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SBD/January 21, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Anheuser-Busch's Super Bowl XLV ad plans include a 60-second spot featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales and a separate ad for Stella Artois, the "first time A-B has pushed an import during the Super Bowl," according to Todd Frankel of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The 60-second Stella ad set to air during Fox' coverage of the Feb. 6 game is a "sign of A-B working more closely with its corporate parent, Anheuser-Busch InBev." A-B President Dave Peacock said, "The brand has done really well. It's gotten to the point where the awareness is good." Meanwhile, Frankel notes the Clydesdales commercial is "so good, apparently, that A-B is teasing it with two 15-second commercials to run during this weekend's NFL conference championship games." A-B purchased a total of 3 1/2 minutes of "ad time for this year's game, at the low end of its historical ad buys." But Peacock said that it is "a normal fluctuation" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/21). AD AGE's E.J. Schultz noted A-B ran "nine ads for a total of five minutes" during last year's Super Bowl broadcast. The Stella spot, from independent agency Mother, "continues the campaign launched late last year that features '60s-era European settings in ads that target well-educated, upscale beer drinkers." Peacock said the Super Bowl is the "right time and a great property to enhance the brand's awareness and do so in a way that's very consistent with its position and its imagery." A-B's three Bud Light ads during the Super Bowl will continue the "Here We Go" campaign that debuted during last year's game (ADAGE.com, 1/20). In addition, A-B InBev said that it has "locked up its position as the only national beer advertiser in the Super Bowl" through '14. The brewer has advertised during the Super Bowl for 23 years, and this year "will keep its spot as the game's largest ad buyer" (AP, 1/20).
IN A COMFORT ZONE: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott notes this year's Super Bowl audience will see a "batch of busy, glossy new commercials infused with time-tested entertainment elements like celebrities, animals, attractive young women and yes, babies." Critics often "deride such content as corny or predictable," but ads "replete with mainstays or memes are meant to appeal to the mass audience that tunes in each year for the Super Bowl." As such, it is "not surprising" that E*Trade again will use talking babies in its Super Bowl efforts. The company "intends to run one commercial in the third quarter of the game and another immediately after the game ends." Plans also call for a "baby to 'talk' with Fox Sports during a segment of the pregame show." Elliott notes E*Trade and its agency, Grey N.Y., are "deciding between two commercials for the two slots." One spot "features a baby who does well enough investing through Etrade.com that he can afford a tailor -- and the tailor is not doing too badly, either." E*Trade CMO Nick Utton said the other presents "a very educated baby discussing the merits" of the company with another character (N.Y. TIMES, 1/21).
STAYING FOCUSED: In Denver, Electa Draper reports nonprofit group Focus on the Family's commercial starring Broncos QB Tim Tebow, which debuted during last year's Super Bowl, "will receive the National Religious Broadcasters award for Best Television Commercial at its February convention in Nashville" (DENVER POST, 1/21).
The NFL conference championship games Sunday represent the last NFL home games of the season, so host teams are busily preparing sponsorship activation plans. At Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Bears host the Packers for the 182nd time overall but just the second time in the playoffs. Playoff sponsors for the Bears are U.S. Cellular, the Chicago Tribune, Jewel-Osco and Comcast. All will have their name on an NFC Championship rally towel that will be given to all fans at the game. Bears Senior Dir of Sales & Marketing Chris Hibbs said the team’s playoff sponsors are reprising an earlier pair of online contests, offering game tickets and other prizes. One is a straight enter-to-win on the Bears’ official website, while the other is a social media play via Facebook in which fans submit photos which are voted on. Fans could increase their chances of winning through special codes provided by sponsors on their websites. Since winning their NFC Divisional game against the Seahawks last weekend, over 100,000 have entered the contests with almost 20,000 of those entries generated by the sponsor codes. "The biggest challenge now is trying to manage all the companies trying to trade off of our IP rights that aren’t sponsors," said Hibbs. The Bears’ postseason success should also help as the team looks to renew its wireless deal with U.S. Cellular and replace top-level "Hall of Fame" sponsor Staples, which is out after seven years as it pulls out of sports almost entirely.
TOWEL POWER: In deference to its status as the home of the rally towel, the Steelers are the only team that will never give them away. However, a 90-second tribute to the "Terrible Towel" will be shown on the Heinz Field video boards. Steelers Merchandising Manager Tim Carey said that if the Steelers win Sunday’s AFC Championship against the Jets, "we’ll order several hundred thousand" Super Bowl-specific "Terrible Towels." Many licensees are predicting an all-time high in licensed Super Bowl merchandise sales, regardless of which teams qualify. Carey said he is also optimistic, since his team’s Division Championship items sold at about three times more than they did during the Steelers’ ‘08 championship run.
adidas for the first time is "making an aggressive push into the U.S. outdoor market,” unveiling on Thursday a “complete line of outdoor products at the winter Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City,” according to Erik Siemers of the PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL. adidas has “dabbled in outdoor products over the years,” but company officials said that this is the “first organized effort at staking a claim in the U.S. outdoors market, one of the fastest-growing sporting goods categories.” adidas is the “world’s No. 2 brand” in athletic markets, trailing only Nike, but it “enters the outdoor market as a comparative unknown, especially in footwear.” OIA VantagePoint reports that of the “top 20 brands selling outdoor footwear in the past year, adidas ranked 17th.” Despite its “strength globally,” adidas U.S. Outdoor Managing Dir Greg Thomsen indicated that the company, “aware of the challenges, is entering the U.S. outdoor market as something of a humble and patient underdog.” Its decision to build an outdoor division was “borne four years ago, attracted by a category of consumer that is drawn to technical design and performance innovation.” adidas Outdoor “introduced its first products to parts of Europe two years ago and last year expanded into the rest of Europe, Asia and Russia.” Thomsen said that the company will launch a “small offering initially, featuring 27 styles of footwear for men, 18 for women and 10 for kids, along with 56 apparel styles for men and 53 for women.” Its apparel line “will range from $50 fleece jackets to $496 Gortex mountaineering parkas,” with footwear ranging from $45-200 (PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue).
