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SBD/Issue 56/Sponsorships, Advertising & MarketingPrint All
Sony Open Will Become First Regular PGA
Tour Event With Weekend 3D Coverage
Sony yesterday announced a three-year extension of its title sponsorship of the PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaii, making it the tournament’s “longest-running title sponsor at 16 years,” according to Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu STAR-ADVERTISER. The Sony Open will be the “first PGA Tour co-sponsored event to feature live weekend coverage in 3-D, a development that parallels the sharper picture of the tournament's sponsorship future.” The sponsorship is estimated to be between $8-10M annually. Sony replaced United Airlines as the title sponsor in ’99. The company last year “announced just a one-year renewal of its sponsorship of the event to take it through 2011 and there was concern locally that Sony might step away after that” (Honolulu STAR-ADVERTISER, 12/1). In Hawaii, James George reported the 3D coverage will be broadcast by Golf Channel and Comcast "to approximately 83 million homes in the United States, and to about 560 million households in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.” That is “an enormous potential market for Sony, which is investing heavily in 3-D technology.” The company “tested the technology at the Sony Open last January and at the World Cup in South Africa earlier this year, and concluded that it’s ready for prime time” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/30).
Brady's Association With UGGs Could
Increase Brand's Credibility With Men
Patriots QB Tom Brady's sponsorship of UGG brand for men “could be the real test of [his] manhood and star appeal,” according to Donna Goodison of the BOSTON HERALD. Deckers Outdoor hopes that the endorsement will “convince the masses that the UGG brand -- largely viewed as a women’s shoe brand epitomized by its ubiquitous and schlumpy sheepskin boots -- is fashionable and macho enough for men.” UGG sales “hit a record $711.8 million last year,” and Piper Jaffray analyst Jeff Klinefelter estimates that “men’s and kid’s shoes total 10 percent or less of those sales.” Klinefelter said that leveraging Brady’s “status gives its underdeveloped men’s line instant credibility.” Klinefelter: “It seems to be a very good fit in terms of the casual, classic but aspirational position of the brand. There’s certainly something aspirational about the Brady brand." But Boston-area PR exec Arika Beaudry said, “Nothin’ manly about a man in UGGs. And Tom is over-saturating himself with endorsements, so this whole marketing deal makes me lose even more interest in the brand” (BOSTON HERALD, 12/1). CNBC's Jim Cramer said, "What could happen by going to Zappo's and going to Nordstroms, you are going to see numbers dramatically raised on Deckers." Cramer said guys are "going to buy these and women are going to go online and buy them for guys because they're very familiar with this brand." CNBC's Erin Burnett said, "The most recent fads in the land of shoes have been ugly shoes: Crocs, UGGs." Cramer: "They're not ugly! Why would Brady endorse something ugly? Even guys know how good-looking Brady is. No man-love thing, but I mean, like, Brady is like a cool guy" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 11/30).
TRYING TO CHANGE PERCEPTION: ESPN's Colin Cowherd said Brady is "hip and urban, he can sell anything to anybody." But ESPN's Michelle Beadle said, "The only thing I have a problem with is they're very girly. I know men are starting to wear them more, but I still equate UGGs with California girls in denim shorts" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 11/30). Saints QB Drew Brees yesterday was a guest on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera asked him, “If UGG boots had come to you and asked you to do an endorsement, would you have said yes or are you more of a man than Tom Brady?” After Brees dodged answering the question, Caruso-Cabrera said, “That’s a pretty girly move to endorse UGG boots” (“Power Lunch,” CNBC, 11/30). But Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said, "I've had my daughter's Christmas list before. She has UGG boots on there. I'm like, 'What are those?' Now I'm going to know -- those are the boots Tom is advertising. This works to some extent" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/30).
Hernandez Hoping That Cy Young Award
Will Translate Into Endorsement Deals
Mariners P Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young award this year, but "major-league-sized endorsement deals ... are not likely to follow the honor," according to Aislyn Greene of the PUGET SOUND BUSINESSS JOURNAL. Advertising experts said that Hernandez' "national commercial potential will be hampered by the M's losing ways" and Seattle's "remoteness from the media spotlight." Illinois-based Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing President Doug Shabelman: "It's tough playing on the West Coast. It's more difficult to secure big deal endorsements." Greene notes other challenges facing Hernandez "are the fact that English is his second language, and his continued strong ties to his native Venezuela." But those attributes "could also be an advantage," something Hernandez' agent, Octagon Baseball's Adam Rosenthal, "hopes to capitalize on." Rosenthal said his team is "making contact with any and all relevant companies." Greene notes Hernandez "already has a few commercial deals," as he "serves as a spokesman and game-play adviser for the 2K Sports' Major League Baseball 2K10 video game, promoted Pepsi as part of the Pepsi Refresh Project and has signed an agreement that lets Nike use his image in ads." Rosenthal indicated that those deals yield Hernandez "an annual payout of about $100,000." He is "aiming for a 'perfect match' between Hernandez and a select company that would likely double Hernandez's commercial income in the next year" (PUGET SOUND BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/26 issue).
