SBD/Issue 51/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Tiger Still Has Plenty Of Work To Restore Image, Rebuild Brand

    Woods' Appeal Among Consumers Is On The
    Same Level As Barry Bonds, Mel Gibson

    Tiger Woods is "trying to turn the page on his troubles" that arose last November, and he "wants consumers and sponsors to give him a second chance," according to Ben Klayman of REUTERS. The latest Davie Brown Index shows Woods' appeal for consumers ranks 2,586th, "down from 96th pre-scandal." The current ranking "puts him in the company" of former MLBer Barry Bonds and actor Mel Gibson. Also, a Seton Hall Sports Poll released Thursday found that 40% of respondents "reacted unfavorably to Woods," while 39% viewed him favorably. Seton Hall Sports Poll Dir Rick Gentile said, "Forty percent unfavorable for Tiger clearly shows work to be done on his image." Klayman noted EA Sports "just rolled out a golf game on Facebook that does not carry Woods' name like their console video game." But company officials said that that "was planned and Tiger remains valuable to them." EA Sports Senior VP/Worldwide Development Andrew Wilson in an e-mail said, "The Tiger Woods brand will continue as the flagship of our award-winning golf franchise." In addition, Woods earlier this month indicated that "several Chinese companies were eyeing deals with him" (REUTERS, 11/19).

    NEED TO SEE MORE: AD AGE's Rich Thomaselli noted PR experts believe that Woods is "probably not doing himself any favors by trying to get out in front of what is likely to be a deluge of 'one-year-ago-today' stories." Woods last week resurrected his dormant Twitter account, penned a column for Newsweek and gave a 30-minute interview to ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning." New Jersey-based PR firm Rosica CEO Chris Rosica said, "There is a time when he has to get back to being a communicator -- he can't hide forever -- but based on the fact that it's right around the anniversary, I don't think it's wise." Woods last week tweeted for the first time since June '09, and PR expert Doug Drotman said, "Twitter is a place he needs to be, but if you don't have a strong and provocative voice, you're just 'there,' and you're not going to be influential or taken seriously" (ADAGE.com, 11/19). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's John Paul Newport wrote under the subhead, "His Shows Of Contrition Will Never Fly; Why We Should Settle For Tweets -- And A Few Wins." Woods "ought to start tweeting more seriously." It is the "perfect medium for someone who says he wants to connect to his fans, and who likes maintaining complete control over what gets out." At presstime, Woods has 250,564 followers on Twitter (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/20). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "We want to see him like a human being. Everything seems orchestrated. … I think they want more of a John Daly off the cuff, more of a "here’s who I am' kind of thing” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/19). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote, "Woods doesn't owe us any answers, by the way, about the accident or the porn girls and hostess girls, or what medication had him snoring in the street after the accident. But if you don't want to talk, don't give us a bunch of fake talk and platitudes" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/21).

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  • NFL Official Confirms "Leaked" Uniform Renderings Not From Nike

     Uniforms Leaked Online Were Not From Nike,
    Likely Based On Pro Combat Designs

    NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy Friday denied that renderings of Nike NFL uniforms making their way around the Internet are a preview of what is to come when the Oregon-based retailer becomes the league’s jersey supplier in '12. McCarthy on his Twitter feed wrote, “Just to clarify, the artist renderings of NFL uniforms floating around ARE NOT from the league or Nike. stand down.” The NFL’s denial comes after mock-ups of several different team jerseys popped up on blogs Friday morning (THE DAILY). YAHOO SPORTS' Doug Farrar cited a Nike source as saying that the "designs are not real, and the graphics have nothing whatsoever to do with whatever changes Nike may be making to the NFL uniforms." They are "well-done but amateur-created art, most likely based on the current Pro Combat college uniform concepts" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/20). In Boston, Matt Pepin noted, "Perhaps fueling the fire were comments made by a Nike official after the league chose Nike." Nike Brand President Charlie Denson last month said, "We plan on changing the NFL jersey dramatically just like we've done with the college programs, using new thinking and the greatest technology available. The NFL program hasn't had the same type of advancement in recent years" (BOSTON.com, 11/19).

    PLANNED MOVE? ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, “I don’t believe for a second that Nike’s hand isn’t all over this. They want some deniability in case the public didn’t like them, but I think they are ready to go with all 32.” ESPN.com's Bill Simmons: “I think they leaked this to gauge the public reaction, which in my opinion is a shrewd move." He added, "We have ‘Throw Back Day’ go back to when the Pats used to wear their 1960’s uniforms. Let’s have ‘Throw Forward Day' because these uniforms feel like they’re out of 2080” ("PTI," ESPN, 11/19).

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  • Spoofs Of Nike LeBron Ad Generate More Views Online Than Real Ad

    Watch Cleveland Fans' Spoof Of LeBron Ad

    Online-video measurement firm Visible Measures Corp. research reveals that the "myriad remixes and spoofs" of Nike's "Rise" spot featuring Heat F LeBron James "have attracted more views on the Web than the original" commercial, according to Emily Steel of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Visible Measures noted that the original version and direct copies of the ad "have generated 5.1 million online video views," while "spoofs and parodies have generated 5.8 million views." The figures "don't include views of Nike's paid advertising." Visible Measures CMO Matt Cutler: "Controversial ads such as these are intended to generate controversy. But what happens when the spoofs gets more views than the originals and take over the conversation?" Sports marketing experts said that in this case the spoofs have "succeeded in raising Nike's profile well beyond what the ad accomplished, but potentially at the expense of the athlete's image and possible future endorsements." Nike said that its ad "has been received 'positively' and that the company welcomes the discussion from fans." But Comedy Central's "South Park" in a parody of the ad compares James to former BP CEO Tony Hayward. The ad also "has been mocked on ... ESPN and by an Ohio political candidate." Steel writes the episode "highlights the difficulties of repairing the image of a beleaguered public figure in the days when the Internet enables consumers to influence public perception" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/22).

