SBD/Issue 235/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • FTC Worried New Bud Light Promo Encourages Underage Drinking

    Dozens Of Schools Object
    To College-Themed Cans
    FTC attorney Janet Evans said that the commission has "grave concern" that Anheuser-Busch's new college-themed marketing campaign for Bud Light could "encourage underage and binge drinking on college campuses," according to John Hechinger of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Dozens of schools have "protested the promotion," which features Bud Light cans "decorated with college-team colors." Evans said, "This does not appear to be responsible activity. We're looking at this closely. We've talked to the company and expressed our concerns." A-B VP/Corporate Social Responsibility Carol Clark in a statement said that the brewer "told the FTC that the special beer cans will be sold only at retailers whose customers are 21 years and older." A-B said that it has "stopped distributing the cans in communities where colleges have formally complained," and noted that the cans "don't bear a school logo or name." A-B said that "roughly half of its wholesalers are participating" in the national promotion. Licensing Resource Group LLC attorney Michael Van Wieren, whose agency represents 160 colleges and sports organizations, yesterday said that a "dozen of its members have complained to local beer distributors." Evans pointed out that it "may be too late to stop the current promotion, expected to run through October." But she added, "We would certainly hope that something like this never happens again" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/25).

    A-B NOT HAILING THE VICTORS: Univ. of Michigan (UM) officials Friday said that A-B "has bent to legal pressure over its attempt to peddle 'dark blue and yellow' Bud Light cans." UM Dir of Public Affairs Kelly Cunningham said that school attorneys "sent a letter of complaint to Anheuser-Busch on July 22 over the campaign," which "included U-M colored beer cans and T-shirts listing the football season schedule on the back." Cunningham said that UM attorneys "have since heard back and were assured the cans won't be sold anywhere in U-M's community, which the university considers to be the entire state of Michigan" (Juliana Keeping,, 8/21).

  • NFL Net Emphasizes Ad-Buyer Fantasy League In Lieu Of Upfronts

    With the NFL Network canceling its upfront event this year for the first time in three years, the channel has decided to place even more emphasis on a fantasy football league that's made up of 16 of the top ad-buying agencies. The NFL is hosting a fantasy football draft party Thursday night at the Edison Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan that will have much of the glitz that had previously been reserved for its upfront event. NFL Network talent like Warren Sapp will be on hand, as will former N.Y.-area NFLers, including Ray Lucas, Harry Carson and Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson. This is the fourth year that the NFL has hosted a fantasy football league for media buying agencies, and it will be by far the biggest draft day event, with around 200 attendees expected. "It puts us top of mind with media buyers as they make decisions about where to place media dollars," said NFL VP/Media Sales David Pattillo. "Everybody is into fantasy. We thought it would be cool to get these guys into a room and execute a real draft. ... It's a good way to build relationships." NFL Network executives are calling this year's event especially critical, given the amount of ad inventory available in the fourth quarter scatter market. "Seventy percent of our revenue is in fourth and first quarter," Pattillo said. "This will help drive sales for NFL Net and" MediaEdge: CIA won last year's league, which gave the agency the opportunity to play a flag football game in Central Park last April against NFL ad sales executives and former players like Carl Banks and Wayne Chrebet. NFL Films filmed the game and edited a highlight reel.

    Universal McCann
    Busch Media
    Horizon Media
    Wieden + Kennedy
    RJ Palmer
    GM Media
    Mediaedge: CIA

  • Danica Patrick Models Tissot Watches In Spread For GQ Magazine

    Danica Models Tissot Watches
    In September Issue Of GQ
    IRL driver Danica Patrick, who has been an ambassador for Tissot watches since '05, "shows off some quick-change artistry in her latest ads for the Swiss watch brand, appearing in the September issue of GQ," according to NATIONAL JEWELER. GQ's four-page spread of Patrick, titled "She's Got the Touch," shows Patrick in "everything from a swimsuit to business wear to evening dress, displaying the brand's watches and Patrick's stylish side all the while." The spread was produced by the GQ Design Group, with photographs by James White. It features Patrick in "four different scenarios: sporting Tissot's 'T-Touch Expert' in the pool; wearing the brand's 'Generosi-T' with a suit jacket, skirt and strappy, cut-out high heels; donning the 'T-Race Danica Patrick 2009 Limited Edition' with a motorcycle jacket worn over a metallic green evening dress; and wearing the 'T-Touch Expert' again in a close-up embrace with model Luca Ribezzo" (, 8/21).

    GOOD CHOICE:'s Bruce Martin wrote Patrick's intention to stay with Andretti Green Racing and the IndyCar Series "is a wise decision." By remaining in IndyCar, Patrick "can continue to be one of the biggest names in auto racing." If she "switched to NASCAR, it would have been a bold gamble, consisting of a season or two in stock car's lower divisions before determining if she can be competitive in Sprint Cup." A season "away from a top-tier racing series could have taken the Danica brand off the shelf" (, 8/24).

    PINK LADY: IRL team Owner/driver Sarah Fisher yesterday announced the team will change all branding on her No. 67 IndyCar entry in the season-ending Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 10 to pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Fisher said she would never wear pink "unless it was for a good cause, and certainly to reach out and be a part of the fight for the cure is very important and it's personal." Fox Business' Chris Cottor asked Fisher, "A pink car? I would think that you would want your car looking bad, looking fast, maybe some flames painted on the side" ("America's Nightly Scoreboard," Fox Business, 8/24).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    Ambrose's Personality Has
    Helped Attract Sponsors
    In Daytona Beach, Godwin Kelly wrote NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose's "easy manner and Crocodile Dundee charm and recent racing success" is gaining the driver "more exposure and appeal among stock-car fans while attracting sponsorship." Ambrose's success "translates into marketing dollars, so it came as no surprise when Kimberly-Clark inked a deal to be one of his primary sponsors" for the '10 season (, 8/24). Meanwhile, Roush Fenway Racing announced that it has signed Fastenal to a multi-year deal to sponsor the NASCAR Nationwide Series No. 60 Ford driven by Carl Edwards for 15 races in '10 (Roush Fenway Racing).

    SAVE THE DATE? Wyndham Chair Steve Holmes has "declined to discuss Wyndham's interest beyond 2010" in serving as title sponsor of the PGA Tour's Greensboro event. However, sources said that some of Wyndham's "top leaders are interested in a four-year deal" if PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem can "guarantee a desirable date." Any changes to the schedule "will not take place until the tour's current television agreement is renewed in 2013" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 8/25).

    SERVE & VOLLEY: L.A.-based ad agency BPG yesterday unveiled Tennis Channel's new promotional campaign for its '09 U.S. Open broadcast coverage, which begins Monday. The spot, entitled "Air," features several tennis players, including Roger Federer and Int'l Tennis HOFer Billie Jean King. "Air" is currently running on Tennis Channel and will air on cable partners beginning Sunday through the tournament's conclusion on September 13 (Tennis Channel).

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