U.S. Army Will Share Time As Newman's Primary
Sponsor With Tornados, Haas Automation
The U.S. Army Accessions Command announced that the U.S. Army has renewed its motorsports partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing for '11. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 39 Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman will have U.S. Army as its primary sponsor for 15 races next season. The U.S. Army also will serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 39 car for the remaining Cup races, as well as on Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet (U.S. Army). The deals with the Army "are one-year contracts." Newman also has sponsorship from Tornados snacks and Haas Automation, and the "exact number of races" for those brands is still to be announced. New primary sponsors for next season "also could be added to the rotation for the 38 Sprint Cup events" (SCENEDAILY.com, 11/30).
TWICE THE FUN: Chevrolet officials said that the company's decision to return to the Izod IndyCar Series in '12 “will not impact its NASCAR program." The money and personnel to run the IndyCar program "will not be taken from” Chevy’s NASCAR budget. GM VP/Performance Vehicles & Motorsports Jim Campbell said that the “addition of the IndyCar Series program was made because of what that series has to offer -- a younger fan base, a car that runs alternative fuels, etc. -- and is not a reflection on what NASCAR provides the company as far as marketing opportunities” (SCENEDAILY.com, 11/30).
ON THE HUNT: SI.com’s Brant James reported Izod IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan “hopes to facilitate” a possible sponsorship deal and “create some options by securing one or more sponsors from Brazil, where he is more widely known and marketable, then present himself to the best team possible.” Kanaan was “released from his contract with Andretti Autosport because of sponsor woes,” and “has spoken this offseason with DeFerran Dragon Racing, Newman-Haas and FAZZT.” Kanaan “isn’t alone as a lettered driver looking for work” as Dan Wheldon was “freed at the end of the season by Panther Racing” (SI.com, 11/30).
NOTES: Lowe's and Las Vegas Motor Speedway have announced a multiyear agreement for Kobalt Tools to title sponsor the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track. The '11 Kobalt Tools 400 will take place March 6 (Lowe's)....Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet has named F1 driver Michael Schumacher as its "newest race world brand ambassador." Audemars Piguet "will likely release a series of limited edition Michael Schumacher" timepieces (LUXIST.com, 11/27).
Schutt Sports “will be offered for sale at auction next month after a federal bankruptcy court approved the Litchfield, Ill.-based sports equipment firm's bid to sell the company.” The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Monday “approved holding an auction for Schutt Sports and its assets Dec. 14.” Bids for the company are due Dec. 10 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/30).
Slater Hopes To Make Impact
On Wave Pool Market
WAVE RUNNERS: ESPN.com’s Jake Howard noted Kelly Slater is “looking to dominate the wave pool scene," and yesterday the surfer launched the Kelly Slater Wave Company, "devoted to making a world-class surfing experience accessible to the sport's enthusiasts across the globe." The “only game in town for wave pools” has been Wave Loch's Flowrider, invented by Tom Lochtefeld in the early ‘80s. No dates or locations for future parks have been announced, but KSWC “is now fielding inquires from interested parties” (ESPN.com, 11/30).
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has “banned ads for Reebok's EasyTone Curve trainers, stating the brand gave insufficient evidence to back its claim they toned people's ‘legs and bum more than regular trainers.’” Reebok “defended the campaign with an independent study it had commissioned, which compared the increase in muscle activation in certain parts of the body when wearing the trainers and when walking barefoot.” But the ASA “ruled the ads were misleading, as Reebok did not provide ‘robust, scientific evidence’ to support the claims” (CAMPAIGNLIVE.co.uk, 12/1).
FLYIN' HIGH: In Las Vegas, gossip columnist Norm Clarke reports former boxer Mike Tyson “could be the face of a new Las Vegas airline.” A source said that Tyson has “signed a contract to appear in TV ads for the airline beginning in March” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 12/1).