SBD/Issue 88/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • CBS Gives Early Approval To Focus On The Family Super Bowl Ad

     
    CBS officials have "approved a script for a Super Bowl spot" from Christian group Focus on the Family, which suggests that the ad "will not carry a pro-life message -- at least an overt one," according to David Goetzl of MEDIADAILYNEWS. CBS has a "policy of prohibiting advocacy ads, even ones that carry an 'implicit' endorsement for a side in a public debate." There has been speculation that Focus on the Family's Super Bowl spot, starring former Univ. of Florida QB Tim Tebow and his mother, might "offer a pro-life message." However, a CBS spokesperson said that the network "will review the video version of the spot before giving it the final green light, but does not anticipate any hurdles." Focus on the Family only announced the ad would carry a "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life" theme, utilizing a "strategy that many Super Bowl advertisers employ: Announce that an ad has been bought, but hold off on releasing details in order to generate pre-game interest." Goetzl notes CBS in recent years has "rejected Super Bowl ads on the grounds that they advocate one side in matters where 'substantial elements of the community (are) in opposition to one another'" (MEDIADAILYNEWS, 1/20 issue). AD AGE's Brian Steinberg noted the ad buy "may come as a surprise to veteran Super Bowl watchers." NBC last year turned down an ad from PETA that "showed women in lingerie placed in suggestive positions with pumpkins and asparagus." CBS also "turned down a similar ad for its 2004 Super Bowl broadcast as well as one from MoveOn.org that bashed President Bush." Focus on the Family VP/Media Relations Gary Schneeberger said that the message in his organization's commercial "is likely to act more as an offer of help, with the hope the commercial will generate awareness for the organization and its family services" (ADAGE.com, 1/19).

    THE WRONG MESSAGE AT THE WRONG TIME? CBSSPORTS.com's Gregg Doyel noted the ad may carry a "beautiful, undeniable message," but he wrote, "I don't want to see. Not during the damn Super Bowl." Doyel: "I'm not complaining about the ad because it's anti-abortion and I'm not. I'm complaining about the ad because it's pro-politics. And I'm not. Not on Super Sunday" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/19). In Virginia, Bob Molinaro writes Super Bowl viewers "shouldn't be ambushed by political advocacy ads." It can be a "great thing when men and women believe in something bigger than themselves," but by teaming up with Focus on the Family, Tebow is "stepping out of the spiritual arena into the political, where idealism doesn't stand a chance" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 1/20). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde noted some people "will be upset" if the Tebow spot carries an anti-abortion theme as rumored, but "an athlete gets to use the platform however he/she wants." Tebow "wants to deliver Christian-based sermons." But Hyde noted it remains to be seen if such an ad "will affect how some teams view him" ahead of April's NFL Draft (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/19).

    FLORAL ARRANGEMENT: Teleflora today announced it will return to the Super Bowl with a Valentine's Day-themed 30-second spot, set to air during the game's second quarter. Last year's game on NBC marked Teleflora's first time advertising during the Super Bowl, and this year's spot brings back the company's talking flowers campaign launched in '08. The ad, via in-house agency Fire Station, will continue to air through February 12 (Teleflora).

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  • NFL Squeezing Small-Scale Online Retailers Over Merchandise

    NFL Is Limiting Who Can Offer
    Reebok's Game Day Apparel Line
    The NFL is "essentially cutting off ... small-scale online discounters," as the league will "only allow online shops that bought at least $3[M] worth of licensed merchandise from Reebok last year to apply to offer" the company's game day apparel line, according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Reebok's licensing division in a letter sent last fall notified "hundreds of ... online retailers that they would have to reapply for the right to continue selling the NFL's valuable game day line," which includes jerseys, hats and "other apparel modeled on what players and coaches wear." More traditional retail stores "that also sell online will have to meet a minimum threshold of $2[M] in purchases last year." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that the league's strategy is to "protect its brand by combating counterfeiters who sold knockoffs and discounters who undercut value." McCarthy: "It's the same as Tiffany or Levi's or Ralph Lauren. Wal-Mart doesn't sell our top of the line. The game day stuff is our best stuff, and that's why we need to protect it." McCarthy added that small stores "excluded by its new policy can still sell non-game day merchandise like sweatshirts often found at mass-market retailers." Retail analysts said that NFL officials "appear to have calculated that they can make enough in extra sales through NFLShop.com and other approved Web sites to offset any loss of sales to small retailers." Meanwhile, Belson notes the league's new policy comes at a "critical legal and political juncture for the NFL," as the Supreme Court is deciding American Needle v. the NFL. The league's change in online sales strategy also comes as the U.S. House is "considering a bill that would make it an antitrust violation for manufacturers to set minimum retail prices" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20).

