SBD/January 12, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • National Championship Should Boost Auburn's Licensing Royalties

    Auburn can expect to see a “huge increase in licensing royalties” after winning the school’s first football national championship in 53 years, according to Darren Rovell of CNBC. Schools have “typically seen at least a 25 percent royalty bump” after winning the title, but Auburn’s could rise “by more than 50 percent.” The school “usually gets a 10 percent cut off the wholesale price of an item with its logos on it, but gets a 12 percent cut from national championship items.” Auburn is selling “more than 175 different national championship items (Tuesday) morning on its official online store , ranging from shirts to teddy bears to Cam Newton commemorative jerseys with a national championship logo on it.” Auburn last won a national championship in ’57. The school ranked 14th among colleges in sales from July through September, according to CLC, which manages the trademarks to most of the big time schools; it made $3.4M “in royalties, licensing and sponsorship combined last season.” Texas, which lost in the BCS title game in ’10, “became the first school to pass $10 million in royalties last year” (CNBC.com, 1/11).

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  • GM Lands Exclusive Domestic Auto Rights On NBCU During '12 Games

    General Motors and NBC Universal yesterday announced that they have created a new media partnership tied to NBC’s U.S. coverage of the ’12 London Games. The deal provides GM with exclusive domestic automotive advertising rights during the Olympics. Chevrolet and Cadillac will have a major advertising presence during NBC’s coverage of the Games, which will be held July 27-Aug. 12, on network and cable outlets. In addition, the two GM brands will be featured in select NBC Olympic-related programming leading up to the Games and online at NBCOlympics.com (GM). Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but GM Global CMO Joel Ewanick said the investment would be "significant." Ewanick “declined to say what vehicles the automaker would feature in the ads," but he said that GM chose the Olympics “because it matched up well with the launch of several vehicles in a time that is normally difficult to catch consumers’ attention.” Ewanick noted that advertising would be “heavy during the two weeks of the Games themselves with commercials tailored to the events during which they air, but will begin about 100 days before with elements on TV and the Internet.” GM will be “one of two automakers, along with BMW, running ads during the 2012 Summer Games;” BMW is a sponsor of the USOC (Ben Klayman, REUTERS, 1/11).

    ANOTHER SIGN OF RECOVERY: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica reported GM is likely to "commit more money to the Olympic broadcast than it did last year,” when it spent $41.5M on U.S. ads during the Vancouver Games. The partnership is the "latest sign of the increased emphasis that the auto maker is putting on advertising," highlighted by its return to the Super Bowl this year. Ewanick has been "aggressive at trying to reinsert GM's brands, especially Chevy, into big TV events, after the company cut back on its marketing during its crisis" (WSJ.com, 1/11).

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  • Duck Out Of Water: Aflac Ending Three-Year NASCAR Partnership

    Longtime NASCAR partner Aflac has ended its three-year partnership and will no longer be the official supplemental insurance of the sanctioning body. The insurer has one year remaining on its sponsorship of Roush Fenway Racing's No. 99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards. The insurer has not made a decision regarding plans to continue or end that relationship and will continue to evaluate it over the course of the year. Aflac Senior Manager of Corporate Sponsorships Keith Farley said of the company's decision to end its NASCAR partnership, "Like any company, from time to time, we make changes to our sponsorships. We cannot discuss why those decisions are made because that would involve revealing business strategy." Atlanta-based Career Sports & Entertainment works with Aflac in NASCAR. NASCAR VP & Chief Sales Officer Jim O'Connell said, "Aflac has been and continues to be a tremendous partner to NASCAR. Although they won't be an official partner this year, we look forward to their success with Roush Racing and Carl Edwards." Aflac joins Tylenol, Tissot and Nicorette in declining to renew an agreement with NASCAR. The sanctioning body renewed two-thirds of the sponsorship deals due to elapse last year, signing renewals with Toyota, GM, Dodge, Unilever and DirecTV. O'Connell said last month three other extensions are agreed to and are being finalized.

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  • National Championship Should Boost Auburn's Licensing Royalties

    Auburn selling more than 175 different BCS national championship items

    Auburn can expect to see a “huge increase in licensing royalties” after winning the school’s first football national championship in 53 years, according to Darren Rovell of CNBC. Schools have “typically seen at least a 25 percent royalty bump” after winning the title, but Auburn’s could rise “by more than 50 percent.” The school “usually gets a 10 percent cut off the wholesale price of an item with its logos on it, but gets a 12 percent cut from national championship items.” Auburn was selling “more than 175 different national championship items" yesterday morning at its official online store, "ranging from shirts to teddy bears to Cam Newton commemorative jerseys with a national championship logo." Auburn last won a national championship in ’57. The school ranked 14th among colleges in sales from July through September, according to CLC, which manages the trademarks to most of the big time schools, and it made $3.4M “in royalties, licensing and sponsorship combined last season.” Texas, which lost in the BCS title game in ’10, “became the first school to pass $10 million in royalties last year” (CNBC.com, 1/11).

