SBD/Issue 86/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • NBC Increases Revenue Goals For Olympics As Ad Sales Pick Up

    NBC Has Sold 92% Of
    Its Revised Sales Goal
    Despite claims that it will lose $200M on the Vancouver Games, NBC has seen its ad sales “pick up just enough to increase its revenue goals for the event,” according to Mickle & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. NBC has sold 92% of its “newly revised sales goal, which is north of $650[M] for national sales -- a figure that does not include local sales at the network’s owned-and-operated stations.” NBC Senior VP/Sports and Olympics Sales & Marketing Seth Winter said, “We’re in very good shape.” NBC “expects total sales revenue for the Vancouver Games to fall in line with the previous two Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and Turin,” which totaled $740M and $930M, respectively. But NBC is "paying a much larger rights fee for the Vancouver Games," and a source said that the “newly revised revenue target still is well below the original one set several years ago.” NBC has set a “14.0 prime-time household ratings guarantee” for the Vancouver Games. Several Olympic sponsors, including U.S. sponsors like AT&T and Procter & Gamble, "have bought significant advertising time on NBC, and global partners like Visa, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s also purchased inventory during prime time.” NBC has “managed to bring Subway on board as an advertiser” in the QSR category, and the net has done “well in the insurance, movies and auto categories.” It has booked Audi and GM, which “helped make up for the loss of GM’s 10-year, $500[M] Olympic advertising commitment.” NBC still is “looking to add advertisers in some categories, including rental cars and beer, where USOC partner Anheuser-Busch opted not to buy exclusivity” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/18 issue).

    HOW THE WEST WAS LOST: NBC last week disclosed that its primetime coverage of the Vancouver Games would not be live on the West Coast, and in Seattle, Ron Judd wrote if NBC "really believes most people want to be spoon fed" Olympic coverage "only after dark, but knows that some other malcontents prefer to watch sports live, why not do both?" Using a "cable network to put morning events on in the morning" would be a "win-win." But Judd wrote that will "never happen under" NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol's leadership. Judd: "Which is another good reason to give the Olympic contract to a network that treats the Olympics as a live event, not schlock content to be repackaged at its own convenience" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/17).

    FAILED DEFENSE: In N.Y., Lauria & Covert wrote Ebersol's defense of the decision to return Jay Leno to late night was a "lame attempt to control the carnage created by NBC management's latest late-night screw up." Ebersol said disappointing ratings for Conan O'Brien's "The Tonight Show" were the reason for the move, but Lauria & Covert wrote, "Excuse us, but aren't Ebersol and [NBC Universal President & CEO] Jeff Zucker paid to make programming bets? Aren't they precisely the people who should be blamed for making the wrong ones? By the way, Dick, nice job on all that red ink soon to be spilled on your Winter Olympics bet. Who should be blamed for that one, Shaun White?" Ebersol's comments regarding the late night move are "not just ruthless, they're disingenuous" (N.Y. POST, 1/18).

  • Tim Tebow To Be Featured In Super Bowl Ad For Focus On The Family

    Tebow, His Mother Will Share Personal Story
    In Focus On The Family Super Bowl Ad
    Non-profit Christian organization Focus on the Family has bought a 30-second ad during CBS' telecast of Super Bowl XLIV that will feature former Univ. of Florida QB Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam. The Tebows will share a personal story centered on the theme of "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life." Focus on the Family President & CEO Jim Daly in a statement said that "all the funds to air the ad came from a handful of 'very generous and committed friends' who donated specifically to support the project." No money from the ministry's general fund was used. This will be the organization's first Super Bowl ad (Focus on the Family). The AP noted Focus on the Family "isn't releasing details, but the commercial is likely to be an anti-abortion message chronicling Pam Tebow's 1987 pregnancy." After getting sick "during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim" (AP, 1/16). In Orlando, Jeremy Fowler reported the commercial was "shot in Orlando" (, 1/16).

    MAKING AN EARLY IMPRESSION: In Miami, Joseph Goodman wrote, "This is fascinating stuff. Pro athletes, especially those as recognizable as Tebow, hardly ever take public stands about anything let alone something as divisive as abortion." However, the move "isn't exactly ideal for mainstream marketing, sponsorship and image branding." Goodman: "I'm sure Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Gatorade and all the rest are taking notice" (, 1/17).

