SBD/January 14, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Churchill Downs and Yum! Brands announced a five-year extension of their deal for presenting sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby, which was first signed in '06. The race will continue to be run as the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands. The purse of the Derby will remain $2M guaranteed, unaffected by the deal, but a portion of sponsorship revenues will go toward purses of other races at the track. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed (Churchill Downs Inc.) In Louisville, Gregory Hall notes the “old deal also included commercial time during the Derby broadcast on NBC." Details of those arrangements in the new deal “were not immediately available” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/14).
Used-car retailer CarMax "will make its first national splash" in the Super Bowl with two 30-second spots during Fox' Feb. 6 broadcast of Super Bowl XLV, according to Rupal Parekh of AD AGE. CarMax VP/Creative Marketing & Advertising Laura Donahue declined to "address specifically" how much CarMax paid for the two spots, one of which will air "in the second quarter and one in the third." But she said, "The ancillary benefit -- the fact that you're so talked about, all the buzz you get both online and on TV -- that a national presence provides us as an advertiser seems to benefit us versus last year's standpoint. It's expensive obviously, but we really liked the value." The ad buy "was handled by CarMax's in-house media team, while the creative will come from its new agency," Amalgamated, N.Y. Donahue noted the company "bought the time well past October." Donahue: "I think we got some of the last inventory, because I know (Fox was) more than 90% sold out when we got our two spots." Parekh noted CarMax commercials in the past have "starred animals such as monkeys and prairie dogs." While Donahue was "coy about the creative the spots will showcase," she did say that "furry creatures won't have quite the starring role they had in the past" (ADAGE.com, 1/13).
RETURN GAME: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reports a 30-second CareerBuilder ad that will air during the third quarter of the Super Bowl "revives characters that appeared in well-received spots the company ran during the 2005 and 2006 Super Bowls." Those spots "featured a hapless drone whose co-workers are chimpanzees, thus likening a bad job to dealing with idiots." CareerBuilder President & CEO Matt Ferguson and company marketing officials "are mum for now on details of how the coming commercial, created internally, will revive the chimpanzees." Elliott notes CareerBuilder as part of the previous chimpanzee campaign "teamed with a digital agency, Oddcast, to introduce an e-mail service called Monk e-mail, which enables computer users to send messages featuring customized images of 'talking' chimpanzees." People "continue to use" the service, as CareerBuilder VP/Marketing & Communications Cynthia McIntyre noted the company is "up to 160 million total messages being sent." However, Oddcast is "reworking Monk e-mail for 2011 to include social sharing features and 3-D images." A new element called Monk-e-maker will allow users to "transform photographs of their friends into simians." Additionally, there will be a game on Facebook, "to make its debut after the Super Bowl, that takes place in the virtual office of Yeknom Industries." Yeknom, "monkey" spelled backward, was the setting for the '05 Super Bowl spot (N.Y. TIMES, 1/14).
PRELUDE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The N.Y. TIMES' Elliott reported Audi of America Thursday night was slated to begin running a 60-second commercial that is "intended as a prelude" to its Super Bowl XLV spot, "which is to run in the first commercial break in the first quarter." The "stage-setting spot" is from Venables Bell & Partners, S.F., and is based on the children's book "Goodnight Moon." It "uses the familiar rhythms of the words by Margaret Wise Brown to describe how the concept of luxury has changed profoundly," and it "takes viewers inside a mansion stuffed with excesses of all kinds: a table overloaded with food, a jewelry box overflowing with cufflinks, an over-groomed poodle." Both commercials are for the '11 Audi A8 sedan and promote it with the theme "Luxury has progressed." Audi of America CMO Scott Keogh "declined to discuss what the Super Bowl spot will be like, other than to hint that it will feature a 'satirical and humorous escape.'" Keogh added that the "Goodnight" commercial will make "numerous appearances this weekend and the weekend after" during NFL playoff games. Both spots "will run on various TV shows" after the Super Bowl. Keogh added that Audi also "plans to use Facebook to generate interest in the Super Bowl commercial," and that there will be "sponsored messages on Twitter ... and a take-over by Audi of the home page of YouTube on Super Bowl Sunday" (NYTIMES.com, 1/13).
LEFTOVER SPOT: AD AGE's Natalie Zmuda reported PepsiCo "has a seventh spot in the mix" for the Super Bowl broadcast "in addition to the six spots already promised to Pepsi Max and Doritos for this year's 'Crash the Super Bowl' contest." The company is "in the process of determining which of its brands will get the spot." Sources said that Brisk Iced Tea "is in the running," but "so are brands from the company's snack portfolio." It also is "possible that the company could look to sell the spot back to Fox if it's unable to settle on a brand to advertise" (ADAGE.com, 1/13).