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  • Who Dat? Saints' Playoff Run Continues Strong Merchandise Sales

    Saints Seeing Strong Merchandise Sales
    As Team Advances In NFL Playoffs
    Following the Saints’ playoff win over the Cardinals last Saturday, the “fever for all things Black & Gold stepped up a notch" at local retailers, according to WWL-AM's Jay Vise. Supermarket chain Rouses' Owner Donald Rouse said that many of his stores "could not keep the Drew Brees ‘Finish Strong’ T-shirt on the shelves.” Louisiana-based Bayou Sports Shop co-Owner Shannon Ockman said that Brees “remains a fan favorite for merchandise,” but also said that RB Reggie Bush is “running a close second in sales.” Meanwhile, Vise reported some local merchants “who also have a presence on the Internet have found a major profit center in catering to out-of-town, and out-of-country Saints fans.” New Orleans-based Sports Avenue Manager Shawn Danos added that online sales have been “huge” since Saturday’s win (WWL.com, 1/19). Sales of Saints merchandise through NFLShop.com during the regular season ranked eighth in the league, and NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said the team's win over the Cardinals will likely cause them to "probably move up a couple spots." In Baton Rouge, David Mitchell reported "jerseys and Saints flags have been top sellers" for the team. Louisiana-based Nawlins Sports Owner Michael Lester said that Saints merchandise sales "really dropped by the time they had their second loss" to the Buccaneers on December 17, but he added that sales "doubled between Saturday and Sunday," the day after the Cardinals game (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 1/19). Jimmy Kriener, who works as a contractor for L&G Concessions, said of Saints' merchandise sales, "It's been steady. 'Brisk' is the word you would use, I guess. Once they get to their first Super Bowl, I think it will really pick up. After Sunday, you'll have the first ever Saints NFC champions shirts, your first ever Saints Super Bowl shirts. I think that's what everybody is kind of waiting on" (Alexandria TOWN TALK, 1/20).

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  • Kobe Teams With George Lopez To Launch New Nike Basketball Shoe

    Bryant (l), Lopez (r) Host "Nike Live" To
    Promote New Zoom Kobe V Shoe
    Lakers G Kobe Bryant and comedian George Lopez Saturday night hosted "Nike Live," an event to promote the new Nike Zoom Kobe V shoe that was "basically an infomercial masquerading as a one-night talk show," according to Arash Markazi of ESPNLOSANGELES.com. Bryant and Lopez during the one-hour sit-down at Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood "focused on what is being billed as the lightest basketball shoe ever." Markazi noted the most "striking aspect of the shoe is that it's a low top that looks more like a low-weight soccer cleat than a basketball sneaker." Bryant asked that it be designed that way "after looking at the shoes Nike had made for Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry while they played for Bryant's favorite soccer team, FC Barcelona." Bryant: "Soccer has improved my footwork and my foot speed." He added, "I keep hearing that basketball players can't play in low-cut shoes but soccer players play with twice as much torque on their ankles as we do and they manage just fine. A lot of it is change of direction and change of pace and change of tempo. Those are similarities that we both share" (ESPNLOSANGELES.com, 1/19).

    DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT: BRAND REPUBLIC's Maisie McCabe reports adidas has released a new ad featuring David Beckham and rapper Snoop Dogg to promote the brand's new "Star Wars" collection of shoes and apparel. The promo is "set at a block party," and as "Star Wars" music plays the "party turns sinister and Darth Vader appears through the mist." The new collection is "out this week and includes junior and adult sizes" (BRANDREPUBLIC.com, 1/20).