Grizzlies assistant coach Henry Bibby has created DribblePro, a “basketball with four strategically placed nodules that cause the ball to bounce erratically,” according to Marlon Morgan of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The concept is “for youngsters to master the art of dribbling while improving their hand-to-eye coordination.” Bibby said that it "took about seven years to get the ball to his liking.” His son, Hawks G Mike Bibby, was “the first to try one out last summer,” and Grizzlies G O.J. Mayo and F Rudy Gay “soon followed.” Mayo said, "After awhile, it gets some lumps in it and when you dribble it, it dances around a little bit. It's a neat creation." DribblePro comes in “two sizes -- an intermediate ball for smaller kids and women, and a regulation-sized ball for advanced players.” Henry Bibby contends that “dribbling the ball 15-20 minutes a day will increase a youngster's dribbling skills dramatically, which is why DribblePro comes with a money-back guarantee.” A marketing campaign for DribblePro, which costs $34.95, was “launched this month and features an infomercial.” DribblePro can also be found at DribblePro.com, on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 1/21).
Adams Golf announced yesterday that it won Tuesday's U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction for the bulk sale offering of Yes! Golf and its related assets, with a bid of $1.5M and a total purchase cost of $1.65M. Yes! Golf will be integrated into the Adams Golf operations. The purchase is subject to funding that is expected to occur by the end of this week (Adams Golf). GOLFWEEK's Adam Schupak wrote Adams acquired Yes! with "hopes of becoming a more serious player" in the putter business (GOLFWEEK.com, 1/19).
CAN I HAVE THAT BACK? BLOOMBERG NEWS' Calkins & Harris reported IMG Worldwide has been "sued for $10.5 million by alleged swindler R. Allen Stanford’s court-appointed receiver, who seeks to recoup sponsorship fees and expenses." Receiver Ralph Janvey sued IMG Tuesday in federal court in Dallas, claiming that the company "shouldn't be allowed to keep the money paid to promote" Stanford Financial Group. The fees sought in the lawsuit were "used to promote" the Stanford International Pro-Am tournament and golfer Vijay Singh, an IMG client. IMG Senior VP/Corporate Communications Jim Gallagher said that the company "has no comment until it has had a chance to review the lawsuit" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/19).
NOTES: The PGA of America has signed a deal with Quebec-based Sunice to supply rain suits for next year's Ryder Cup, replacing Sun Mountain Sports, which "suffered the ultimate embarrassment when PGA officials" bought replacements for their gear during the '10 Ryder Cup (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/20)....IMG has announced Colin Montgomerie as the new ambassador for Golfing World, the golf media platform launched by IMG in '10. In addition to TV programming, Golfing World offers several online and mobile assets (IMG).
NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon said he thinks fans will "be blown away" by the activation from his new primary sponsor, the AARP's Drive To End Hunger campaign. Gordon: "Just last week we were working on the first run of commercials that will run at the start of the season and it is some really powerful, emotional stuff. At this stage of my career and my life I really want to use the notoriety that I've been fortunate enough to have over the years and use that to really make an impact. That's why we started the Jeff Gordon Foundation. That's why I got so excited about the Drive To End Hunger deal when it was first brought to us last fall" (ESPN.com, 1/20).
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said he thought it was “okay for the NFL to ask” Toyota to alter an ad that featured a helmet-to-helmet hit. He noted the NFL “for 50 years has been promoting violence and big hits and guys getting jacked up, and now all of a sudden they are going in the other direction” due to an increased emphasis on concussion prevention. Cowlishaw: “It may take time for advertisers to do that." ESPN.com's Michael Smith : "For somebody to put that upfront and exploit that for commercial use, I can see how the league would have a problem with that" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/20).
AT THE STARTING GATE: MainGate and Churchill Downs announced a three-year partnership for MainGate to be an official licensee, handle off-site retail locations and launch a new Kentucky Derby e-commerce website, KentuckyDerbyStore.com. MainGate, which launched the site on Jan. 1, also will open multiple off-site retail locations in hotels throughout Louisville the week leading up to the Derby (MainGate).
IT'S IN THE GAME: EA Sports and Toronto-based Virgin Gaming Thursday announced a "new partnership for an online gaming tournament platform for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation gaming consoles." Virgin will provide "all head-to-head competitive play tournaments, some of which entrants would have to pay to enter," and the deal covers "all paid and sponsored tournaments for select EA Sports console video games" (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/21).
FIRST AID HELP: The Univ. of Kansas has reached a deal with the Royals for KU Hospital and its partner, the Univ. of Kansas Physicians, to become the official team doctor and provide "on-site first aid services" at Kauffman Stadium on game days. In return, the Royals will provide on-site visits to the hospital (K.C. STAR, 1/19).