    ALONG FOR THE RIDE: In St. Petersburg, Michael Kruse noted ESPN.com reporter Brian Windhorst is covering the Heat this season because of James, "a man he has been following around the country for most of the past 12 years." Windhorst, a former Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter, "moved to move up professionally," but so far he "feels not only disconnected from his home but also increasingly distant from LeBron." Windhorst: "We're not in Cleveland anymore. I wish we were. ... On a certain level, I feel like I can relate to him. I'm not having a lot of fun myself. ... We're experiencing some of the same feelings of isolation." Kruse noted Windhorst when offered the job by ESPN "thought about staying home and covering the Cavs without LeBron." Kruse: "But the better professional opportunity was to cover the Heat and to work for ESPN, he concluded, so he took it" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/21).

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  • Ford Hosts 43 Sweepstakes Winners At Homestead-Miami Speedway

    Ford completed its Ford Fiesta sweepstakes at Homestead-Miami Speedway, hosting 43 fans at the track and awarding one a new Fiesta in a drawing by Richard Petty. The drawing, which was held trackside yesterday, concluded a three-month campaign that featured Ford drivers A.J. Allmendinger of NASCAR and Ken Block of rally car in a series of online videos and TV spots. Both drivers drive the No. 43 car, which Ford used as the foundation for an online sweepstakes that offered fans a trip to the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. More than 50,000 people entered the sweepstakes. The winners stayed at Loews on South Beach, attended a Zac Brown Band concert on Thursday night, met drivers Allmendinger and Block, and attended the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races. Ford Fiesta Brand Manager Sam De La Garza said, "We wanted to leverage those two platforms (NASCAR and Rally) to bring those two worlds together. We've stuck to traditional NASCAR in the past, and we really tried to open it up more to a new demographic."

    MISSION TO MARS: During yesterday's Cup race, Mars Chocolate hosted roughly 12 employees from seven manufacturing plants who volunteer to promote the company's NASCAR sponsorship throughout the year. Mars calls the manufacturing employees its NASCAR ambassadors and relies on them to spend a few hours a week promoting the NASCAR sponsorship during the year. Darnette Vickers, of Mars' Hackettstown, N.J. plant, said that she gets employees to predict where Mars-sponsored driver Kyle Busch will finish each year. The winner gets an autographed hat. She also runs weekly NASCAR questions that tests employees NASCAR knowledge. Participants who answer 26 of 33 questions right are eligible for a host of prizes from an iPod Touch to a Wii gaming system. The prizes are purchased with a stipend provided by Mars. Of the 170 people at the Hackettstown plant, 75-80 typically participate, Vickers said, adding, "Considering NASCAR isn't a big sport, that's a good ratio. It's all about engaging people about all the parts of NASCAR." Mars Chocolate VP/Sponsorship & Sports Marketing Suzanne Beaudoin said the ambassador program has allowed the company to foster interest in its NASCAR sponsorship among all employees. Beaudoin added, "It would be very difficult to touch the plants without (the ambassadors) support."

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    The N.Y. POST reported Jets QB Mark Sanchez' "first television commercial for zero calorie Pepsi MAX will debut Thanksgiving Day, airing once during each NFL game broadcast." The 30-second spot, "shot last month in L.A., features Sanchez coaching a Pepsi MAX delivery truck driver through NFL Combine-like drills" (N.Y. POST, 11/21).

    Randy Moss' No. 84 Has Been
    Best-Selling Titans Jersey Since Trade

    WELCOME TO NASHVILLE: In Nashville, Getahn Ward reported Randy Moss' No. 84 Titans jersey "has been the top-selling Titans jersey, at least at the NFL's official online store," since he joined the team earlier this month. Local sporting goods retailers "saw an initial spike in interest and sales of Moss' jerseys after the Titans acquired him." Titans Pro Shop Merchandise Manager Kristopher Smith: "We've never had anything quite like this." NFL Corporate Communications Coordinator Joanna Hunter confirmed that Moss "has been the No. 1-selling Titans jersey since he joined the team, but she declined to provide specific sales figures" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 11/20).

    TIME TO WRAP IT UP: In London, Jacqueline Magnay reported sponsors "prepared to pay for the colourful Olympic Stadium wrap" in London that was "abandoned in a cost-cutting measure may try to recoup the cost by selling parts of it as post-Games souvenirs." LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said that "potential interested parties had come forward to underwrite the cost" of the US$11.2M "plastic surround after it was removed as part of the Government’s comprehensive spending review." Prospective companies "would not be allowed to have any branding on the wrap," but sources said that they "may be allowed to own it and then sell it off after the completion" of the '12 Games (London TELEGRAPH, 11/20).

    YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN NEED: In Charlotte, Jim Utter reported Carl Edwards, "one of the most successful" drivers in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, is "searching for sponsorship" for the series next season. Edwards is "lacking a half-season of sponsorship in his quest to run another full season in the series in 2011 with Roush Fenway Racing" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/20).

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