SBD/December 21, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

Is Vick's Dealership Endorsement The Start Of Sponsor Redemption?

Eagles QB Michael Vick is “finally being invited to step up and sell again” after being “banished from the lucrative world of product endorsements after his arrest in 2007 for running dogfights,” according to Christopher Hepp of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Vick is currently a spokesperson for N.J.-based Woodbury Nissan, and “marketing experts expect more to follow, as long as Vick and the Eagles keep winding up on top.” rEvolution Senior VP/Research Darren Marshall said, "Just win, baby, win! It doesn't matter how bad you were a few years ago. We are a nation of believers in the second chance." Woodbury Nissan Exec Manager Thomas McMenamin said there has been a “mixed response” from customers about Vick’s endorsement. McMenamin: "Among our customer base, the majority of it has been positive. Among the animal activists, they feel the guy should be hung on a cross." Hepp reports the Nissan dealership will “donate $25 to the Humane Society for each vehicle sold through Jan. 31.” McMenamin “declined to say what Vick has been paid for the endorsement.” Philadelphia-based PR firm AgileCat President Peter Madden said that he “expected to see Vick sign marketing agreements for national products soon.” Madden: "For the right kind of brands, the smart ones will hitch their wagons to his star." Madden added that a “sports-related product, such as Under Armour, might be a perfect fit,” but that “brands with wider markets, Wheaties, for example, most likely will shy away from him” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/21).

LOCAL TREASURE? Boston-based Activate Sports & Entertainment President Jim Delaney said that the “potential reward of media exposure is well worth the modest brand risk" for Woodbury Nissan. Delaney: “We live in a TMZ-driven society that feeds on the rise and fall of its politicians, celebrities and athletes. The Vick situation is no different, and redemption always becomes part of the eventual comeback story.” But Delaney “still sees Vick as too big of a risk for national brands, even though No. 7 has regained much of his past popularity” (BOSTON HERALD, 12/18).

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