLPA and Energizer Canada announced a deal making the company the official battery of the league and union in Canada. The deal includes activation across TV, NHL.com, in- arena branding, national consumer promotions and events marketing (NHL).

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