    BAD WEATHER HURTS MERCH SALES: In Birmingham, Marie Leech noted Auburn fans yesterday "flocked to sporting goods stores to shop for national championship merchandise." Cars "were sparse" in the Patton Creek shopping center in Hoover, Ala., until one "rounded the corner to the area where Tiger Pride and Dick's Sporting Goods are located." Auburn fans "swarmed" those two stores "in hopes of acquiring even more fan gear" (AL.com, 1/11). However, in Alabama, Russ Corey reports managers of sporting goods stores in Florence, Ala., "blamed the lingering effects of Sunday's heavy snowfall for ... slow sales" of Auburn merchandise. They do expect sales "to increase once road conditions improve," however. Kay Pruitt, an employee of the Dick's Sporting Goods location in Florence, said that the store "opened after the game ended, but only about 30 people braved slushy roads to check out the selection of championship gear." Mike Baggett, Manager of Martin's Family Clothing in Florence, also said that his store was "set to open after the game, but corporate officials decided to wait until Tuesday because of concerns about employee safety" (Florence TIMES DAILY, 1/12).

    WANDERING AMONGST GIANTS: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes Under Armour was a "winner because it got in the marketing sideshow surrounding" Monday's game, and it was "gravy that Auburn ... beat the Nike-costumed Ducks." The "big deal" for Under Armour, which has "about $1 billion in annual sales, is to get mentioned in the same breath as Nike, with nearly" $20B in annual sales (USA TODAY, 1/12). Meanwhile, sponsorship measurement firm Joyce Julius found that Under Armour received nearly $1.8M of in-broadcast exposure value during the game telecast from Auburn coach Gene Chizik. Logos on Chizik's jacket and collar appeared clear and in-focus for two minutes, 44 seconds during game coverage, excluding pre- and postgame coverage. Nike logos on Oregon coach Chip Kelly's visor and shirt appeared for two minutes and 28 seconds, generating nearly $1.4M of exposure value (Joyce Julius).

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  • Tostitos Says It Had Nothing To Do With Musburger's BCS Call

    Frito-Lay North America VP/Marketing Justin Lambeth indicated that the company "had zero to do" with ESPN's Brent Musburger saying Auburn's game-winning field goal in Monday's BCS title game was "for all the Tostitos," according to USA TODAY. Lambeth, who helped negotiate Tostitos' title sponsorship of the BCS game, noted there is "nothing like it in the contract," and he "believes Musburger ad-libbed the line on his own." Lambeth: "We didn't have anything to do with it. We were just fortunate. ... We were delighted. We think it was a great call." He downplayed the thought of a "consumer backlash" due to the call. Lambeth said, "I think more consumers than not will find it very clever and funny versus saying, 'Gosh, what a cheesy plug.' Again, we didn't have anything to do with it." ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz said that the net "did not ask Musburger to utter the line either." Krulewitz: "Absolutely not. He was having some fun" (USATODAY.com, 1/11). ESPN Exec VP/Production Norby Williamson said of the call, "I laughed. Typical Brent. He had a great game and at the end had some fun" (USA TODAY, 1/12).

    SIGN OF THE TIMES: In Minneapolis, Michael Rand writes Musburger's Tostitos call "might not be a classic as it relates to others, but it did give a great snap shot on a couple of levels of where we are in sports." The phrase, and the reaction to it, has "taken on a life of its own." The line "won't be burning up the Internet forever, but we can imagine it being revisited by fans at grocery stores, at next year's bowl game and in countless other situations." Rand: "We can also imagine Frito Lay executives watching at a private party (or hearing it on a broadcast while in a private suite) and practically doing cartwheels knowing what it meant for their brand" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/12). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes under the header, "Brent Musburger's Tostitos Plug In Poor Taste." In that "instant after his quip, fans were left to wonder if they had heard what they thought they heard and, if so, for the love of all that is holy, why?" Rosenthal: "At worst, he was shilling. At best, he made a lousy joke. ... Yes, by all means, suck drama from the moment with a superfluous plug for the game's sponsor and leave a bad taste in all our mouths" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/12). Meanwhile, the NATIONAL POST's Bruce Arthur today writes his column under the header, "This Column Is For All The Tostitos" (NATIONAL POST, 1/12).

