SBD/Issue 60/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Gillette Inks Alex Ovechkin To Multiyear Endorsement Deal

Gillette Will Push Ovechkin In
Russia, Eastern Europe

Those wondering why Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin has been clean-shaven lately, as opposed to the markedly hirsute appearance he displayed during his first five years in the NHL, now have their answer. Ovie is the latest global brand ambassador for Gillette, which insists upon endorsers that aren't shaggy. The announcement of the multiyear endorsement deal was made today in DC via satellite video hookup to Moscow, where the two-time NHL MVP was born, and where the marketing push will begin. Sources said TV commercials and other ads shot during the offseason will break in Russia and other Eastern European countries later this week. The deal was made with Ovie's native region in mind, but sources said the former NHL Rookie of the Year is hopeful it will spread to other countries, since the deal is for global rights. Currently, Gillette has no NHL rights, so Ovechkin would have to be marketed out of uniform. Other endorsements secured by IMG, which has represented Ovechkin for marketing since last fall, include Verizon, Capital One Bank, and CCM/Reebok. Few, if any, hockey players, have demonstrated marketing relevance on a global scale. Ovechkin will attempt to bridge that gap, especially with the '14 Winter Olympics scheduled for Sochi, Russia. Ovechkin will also be featured in this year's NHL Winter Classic outdoor game on New Year's Day in Pittsburgh, versus Sidney Crosby's Penguins (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY).

THE BEST A MAN CAN GET: Gillette Communications Dir Mike Norton said, "If you see Alex in some of his recent commercials, he's had kind of a clean-shaven look. With Gillette, we really want guys to look their best. And some guys like to be fully clean-shaven, some guys like goatees or well-trimmed beards. It's all about helping guys to look their best." In DC, Dan Steinberg reports Ovechkin's work with Gillette "will eventually include a charitable aspect, with a campaign to help youth hockey players develop on and off the ice." Ovechkin joins Yankees SS Derek Jeter, Real Madrid MF Kaka, MLS Red Bulls D Rafael Marquez and U.K. rugby player Jonny Wilkinson in repping Gillette. Ovechkin previously was associated with Hair Cuttery (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/7).

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