Home teams in the penultimate weekend of the NFL conference playoffs are busily preparing sponsor activation. The Packers play the top-seeded Falcons in Atlanta Saturday in the first postseason game at the Georgia Dome since '04. Severe winter weather has caused problems with some of the hoopla around the game and even in delivering tickets. However, Verizon, one of four playoff sponsors for the Falcons, is staging pep rallies at six area retail locations Friday. The rallies include contests offering game tickets and merchandise as prizes, along with appearances by cheerleaders and the Freddie Falcon mascot. The pep rallies have been postponed twice because of winter weather. Other Falcons playoff presenting sponsors are BMW, Georgia Power, Georgia National Guard, and Verizon. They will all have on-site marketing Saturday outside the Georgia Dome and a presence in and around the stadium, said Falcons CMO Jim Smith. Team sponsor Taco Mac, designated as the Falcons’ official away game headquarters all season, is also holding a pep rally tonight at their biggest restaurant. All fans at the game get an unsponsored rally flag due to the lead time production demands, but bearing the teams’ "Rise Up" thematic.
STEEL RESOLVE: In Pittsburgh, where rally towels originated, the Steelers have not given away a Terrible Towel yet this season, and this weekend is no exception. Playoffs are enough of a routine with the team that has won more Super Bowls than any other that even game-specific Terrible Towels will not be made unless and until the Steelers reach the AFC Championship Game. The Steelers Saturday host the Ravens in a postseason game for the third time in the past nine years. Friday night, the Steelers are also hosting a Playoff Bash with singer Bret Michaels as the featured talent at Stage AE, which is adjacent to Heinz Field. Country singer Trace Atkins will sing the National Anthem at Heinz Field, and there will be a military tribute and an Air Force flyover prior to kickoff, said Steelers Marketing Coordinator Rick Giugliano. "Call it business as usual in Pittsburgh," he said.
BEARING DOWN: The Bears have four playoff sponsors for their Sunday game versus the Seahawks: the Chicago Tribune, grocer Jewel-Osco, Comcast and U.S. Cellular. All are sponsoring a 4th Phase promotion which offers game tickets, pregame sideline passes, and an opportunity to participate in the pregame coin toss as prizes. Fans can enter on- and off-line, and those using a special code can double their chances of winning. Those codes can be found on Jewel-Oscos' Facebook page, Comcast’s VOD page, and U.S. Cellular’s website. "It’s another way to quantify things, so we like that," said Bears Senior Dir of Sales & Marketing Chris Hibbs. All four sponsors will also have their brands on an orange rally towel to be given to all fans at the game.
TO THE MAX: Pepsi Max has been one of the biggest marketers activating across the NFL playoffs. On Sunday, Pepsi Max will sponsor a rally towel giveaway at the Jets-Patriots game at Gillette Stadium that ends this weekend’s playoff card.
Delta and the Lakers announced Thursday a new multiyear sponsorship agreement for the airline to become an official sponsor of the team and continue as its official charter carrier for the rest of this season. Beginning with the ’11-12 season, Delta will become the Lakers’ official and exclusive airline partner (Delta). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Liz Mullen reports Delta will “receive center-court rotational sign space, rotating sign space between the second and third level of suites, branding on the center-hung video board and rotating scrolling message space on the LED boards, as well as other in-arena branding opportunities” at Staples Center. Delta will “replace Virgin America, the Lakers’ current airline sponsor, next season.” Delta has a contract with the NBA and its teams to charter jets to games, and its partnership with the league “is a big reason that Delta signed a multiyear deal with the team, even with a potential NBA lockout looming.” Delta Senior VP/Marketing Tim Mapes: “There is obviously volatility in the airline industry and there is obviously volatility in the sports business, but they are our customers and we want to be in a position to earn their trust” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/10 issue).
A new study from ad tracker Ace Metrix found that “celebrities aren’t as influential in hawking products as many marketers think they are,” according to Steve McClellan of ADWEEK. The firm “analyzed celebrity ads that broke in 2010, and found that in most cases, spots featuring celebs weren’t any more effective than regular ads in the same categories.” In fact, in “many cases the celebrity ads performed less effectively.” The Ace study “tested more than 2,600 television commercials over the course of last year and found that fewer than 12 percent of the spots using celebrities achieved a 10 percent effectiveness ‘lift’ versus regular ads.” Nearly 20% of celebrity ads “produced effectiveness scores that were weaker on the firm’s effectiveness scale" by more than 10%. The Ace study found that Tiger Woods "proved to be the worst celebrity spokesperson of 2010.” Collectively, Woods’ TV spots were 23% “less effective than average, and Americans in general, regardless of gender or age, were equally unreceptive to his ads.” Woods’ “Did You Learn Anything?” Nike spot was the “worst scoring celebrity ad of the year,” and 30% “less effective than regular commercials in the athletic footwear category.” Radio Shack’s Lance Armstrong “No Emoticons” ad was the “second worst performing celebrity spot.” ESPN’s Kenny Mayne (Gillette) and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Nationwide) also “starred in some of the worst performing spots” (ADWEEK.com, 1/13).
NO BOON FOR BRANDS: Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll in a special to AD AGE wrote, “Just because an ad is incredibly popular, funny and/or viral, that doesn't mean that it is effective with consumers. The same rule goes for celebrities. Just because a celebrity is incredibly popular ... does not mean they will provide a similar boon to brands in advertising. In fact, our report empirically demonstrates the very weak and sometimes negative relationship between celebrities and ad effectiveness.” He added, “The great news in all of this is that brands should not have to feel compelled to shell out big bucks on a celebrity. Instead, they should be charging their agencies with creating ads that have a strong, watchable creative message (high on attention, relevance, information, desire)” (ADAGE.com, 1/12).