    Watch The Latest adidas Spot

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  • That Winning Feeling: Bryant, Lakers Remain Tops In Jersey Sales

    Lakers G Kobe Bryant's No. 24 jersey is the best seller among all NBA players at the NBA Store in N.Y. and NBAStore.com since the start of the '09-10 season. Bryant's jersey has been the top seller among NBA players since the start of the '08-09 season. Magic C Dwight Howard and Bulls G Derrick Rose appear in the top five in jersey sales for the first time, with Howard rising from No. 10 on last year's list to No. 3, and Rose moving from No. 11 to No. 4. Meanwhile, the Lakers continue to top the list of most popular NBA team merchandise. The Celtics rank No. 2 for a second consecutive year, while the Cavaliers rose from No. 4 on last year's list to No. 3 (NBA). FANHOUSE.com's Matt Watson notes several of last year’s "most notable postseason heroes have made the most dramatic climbs." Howard at this time last year was "already universally recognized as a bona fide superstar," but it was not until the Magic made the NBA Finals that it “became fashionable to wear his uniform." Rose's record-breaking performance in the Bulls' seven-game Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Celtics also seems "responsible for [his] rising popularity" (FANHOUSE.com, 1/20).

    RK
    NBA PLAYER JERSEYS
    RK
    TEAM MERCHANDISE
    1
    Lakers G Kobe Bryant
    1
    Lakers
    2
    Cavaliers F LeBron James
    2
    Celtics
    3
    Magic C Dwight Howard
    3
    Cavaliers
    4
    Bulls G Derrick Rose
    4
    Knicks
    5
    Heat G Dwyane Wade
    5
    Bulls
    6
    Celtics F Kevin Garnett
    6
    Magic
    7
    Hornets G Chris Paul
    7
    Nuggets
    8
    Celtics F Paul Pierce
    8
    Heat
    9
    Cavaliers C Shaquille O'Neal
    9
    Spurs
    10
    Lakers F Pau Gasol
    10
    Suns
    11
    Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony
     
     
    12
    Suns G Steve Nash
     
     
    13
    Knicks F David Lee
     
     
    14
    76ers G Allen Iverson
     
     
    15
    Thunder F Kevin Durant
     
     

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  • Keep Hope Alive: Bob Hope Classic Set To Tee Sans Title Sponsor

     
    This year's PGA Tour Bob Hope Classic, which is tees off today, marks the first time in 25 years the event will take place without Chrysler as its title sponsor, according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Chrysler annually pumped "millions of dollars ... into the tournament to cover costs of the purse, television production and other tournament activities." But Bob Hope Classic Chair & President John Foster said that Chrysler's absence "will be felt more in the tournament boardroom than on the course itself." Foster: "There is an obvious financial impact by not having them here, and that's obviously important. But that said, yeah, we'll keep going. We've got the reserves to do it." Event officials said that they had "built up sufficient cash reserves to keep the tournament going through 2010 and 2011 without the help of a title sponsor." But Bohannan notes the "millions of dollars in reserves still must be augmented by smaller sponsorships to help cover the costs of running the tournament and also maintain the event's purpose as a nonprofit organization, distributing funds to a variety of desert charities." The tournament did sign a "small deal" with Under Armour this year to sponsor a "new fan-friendly viewing experience at the par-3 17th hole of the Palmer Course at PGA West." Fans wearing Under Armour apparel Saturday "will receive free admission to the course" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/20).

    IN THE ROUGH: Many golfers are opting to play in the European PGA Tour's Abu Dhabi Championship this week instead of the Bob Hope Classic, and GolfChannel.com's Rex Hoggard said, "They're all independent contractors. They can play where they want, but this one hurts a little bit." Hoggard: "You have [PGA Tour Commissioner] Tim Finchem in what is basically a contract year. He is going to corporate America with hat in hand trying to get title sponsors to sign on, and you have players like Anthony Kim ... who are going overseas to play during what is actually his hometown event at PGA West." Mike Weir, who is ranked No. 37, is the highest-ranked golfer at the Hope, and author John Feinstein noted the tournament is "on life support." Feinstein: "It has no title sponsor and it isn't even on network TV anymore. ... The Hope deserves some protection and some respect, not 11 guys being told they can go flying for dollars" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 1/19).