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  • Fans Show Mixed Support Of Philly Union's Jersey Deal With Bimbo

    Bimbo will pay roughly $12M over the next four MLS seasons to sponsor Union's jersey

    The MLS Philadelphia Union yesterday announced their "multimillion-dollar deal” with jersey sponsor Bimbo Bakeries, and the “immediate reaction to news of the sponsor ... was mixed,” according to Jeff Gammage of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The company is pronounced BEEM-bo, and fan group Sons of Ben President Bryan James said that he “could see how the common mispronunciation of Bimbo could cause some initial confusion -- but that it would be overcome by time and marketing.” Gammage reports the mispronunciation of Bimbo is “leading the company to try to convince consumers that its name does not glorify dull-witted, readily bedded, sort-of celebrities.” Bimbo has placed billboards along I-95 in the Philadelphia area that read, "Say 'Beembo!'," and “taken a trademark on that phrase.” Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said that the team “had no concerns that the Bimbo name could hamper jersey sales to women.” Sakiewicz: "In the focus groups and discussions I've had with women, the vast majority of them think it's just the coolest thing. They think it's fun. Our data is telling us they think it's kind of cool. I have zero concerns on that" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/12).

    ALREADY UNPOPULAR WITH FEMALES: ESPNW’s Amanda Rykoff reported within "hours of the announcement, fans posted angry comments on the Philadelphia Union's Facebook page and photo albums. They do not like the jerseys, they do not like the name ‘BIMBO,’ and, most notably, many of the team's female fans who commented said they feel the team is alienating them with this name choice” (ESPNW.com, 1/11). FanHouse’s Brian Straus wrote on his Twitter account, “Assume when Union calculated the value of the Bimbo sponsorship, they factored in that no woman will buy a jersey for 4 years” (TWITTER.com, 1/11). But Sakiewicz said, “I think the fans that like the idea outweigh the ones that don’t. This partnership does so much in terms of marketing our brand worldwide and will help us attract those big-time players to our organization” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/12).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Skechers USA yesterday announced a partnership with Wayne Gretzky, making the Hockey HOFer the newest retired athlete in the brand’s “Comeback” campaign. Gretzky will promote Skechers’ Shape-ups fitness footwear in a global campaign that spans TV, print, viral and outdoor efforts through ’11. Commercials starring Gretzky will begin airing on major networks this spring. Skechers in ’10 launched the “Comeback” campaign, which has featured Pro Football HOFer Joe Montana and Basketball HOFers Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Skechers).

    LOVE ME DO: Golfer Davis Love III has joined Bridgestone Golf as an endorser, ending his "long-standing relationship with Titleist." The Bridgestone Golf website features a picture of Love on a motorcycle with the caption, "Davis Love Joins A New Gang." Love is expected to appear "dressed head to toe in Bridgestone logos" today at the PGA Tour Sony Open pro-am at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu (GOLFWEEK.com, 1/11). Golf Channel's Gary Williams said of Love, "He is synonymous with Titleist. This is a big, big move" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 1/12).

    GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK: BRAND REPUBLIC's John Reynolds reports England's FA has been "forced to pay out" up to around US$780,000 in compensation to Fiat "after prematurely ending its commercial deal as its official car supplier." The FA has "signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with rival car brand Vauxhall to become headline sponsor" of England's national soccer team, "thus causing a conflict of commercial partners." Vauxhall also is "due to sign sponsorship agreements with the three other home nations, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland" (BRANDREPUBLIC.co.uk, 1/12).

    LET'S GO SLEDDING! The U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation yesterday announced that Alamo Rent A Car has signed up as the title sponsor of one of the four-man U.S. bobsled teams for the four remaining World Cup stops in the '10-11 season, as well as the World Championships in late February. The sled, captained by pilot John Napier, will be emblazoned with Alamo's blue and gold coloring, while the rest of the U.S. sleds also will carry an Alamo logo (USBSF). The USBSF last month indicated they were going to start putting logos of corporate sponsors on its sleds.

    COME FLY AWAY: The WTA has signed a three-year, multimillion-dollar deal for low-fare airline Jetstar to become the first official airline partner of the women's tennis tour and its tournaments across the Asia Pacific region. The sponsorship runs until '13 (Jetstar).

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