SBD/Issue 59/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Men Unlikely To Turn Back On Tiger As Endorser Due To Scandal

    Woods' Corporate Partners Sticking With Him,
    Believe Core Fans Won't Be Affected By Affairs
    If there is "one thing" that is clear thus far during Tiger Woods' ongoing scandal involving numerous reports of extramarital affairs, it is that his "corporate partners have his back," according to Peter Keating of ESPN.com. Woods "resonates with golf fans who admire him and want to be like him, and most of them are middle-aged and upper-income men, or young men who aspire to be upper-income by the time they're middle-aged." Keating: "Whatever they say in public or at the dinner table about how Woods has behaved, those men are not likely to turn their backs on Woods for reportedly messing around with women. And as they go, so go the companies that sell to them." Dig Communications President Peter Marino: "Tiger's fans are male consumers, and his sponsors are companies trying to reach those consumers, not married women or soccer moms." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis: "Some women, and for that matter, some concerned men, may be indignant. But which of the men who work for any of Tiger's sponsors is going to be the first to stand up and throw stones? Anybody who did that would put himself and his own company under tremendous scrutiny" (ESPN.com, 12/4). In S.F., Gwen Knapp wrote Woods' sponsors "have little reason to pull back," as his "core fans won't let the state of his marriage affect their fascination with his game." The "wider audience will probably let go of any naive disappointment and simply wallow in the drama of the scandal." But in the future, "instead of painting him as a paragon, his handlers might try something more honest" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/6).

    IMAGE IS EVERYTHING: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz wrote while Woods has "built his image around many values," Christian morality is "not one of them." IEG Chair Lesa Ukman: "It's not like it's a crisis of hypocrisy." Meanwhile, Ukman said of Woods' relative silence amid the controversy, "The sponsors will definitely be telling him and his people, 'you have to stop this now, you have to get up front, you have to become proactive in how you deal with this'" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/5). Fortune magazine's Adam Lashinsky: "In most instances these people aren't paying Tiger Woods to support their products with the message, 'He's a great guy, be like him because he's such a wonderful person.' It's that he is so excellent at what he does, and you use our products and you'll be excellent at what you do. That is the message. Nothing he's done so far is inconsistent with that. Unless this gets a lot worse, they'll probably keep paying him for it" ("Cavuto," Fox Business, 12/4). ESPN's Colin Cowherd said Woods "has never sold family. He's always sold performance." Cowherd: "He has always sold, 'I am elite.' Brett Favre sells, 'I'm one of you.' Tiger's like, 'I'm up here. Come and join me if you can'" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 12/4). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Jon Show cites marketing experts as saying that Woods now has an "opportunity to create a new image and become a more fan-friendly everyman" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/7 issue).

    Pulling Tiger's Products Off Shelves
    Would Cost Endorsers Like Gatorade
    MORE THAN WHAT IS ON THE SURFACE: Sports marketer Kim Henning, who has signed athlete endorsers in the past, wrote, "We’re not talking just commercials here. ... We’re talking whole product lines. Try to fathom the number of zeroes in the cost to Gatorade to pull the Tiger drink off the shelves. Imagine the gnashing of teeth at Nike’s offices as they contemplate the impact on The Tiger Woods Collection of apparel at thousands of retailers ... and right at the beginning of the holiday shopping season, no less." She added, "Might the whole thing blow over in time? History would suggest it will. ... But the pedestal on which Tiger stood was very high. And that could make the fall more damaging" (KIMSBIGCHAIR.BLOGSPOT.com, 12/5).

    LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Woods’ situation was predictably a focus on this week’s episode of NBC’s “SNL.” One skit began with Woods, played by Kenan Thompson, holding a press conference. Woods had a band-aid on his face and was standing next to his wife Elin Nordegren, played by guest host Blake Lively. He said, “I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. … I offer my profound apologies for these multiple transgressions.” Nordegren: “Multiple? So it happened more than once?!” Woods: “Did I say multiple because…?” At this point, the scene cut away to a “Breaking news” alert from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, played by cast member Jason Sudeikis, who said, “This just in: Tiger Woods is back in the hospital. Apparently, just hours after a press conference where he confessed to multiple transgressions, Woods had an accident in his home where he fell down a flight of stairs, then inadvertently threw himself through a plateglass window.” After several similar happenings, Woods read from a “prepared statement” that had writing on the back of it that was only visible to the audience that said, “Help me” and “I’m scared.” Later in the show during the “Weekend Update” news segment, cast member Seth Meyers said, “So Tiger cheated on his wife with multiple women in multiple cities and then he was involved in an alleged domestic violence incident and a car accident. How can anyone say golf isn’t a real sport? … So far Tiger’s sponsors are standing behind him, a gesture that can only mean one thing: Women don’t watch golf" (“SNL,” NBC, 12/5).