  • Boost Mobile Using '85 Bears Players In New Super Bowl Spot

    Boost Mobile Featuring Former Bears
    Players In Its First Super Bowl Spot
    Boost Mobile has "drafted some of the 1985 Chicago Bears to star in its first Super Bowl commercial as the prepaid-wireless company tries to raise its brand awareness in an increasingly competitive market," according to Suzanne Vranica of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Boost Mobile is "putting finishing touches on its ad," which shows former Bears including Jim McMahon, Willie Gault and Mike Singletary "re-creating their famous 'Super Bowl Shuffle' rap song and video." The spot is being created by Omnicom Group's 180, L.A, and Boost parent company Sprint Nextel "declined to disclose how much it spent for the ad." The spot "will run in the first quarter" of Super Bowl XLIV, which is being broadcast on CBS on February 7. Vranica noted Boost "markets its plans to 18- to 49-year-olds and hopes the Super Bowl ... will help it build a broader awareness." Sprint Nextel VP/Marketing Bob Stohrer said that Boost has "about 55% to 65% brand awareness with consumers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/16). In N.Y., Holly Sanders Ware notes Boost Mobile is "jumping into the fray despite a budget dwarfed by rival giants AT&T and Verizon Wireless." With "veterans such as Pepsi, General Motors and FedEx sitting out Super Bowl XLIV," viewers "should prepare for a roster of unseasoned and second-string players during the commercial breaks" (N.Y. POST, 1/18).

    DOLLARS & NONSENSE? Chrysler last week announced it will air a 60-second spot for its Dodge brand during the Super Bowl, and AD AGE's Rupal Parekh notes the company's decision to return to the game now, "after a five-year hiatus and on the heels of bankruptcy, set off a debate among consumers whether spending that kind of cash was kosher." Within hours of the news, Chrysler was "getting skewered in the blogosphere by angry consumers who dubbed the high-profile buy a waste of taxpayer dollars." Parekh: "What's a company who's taken a handout to do? Marketing is a part of the normal course of any business, and essential to rebuilding tattered brands. But when you're screamed at for spending money, is it worth it?" (AD AGE, 1/18 issue).

  • adidas Drops Gilbert Arenas As Endorser Following Guilty Plea

    adidas Friday said that it was "dumping longtime endorser" Wizards G Gilbert Arenas after his "guilty plea on felony gun charges" in DC, according to Michael McCarthy of USA TODAY. The move "demonstrates the short fuse that Madison Avenue now has with wayward athletic endorsers." adidas earlier this month had initially said it was "evaluating" its relationship with Arenas after NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay (, 1/15). AD AGE's Jeremy Mullman noted as of Friday, Arenas' picture was "still prominent on adidas' website, even after he entered his guilty plea." Arenas had endorsed adidas since '03 and had been a "staple of the company's basketball marketing for years, alongside" Rockets G Tracy McGrady, Celtics F Kevin Garnett and Magic C Dwight Howard (, 1/15). The adidas Web site no longer contains any references to Arenas (THE DAILY).

