SBD/Issue 28/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • HomeAway Debuting National Campaign Effort With Super Bowl Ad

    Austin-based vacation rental company HomeAway Inc. is making its first foray into Super Bowl advertising during CBS' telecast of the February 7 game, and the ad will be closely coordinated with an Internet-based national campaign. HomeAway Founder & CEO Brian Sharples said the company is aiming to "create something at the Super Bowl that engages people enough to want to see more." Sharples noted the company plans to shoot "a lot more footage" than what viewers will see in the Super Bowl spot, which represents HomeAway's first national ad. "There will be a lot more online, and we're going to try to engage consumers to come to our Web site and see more of it," he said. "Hopefully in that process they can discover our products too, search around on the site and maybe come back when they're ready to take a vacation." Sharples said many Internet-related Super Bowl advertisers in recent years have returned to the game after their initial efforts, which served as a "good signal" for HomeAway. "There's so much PR for the advertising on the Internet post-Super Bowl that if you're an online business, you can get a lot more bang for your buck than just the media on game day," Sharples said. "So that's certainly what we're going to attempt to capitalize on." Sharples did not disclose when the ad will air during CBS' telecast, nor could he reveal financial details around the ad buy. However, he described the Super Bowl spend as "right in there with the averages that everybody else reports."

    Watch The "Seriously" Clip From
    HomeAway's Test Campaign

    PIECE OF THE PUZZLE: The 30-second spot will serve as the launching point for HomeAway's national campaign, which is expected to run for most of '10 on broadcast and cable networks, as well as online. Sharples said there will be a "pretty significant Internet element" to the campaign, including banner advertising. HomeAway will begin shooting the Super Bowl ad in late-November and early-December, and while Sharples was unable to disclose any further details, he said the company plans to reveal more about the ad content in mid-November. HomeAway is working with agency of record Publicis in the West to develop and produce the ad and related online efforts. Sharples noted the cost of the Super Bowl ad will be "far less than 10% of what we spend on the total campaign," and the campaign spend is easily the company's largest marketing cost to date for a single campaign. "As a company we spend a lot of money in online search marketing, and those numbers last year far dwarf what we're spending on the Super Bowl," he said. "But in terms of a single campaign, anything that's in broad-reach media, it's by far the biggest thing we've done."

    TESTING, TESTING: HomeAway worked with Publicis in the West over the summer to test advertising creative in select markets, including Chicago, Denver and S.F. Sharples said the goal of the summer campaign, titled "Seriously," was to determine how the creative "impacted awareness of the business [and] how it impacted sales" of the company's products. He added the creative execution of the forthcoming national campaign "will end up being a little bit different" than the test campaign. "It's going to be obviously upgraded a little bit for the Super Bowl stage," he said.

  • Truth Be Told: Tony Stewart Passes Polygraph Test In BK Promo

    Stewart Proves His Love For The Whopper
    By Successfully Passing Lie Detector Test
    NASCAR driver/team owner Tony Stewart yesterday proved he did in fact love the Whopper by successfully passing a lie detector test as part of a Burger King promotion. Stewart participated in a live hour-long polygraph test on that included questions submitted by fans as part of the "Tony Stewart School of Endorsements" campaign. Stewart, who wore a shirt with logos for Burger King, Office Depot and Old Spice, said the test and atmosphere "feels like playing 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.'" When asked by Fox' Matt Yocum, who moderated the test, whether he was worried he might fail the final question concerning his fondness for the QSR's signature hamburger, Stewart said, "Not really, because I really do love the Whopper." Stewart was caught lying seven times, including questions about whether he goes on dates a lot, if he checks out women in the stands during races and if he has ever raced sans underwear in his fire suit. He appeared most upset when he lied on a question asking if he had a special toy or blanket when he was a little kid. The expert who administered the polygraph test said Stewart is a "better driver than a liar." Stewart: "I'm glad none of my ex-girlfriends submitted questions" (Jessica Collins, THE DAILY).'s David Whitley wrote Stewart "deserves credit for proving he puts his mouth where his endorsement money is" (, 10/20). AD WEEK's Brian Morrissey wrote Burger King "showed admirable restraint not making it all about burgers." Of the "30-odd questions, five came from the brand." Morrissey: "All in all, it was pretty entertaining, even for someone who has never watched a NASCAR race in his life, though it probably lasted a bit too long and at times seemed contrived" (, 10/20).

    CROSSOVER APPEAL: NASCAR SCENE's Jeff Gluck wrote "one of NASCAR's most important marketing tools" are commercials featuring drivers who "cross over into mainstream sports telecasts." NASCAR is "constantly searching for ways to penetrate the 'stick-and-ball' sports market and attract new fans, occasionally with a little success." But as the league "well understands, a terrific way to spread its message is to have sponsors that use the drivers in advertising campaigns." Most drivers are "featured in commercials that play only during races." But Stewart has "gotten the most non-racing airtime this year through the Old Spice commercials and now the Burger King ads." Stewart's ads are "good for the sport because he's clearly identified as a race-car driver" (, 10/19).