    MORE LATE-NIGHT FODDER: NBC's Conan O'Brien said, "We've come up with so many Tiger jokes, I don't even know which ones to use. Frankly, I could use a little guidance, so I hired a Tiger Woods joke caddie to help me. ... Tiger Woods' wife is renegotiating her prenuptial agreement. The rumor is she could get $80(M), which is ironic because the only other person who ever gets that kind of money for swinging a golf club is Tiger Woods. ... One of the women who claims she slept with Tiger Woods says he never talked about golf during sex. However, he did keep his head down and his left arm straight" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 12/4). ABC's Jimmy Kimmel said, "What I would do is I would just lay it all out there. I'd go on TV and I'd say, 'Listen, I had sex with some waitresses, which felt good for a few minutes, but definitely wasn't worth the hundreds of millions of dollars it could cost me. So from now on, if she decides to forgive me and I hope she does, I will only be having sex with my wife. And then in my free time, I will look at naked videos on the Internet after everyone in the house goes to sleep. Like every other American male'" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 12/4). 

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  • Go Your Own Way: NFL Nixes Ad Campaign Featuring Bears, 'Hawks

    NFL Rule Prohibits Bears,
    Blackhawks Ad Campaign
    A series of ads featuring players from the Bears and Blackhawks are "never going to see the light of day" per an NFL rule, according to Phil Rosenthal of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The spots in the "Crosstown Supporters" campaign, via Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, were shot in October, but NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello indicated that the league "prohibits use of team marks and logos in connection with the promotion of other sports except by three-quarters vote of the league's 32 clubs." The NFL "saw no gray area, which is probably why the Bears-Hawks ads were thought to be unprecedented." Bears Senior Dir of Corporate Communications Scott Hagel: "We felt it was within the framework of the spirit of what the rule was. They felt differently, and we have to respect their decision." Rosenthal reported that five spots were filmed, including Bears QB Jay Cutler "trading passing tips" with Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews, and Bears LB Lance Briggs and Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook "talking about big hits." The Blackhawks "ponied up the cash to produce the ads and pledged to buy time and place the spots" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/6).

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  • New Dodge Boss Ralph Gilles Discusses NASCAR Relationship

    Gilles Says NASCAR Is A
    "Natural Fit" With Dodge
    New Dodge President & CEO Ralph Gilles Friday said NASCAR is a “natural fit” with his company, according to Bob Pockrass of NASCAR SCENE. Gilles, who replaced Mike Accavitti in October, said, “NASCAR is a great way to underscore Dodge’s personality. We’re positioning as a sports-car brand as well, not just a minivan brand. We want to amp up, so to speak, our fun-to-drive component.” Pockrass noted while Gilles “has a motorsports background as an amateur spec racer, his knowledge of NASCAR was limited.” Gilles: "As soon as I got the job, I dug into NASCAR because I believe we would stick with it and I wanted [to] see (how we can) really maximize the benefit.” Gilles indicated that there is “more than just winning that makes the NASCAR program beneficial.” Gilles: “Being there is half the battle and how you present it, how you feature it. On our Web site, there isn’t enough presence of NASCAR. I’d like to see more of it on the Web and connect our racing and our commercial side together.” Gilles said that he is “happy with the new Challenger that will be run in the Nationwide Series in four races next season as part of that series’ new car rollout.” Referring to the Sprint Cup Series, he added, “I would like to see over the next, maybe, four or five years, we see that (manufacturer identity) happen on Sundays” (SCENEDAILY.com, 12/4). Gilles, when asked if he believes officials with Dodge’s new owner Fiat “fully support” the automaker’s involvement in NASCAR, said, “We’ve only been together for five months now, so I could tell you better if you ask me that question a year from now. But, obviously, they take motorsports very seriously over in Italy. I would say give it time. I think they will find the value in it that we see” (ESPN.com, 12/4).