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND: Octagon First Call VP & Managing Dir David Schwab on his blog wrote he finds Ace Metrix’ study “incredibly short sighted.” Schwab: “Simply put, the research person writing the article didn’t ask any of the brands in the article what ‘defines success’ in their particular campaigns. ... Blaming the celebrity as the cause for weak advertising is simply an elementary conclusion. A bad ad is a bad ad. Choosing the right celebrity for the right message can still create magic" (OCTAGONFIRSTCALL.com, 1/13).
Reebok announced on Thursday that it has signed ESPN's Erin Andrews "to endorse ZigTech footwear and apparel." Andrews will appear in ads breaking this spring alongside the launch of the newest line of ZigTech apparel in March (USATODAY.com, 1/13). Andrews is the first woman to be featured in Reebok's ZigTech campaign. Other endorsers of the line include Penguins C Sidney Crosby, Colts QB Peyton Manning, Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco and Wizards G John Wall (BOSTON.com, 1/13).
GETTING A FOOT IN THE DOOR: In N.Y., Bob Raissman reports as Jets coach Rex Ryan's career "moves forward," marketers are "watching him on Madison Ave." Ad agency Grey Worldwide Senior VP & Dir of Casting Services Jerry Saviola said of whether Ryan has a future as a commercial spokesperson, "Yes, I think he does. ... It's something a campaign could use as a hook. After all, this is the era of 'Jersey Shore,' right?" Saviola contends that among NFL coaches, Ryan has "separated himself from the rest of the pack." Saviola added, "But not as much as if he's able to get the Jets to the Super Bowl." Similarly, "Fox NFL Sunday" Producer Scott Ackerson said he "would not be" averse to having Ryan on the pregame show. Ackerson: "Believe me, I could figure out some ways to use Rex" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/14).
PLAYING DOUBLES: In Melbourne, Ross Brundrett notes because the Australian Open "kicks off the new tennis year, it has become a sort of launching pad for all the hot, new marketing material that has become such a necessary part" of tennis. There was Maria Sharapova "doing her very best supermodel impersonation at Crown to unveil her latest in on-court apparel," and Andy Roddick "launching his new fragrance, Lacoste Challenge." Brundrett adds, "In fact, the Open and Fashion Week seem to share more than a sort of emotional detachment for the spectators" (Melbourne HERALD SUN, 1/14).
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's John Paul Newport reports Bridgestone Golf last month gathered its top seven players, including Fred Couples, Davis Love III and Paula Creamer, and had several 30-second commercials "recorded in a 36-hour period." The American Association of Advertising Agencies noted that on average, production expenses in the U.S. for a 30-second TV spot are $342,000. That would "put the tally for the nine Bridgestone ads in excess" of $3M. Bridgestone Golf VP/Marketing Dan Murphy said that the company "spent less than that, due to the efficiency of shooting all the ads in one session, but that the costs still amounted to one fifth of the unit's total annual marketing budget" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/14).
GRAND RETURN: Former NBAer Larry Johnson has launched a new line of beverages throughout the U.S. The first, "Grand Ma Ma's Sweet Southern Tea," is available in select areas, while "Atomic Dogg Super Soda" will launch soon. Both beverages will be supported by a nationwide media and publicity tour featuring Johnson, who also will star in a Grand Ma Ma's commercial set to launch early this year. The beverages are being marketing and distributed by Hall of Fame Beverages (THE DAILY).
In Seattle, Allison & Martinez note local stores are “scrambling to keep up with a sudden surge of demand” for Seahawks merchandise as the team enters the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. Reebok said that orders for Seahawks merchandise “shot up 700 percent in the first few days after the Saints’ surprise ouster, including some that are contingent on Seattle winning the NFC championship, and even the Super Bowl.” Seahawks Dir of Retail Operations Sue Harris said that the team’s “late-season success translates to a 75 percent sales increase over a typical January without a playoff berth.” NFL Corporate Communications Coordinator Joanna Hunter said that sales of Seahawks merchandise on NFLShop.com are “up a whopping 360 percent compared with a year ago, when the team sat out of postseason play” (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/14).
BREAKING BREAD: In Philadelphia, Frank Fitzpatrick writes Bimbo’s jersey sponsorship of the MLS Philly Union is “probably a good idea for Bimbo since until this story I’d never heard of the company.” The Inquirer’s John Gonzalez added, “There have been a lot of jokes about the Union getting into bed with Bimbo, but Bimbo is a huge company” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/14). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser asked, "What if they expand this to include the women's professional league? Do you want them to wear 'Bimbos' on their chest?" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/13).
SLICK SPONSORSHIP: In California, Louis Brewster wrote motorsports fans "shudder to think about” where NHRA drag racing would be “without Forrest Lucas and his Lucas Oil Products.” The “infusion of Lucas sponsorships is critical to NHRA,” with six of the 22 national events on this year’s schedule “without a sponsor” (SAN BERNARDINO SUN, 1/13).