  • Vancouver Olympics Seeing Less Ambush Marketing Than Past Games

    Some Feel Blenz' Promotions Featuring
    Ricker Border On Ambush Marketing
    VANOC CEO John Furlong said that there "has probably been less ambush marketing" around the Vancouver Games than at previous Olympics, and he "credits that to VANOC's early vigilance on the issue," according to Bruce Constantineau of the VANCOUVER SUN. VANOC Dir of Commercial Rights Management Bill Cooper estimated that "about 1,500 non-Olympic sponsors have been contacted about improper association with the Games so far," and he said that about 90-95% of those issues "were resolved by the voluntary actions of those advertisers." Cooper: "If we succeed in delivering sponsors value in these Games, they're much more likely to reinvest into amateur sport in Canada after the Games. And their competitors who see their success are likely to reinvest too, or explore investment." Ad agency OMD Vancouver GM Rick Anderson said that there has been "less Olympic ambush marketing activity than he expected." Anderson: "For the most part, non-sponsors are stepping back because they realize the negative backlash they might get just isn't worth it." But Coca-Cola Canada Dir of Public Affairs & Communications David Moran said that the IOC TOP sponsor is "clearly concerned with rival Pepsi's attempt to promote a new Team Canada cheer" at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Constantineau noted Lululemon Athletica, which sells yoga apparel, "got under VANOC's skin last month by launching a clothing line called the 'Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition.'" VANOC "complained, but the company still sells the clothing, now marketed as 'Cheer Gear.'" But some marketing efforts that "seem to push VANOC's boundaries appear to have been approved by the Olympic body." A Blenz Coffee Company cup sleeve features an image of Canada snowboarder Maelle Ricker "in red mittens -- similar to the popular official Olympic red mittens -- surrounded by rings that appear to overlap." Blenz co-Founder Brian Noble said that the rings are "actually coffee-cup stains, a marketing image the company has used for 16 years" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/16).

    GETTING SOCIAL: McDonald's Exec VP & Global CMO Mary Dillon said that social media will "play a larger role in the way McDonald's will activate its sponsorship of the Vancouver Olympics." In the U.S., McDonald's "How do you McNugget?" promotion will "allow fans on Twitter and Facebook to follow and try to find athletes in different cities across the United States on the social networks." Meanwhile, Dillon said that the company's Champion Kids program will "involve more athletes than in Beijing." U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson is "serving as an ambassador for the program," and other athletes included in McDonald's ads are Canada speedskater Cindy Klassen, Canada snowboarders Brad Martin and Crispin Lipscomb and Canada skier Alexandre Bilodeau (, 1/17).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    Rice Has Earned $500,000 In
    Endorsement Deals Already This Season
    Fundamental Sports Group's Ben Renzin, whose company handles Ravens RB Ray Rice's marketing and endorsement deals, believes that Rice is "on the cusp of turning himself into a major brand." Renzin said that Rice has "earned $500,000 in endorsement deals already this season, and projects he will easily top" $1M. Rice has a "deal in place with Nike," and he is the "spokesperson for a jewelry store in Baltimore." Steiner Sports Memorabilia Chair Brandon Steiner signed Rice to a "six-figure endorsement deal" last week and said that he is "planning a major promotional blitz featuring Rice" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/16).

    JEAN TEAM: The "Mayne Event" segment of yesterday's edition of "Sunday NFL Countdown" focused around Vikings QB Brett Favre's endorsement of Wrangler jeans. Vikings LT Bryant McKinnie said, "Brett got us all together and said, 'Look, this is why we put in all the hard work, to get to this stage.'" ESPN's Kenny Mayne: "To be in a position to win a Super Bowl?" McKinnie: "No, man, to sell Wrangler jeans!" Vikings WR Percy Harvin said Favre "wanted us to wear Wrangler jeans during the game. He said denim goes with anything" ("Sunday NFL Countdown," ESPN, 1/17).

    FUN & GAMES: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont reported Penguins Cs Sidney Crosby and Max Talbot "teamed up in a Reebok spot that has the two Penguins back in Crosby's family home in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, competing in Crosby's childhood passion: shooting pucks through the open door of a well-dinged clothes dryer." Talbot "grabbed the early 2-0 lead," but Crosby "roared back for a 9-4 thumping" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/17).

    IT'S ELECTRIC: Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson said of his "Electric Glide" viral video ad for Nike, "A lot of times, my fans see me very focused and a serious person. I wanted to bring out a side of me that my family and friends get to see, and so Nike came up with the idea of, 'Show people a different side of LT that they haven't seen,' and I wanted to show that side of me" ("Sunday NFL Countdown," ESPN, 1/17).

    WHEELS & DEALS: Goody's Headache Powders and Tums are renewing their sponsorship of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway through the '12 season. Goody's sponsorship of the spring race will continue as the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 while Tums will extend its sponsorship of the fall race as the Tums Fast Relief 500 (Martinsville Speedway)....Hershey's new Milk & Milkshakes line "will serve as the official sponsor" of Speedweeks '10 at Daytona Int'l Speedway (, 1/15).

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