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  • Nike's Mark Parker Pushes Brand Forward By Keeping With Times

    Nike's Market Share Is Growing
    Under Parker's Leadership
    Nike CEO Mark Parker after four years in his position is "growing Nike from a brand that you slip on your feet or pull over your shoulders to one that follows you off the field into your life of digital socializing and New World hobbies," according to a Money section cover story by Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. Parker is "steering Nike through the hazards in part by subtly downplaying the Nike brand and recognizing that growth increasingly will come from other brands in the company portfolio," including Umbro, Converse and Hurley. He is "ramping up profitable product customization options for buyers," and has "tripled spending on Nike's digital platform, redesigning NikeStore.com into an industry-leading site and growing digital sales by double digits." Sporting Goods Intelligence data shows that Nike's market share grew almost 1% in '08, "while industry sales fell," and it is "beating the industry again in 2009." Nike Chair Phil Knight said of Parker, "He's much better equipped than I was to deal with running a big company." Horovitz notes Parker's latest "game plan is simple: Small is big." While Nike has been a "peripheral player in teen-targeted activities such as skateboarding and snowboarding, Parker wants it to become a trend-setting insider." A new store in Southern California "doesn't carry the Nike name," and instead just carries the logos for Converse, Hurley and Nike's 6.0 action sports line. Meanwhile, Horovitz notes Nike's "celebrity athletes are enamored of Parker. And he is loyal to them almost to a fault." The brand stayed with Lakers G Kobe Bryant after he was accused of rape in '03, and is "standing by Tiger Woods" right now. Parker said, "Tiger and his family have Nike's full support." Parker indicated that Nike will not "move away from pricey athlete endorsements." He said, "We always want to be connected with the world's top athletes" (USA TODAY, 12/7).

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  • AFL Merchandise Proving To Be A Hot-Seller For Teams, League

    Bills' 50th-Anniversary
    Merchandise Selling Well
    NFL VP/Consumer Products Leo Kane indicated that the "more than two dozen licensees" who have been making about 100 products related to NFL teams wearing AFL jerseys this season have "produced tens of millions of dollars in sales," according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Yesterday's Patriots-Dolphins game marked the last game this season in which original AFL teams wore vintage jerseys to commemorate the league's 50th anniversary, and Patriots Exec Dir of Media Relations Stacey James said that sales of AFL and 50th anniversary merchandise "have made up 20[%] of overall sales, compared with 12[%] last year" for the team. The Patriots' "best sellers have been 50th-anniversary T-shirts for $19.95 and red jerseys worn in 1963." Bills COO Russ Brandon said that 30% of his team's "merchandise sales this year had been 50th anniversary or AFL related." Meanwhile, Belson reported the Broncos' team store has "sold more than 1,800 pairs of the high socks" the team wore during its vintage games at $14.95 a piece. The striped socks "have been an unexpected hit" -- Broncos Retail Operations Manager Tim Kellond "receives about 250 calls a week from customers asking when more will arrive from the manufacturer." Kellond: "I get them in and sell them out in two hours" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/6).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Aston Villa Reportedly In Talks With Three
    Companies For Five-Year Shirt Deal
    SOCCERLENS.com reported EPL club Aston Villa "is in talks with three multi-national companies" for a five-year shirt sponsorship worth US$8M in the first year and "rising up to" US$49M over five years. The club for the last two years has been donating their shirt advertising to charity Acorns. The club has said that the "on-going charity will be a condition of any deal" (SOCCERLENS.com, 12/6).

    KICKING IT UP A NOTCH: In Portland, Harris Meyer reported adidas Group is "rolling out a mammoth marketing campaign to capitalize" on next summer's FIFA World Cup. adidas "hopes its World Cup products and marketing will widen its soccer edge over Nike" next year (OREGONLIVE.com, 12/5).

    STAYING OUT OF THE CONVERSATION: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that he has "not participated in the talks" to bring Danica Patrick to NASCAR. Earnhardt and JR Motorsports co-Owner Rick Hendrick said that negotiations are "being handled by Earnhardt's sister, Kelley." Earnhardt: "It's still sort of in the negotiation stages. Her and my sister are, I guess, managing that entirely." Kelley Earnhardt Elledge and former crew chief Tony Eury Jr. were "given ownership stakes in the organization" last week. Meanwhile, Earnhardt has been named NASCAR's "most popular driver for a seventh consecutive year" (AP, 12/4).

    ROUNDUP: MARKETING MAGAZINE's Joe Thomas reported Nestle Waters U.K. is "changing its sponsorship of the London Marathon from bottled water brand Vittel to Nestle Pure Life." Vittel had been a sponsor of the event for 11 years but "this will switch to Nestle Pure Life from 2010." The race's title sponsorship for '10 also is changing from Flora to Virgin (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 12/4)....Baseball HOFer Jim Rice "has signed on for another two years with RCN as the company's Boston-area spokesjock" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/6).

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