  • Maryland, South Carolina Football To Wear Camouflage Uniforms

    Maryland Will Wear Special Camo Jerseys
    For November 14 Game Against Virginia Tech
    The Univ. of Maryland and the Univ. of South Carolina football teams "will wear uniforms with camouflage designs during their games Nov. 14 to honor military veterans and to promote the Wounded Warrior Project," according to Ralph Russo of the AP. The "black and tan camouflage uniforms, designed by Under Armour, will have a Wounded Warrior logo on them." Instead of players' names, the backs of the jerseys "will have words such as courage, loyalty, integrity and service." South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: "I like that word courage. We're trying to encourage our football players to play with a little more courage like the way these guys do for our country." Russo noted some jerseys "will be auctioned off after the games on the university Web sites, with all of the money being donated to the Wounded Warrior Project." Under Armour apparel and team gear with the Wounded Warrior logo, "such as hooded sweat shirts and polo shirts, will be sold in college bookstores, and a portion of the proceeds will go to WWP." South Carolina will play the Univ. of Florida on November 14, while Maryland faces Virginia Tech. Veterans Day is November 11 (AP, 10/20). In Columbia, Seth Emerson notes South Carolina's jerseys "feature camouflage on the sleeves, with the numbers slightly colored." The team's shoes also "will be completely camo-colored" (Columbia STATE, 10/21). In Baltimore, Jay Hancock wrote the uniforms provide "more great publicity" for Under Armour. The company gets its "cachet from selling 'authentic' gear to real jocks," and the "quasi-military camo uniforms may seem even cooler and more authentic." Also, the WWP is a "great cause" (, 10/20).

  • Athletic-Shoe Marketers Cater To Bloggers For Building Buzz

    Shoe Companies Turning To Blogs, Like
    HypeBeast, To Help Market New Offerings
    Athletic-shoe marketers in recent years have been "going out of their way to seek out, cater to and stir up conversation among bloggers," who are known in the industry as "sneakerheads," according to Todd Wasserman of AD WEEK. While the bloggers represent a "tiny segment of the market, they are considered the primary vehicle for building buzz and hence get an inordinate amount of the sneaker companies' attention." The sneaker industry as recently as three years ago "spent a good deal of its money on print media, supporting various magazines that catered to a young, fashion-conscious crowd." But now if you "sell sneakers in the U.S., you have no choice but to form good relationships with a handful of bloggers who act as tastemakers for the category." adidas Sports Style Division U.S. Dir Simon Atkins said, "We have seen the sneaker culture increase over the past several years to the point where, today, bloggers are integral partners in helping spread the word about coming products. We're putting a lot of effort into this type of consumer, and we're spending a lot of time on them." Blogger Steve Levy claims that his HypeBeast blog "gets about 900,000 uniques a month, which is bigger than the readership of GQ." Levy said that he "works or has worked with all the big U.S. sneaker companies, providing a mix of PR and advertising sales." But Wasserman notes the "influence of bloggers on the sneaker segment appears to be ... on the wane." Reebok VP/Global Brand Marketing Rich Prenderville acknowledged the importance of sneakerheads, but said, "I don't think they influence the rest of the market as much as we thought a few years ago" (AD WEEK, 10/19 issue).

  • Outback Champions Series Tour Sues Charlotte Tennis Club

    InsideOut Sports & Entertainment is suing The Palisades Country Club in Charlotte over "more than $350,000 in unpaid sponsorship fees" related to the company's Outback Champions Series tennis event at the club, according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. InsideOut in a lawsuit filed in federal court Monday claims that the Palisades "failed to pay any of the $347,288" owed the company for running this year's event. The suit also claims the Palisades "owes $10,250 in unpaid fees" from the '08 tournament. Attorney Doug Hand, who is representing InsideOut, said that the company "wants to continue holding the tournament" at the Palisades. In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit "asks the court to compel the Palisades to continue hosting the tournament the next two years, and pay $747,537 in contracted sponsorship fees." InsideOut has run an event at the Palisades each September since '06 and is contracted through '11 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/21).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    HBC's Red Mittens For '10 Games
    Have Become Runaway Bestseller
    In Vancouver, Bruce Constantineau reported the red mittens Hudson's Bay Co. (HBC) created as part of the Canadian Olympic team clothing line for the '10 Games "have become a runaway bestseller." More than 105,000 pairs of the C$10 mittens have sold since going on sale October 1. HBC officials said that the "surging demand for the mittens is outpacing supply,"  and about 500,000 more pairs are "expected to arrive in Canada by the end of October." VANOC Dir of Licensing & Merchandising Dennis Kim: "It seems to be such an iconic keepsake and souvenir and a lot of people see this as the 'It' item right now." Around 1 million pairs are expected to be sold by the end of the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic games (VANCOUVER SUN, 10/20).

    HITTING THE SLOPES: In Boston, Donna Goodison reports New Balance is "jumping into action sports with the launch of a snowboarding line." New Balance has "partnered with California snowboarding brand 686 on the '686 Times New Balance' collection of snowboard boots, sneakers, jackets and T-shirts." New Balance will debut the collection tomorrow night at the Concepts sneaker store in Cambridge's Harvard Square outside Boston (BOSTON HERALD, 10/21).

    Blanco Signing Autographs
    During Appearance In Chicago
    HOT AS FIRE: MLS Fire MF Cuauhtemoc Blanco is one of three soccer players on the cover of the new North American version of EA Sports' "FIFA Soccer 10," and in Chicago, Nick Firchau reported fans Monday "welcomed Blanco and a host of other Fire players to the Best Buy at the John Hancock Center to officially launch the game." Blanco: "I'm very happy. Growing up and playing the game as a little boy, I never dreamed of something like this. I never thought I would be on the cover of a video game" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/20).

    DRIVING IN CIRCLES? In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin reported news of a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series "should come later this week or early next week." Cavin: "We'll see. If it happens in this round, it will be Izod" (, 10/20).

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