    SUNNY OUTLOOK: Farmers Insurance Monday announced it will title sponsor the PGA Tour's San Diego stop next week, and Farmers Insurance Senior VP Mark Toohey said that a "preliminary deal was struck over the weekend and only became official Monday morning." Toohey: "This thing came together quickly, but the pieces fit. It is a unique deal, and the stars just aligned on this one." In California, Marc Figueroa writes the deal "certainly brings a silver lining to the dark cloud that had been hovering over the tournament for the last year" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 1/20). Meanwhile, in San Diego, Tod Leonard reports the Padres and Century Club of San Diego today will announce a partnership in which the team will underwrite "military appreciation activities" during next week's event. This comes after the event this year lost its sponsor for its military pavilion and "was set to move forward with private donations." The Padres will "underwrite much of the pavilion costs," and Padres players will make appearances at the pavilion (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/20).

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  • Olympian Gretchen Bleiler Part Of New Aspen Marketing Push

    Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler is part of a new Aspen Skiing Co. (SkiCo) campaign that is "promoting direct flights to Aspen/Snowmass" from S.F., L.A. and Chicago, according to Brent Gardner-Smith of the ASPEN DAILY NEWS. SkiCo put up billboards in the three cities that depict "either a skier catching air off a cliff" or Bleiler "going big with the headline 'It's Time to Fly.'" Underneath the billboards is the message, "Daily Non-Stops to Aspen/Snowmass." There are three billboard in both S.F. and Chicago, with another two in L.A. SkiCo "backed up the billboards in each market with print ads in the Sunday travel sections" of the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune and S.F. Chronicle, "as well as online ads in each of those markets." The company also plans to tie in sweepstakes with a prize of a trip for two to Aspen "around creative photos of the various billboards sent to social media sites." The billboards are "part of an increased marketing investment SkiCo talked about making last fall." SkiCo also is "bringing the X Games to Denver next week as part of the ski industry trade show being held there on the same days as the X Games" (ASPEN DAILY NEWS, 1/19). In Aspen, Scott Condon noted SkiCo "sent out direct-mail pieces to 100,000 past guests and prospective visitors from its database." E-mail promos "will be sent multiple times this month to 200,000 people in the 'direct-fly markets' where the billboards were placed" (ASPEN TIMES, 1/19).

    Aspen Skiing Co. Has Put Up Billboards In Chicago, L.A., S.F.
    To Promote Cities' Direct Flights To Aspen/Snowmass

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    INDYCAR.com's Dave Lewandowski wrote non-stop promotion of the IndyCar Series is the "strategic backbone" for Izod, which is in its first year as the league's title sponsor. Driver Graham Rahal will appear in a print and TV campaign for Izod, and he said of shooting the ads, "For five days, from the time the sun came up until it went down, we were shooting. I don't necessarily want to know how much they spent, but I was on a jet ski with helicopters chasing me so I know they spent some money." Lewandowski noted commercials featuring Izod and promoting the series opener March 14 in Brazil "began popping up on network TV over the weekend," and such "promotional breeze hasn't been felt at the Indy Racing League since ... well, possibly never" (INDYCAR.com, 1/19).

    ON DISPLAY: Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith said that his NASCAR team will "put its sponsorship data on a website and encourage other NASCAR teams to do the same, creating a clearing-house of information designed to procure new sponsors." Smith said that it "would be OK if the site drove a sponsor from Roush to another team because 'it's for the greater good'" (USA TODAY, 1/20).

    GIRL POWER: The AP's Nancy Armour reported U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin and Warner Bros. yesterday announced that Supergirl, "the brand based on the DC Comics character," will sponsor the Nastia Liukin Cup scheduled for March 5 at DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Cup is "for up-and-coming gymnasts, not elite athletes." The girls who compete "will get a special leotard that's been designed by Liukin and has the Supergirl 'S' shield on the sleeve." The meet is "being shown on Universal Sports" (AP, 1/19).

    SECRET WEAPON: In Minneapolis, Paul Levy reports UFC fighter Brock Lesnar, who today announced he will return to the Octagon this summer after battling severe health issues, was "scheduled to be in Las Vegas this week to promote" Alliant Techsystems' (ATK) Fusion line of ammunition at an industry show running through Friday. Lesnar is a "hunting enthusiast" and "knows and uses Fusion bullets." ATK is the nation's "leading manufacturer of small-caliber ammunition" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/20).

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