SBD/January 24, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Some "formidable advertisers have just said no" to advertising during Fox' broadcast of Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, and "at least seven advertisers from 2010's game aren't returning: Papa John's, Intel, Monster, Dr Pepper, Denny's, Universal Orlando and KGB," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. The difference this year is that "coming out of the recession, Super Bowl ad space is hotter than hot." Some who "wanted in have been shut out, even though each 30-second slot fetches up to $3 million this year." Strata Marketing President John Shelton said, "A lot of advertisers got in last year with deals." Shelton said that while a few "got big price breaks from CBS in 2010, some got extra spots on other shows." He noted that "such deals are mostly gone this year." Papa John's CMO Andrew Varga said the company does not "feel the need to make the investment in the game" because it is an NFL sponsor and has been advertising during games throughout the season. The pizza company also today introduced a promo offering a free pizza to anyone in the U.S. if Super Bowl XLV goes into overtime. Text-answering service KGB Chief Communications Officer Amy Wolfcale said the strategic focus for the company "has shifted more toward social media." Intel Media Relations Manager David Dickstein said his company is looking at "different marketing vehicles." Denny's CMO Frances Allen said that the company "has a new ad agency with which it's developing a new 'integrated' marketing program." Monster Worldwide VP/PR Matthew Henson noted that his company is "moving beyond building brand awareness" (USA TODAY, 1/24).
SUPER BOWL GAMEPLAN: Anheuser-Busch Friday formally announced its plans for advertising during the Super Bowl, which include the release of an iAd on Monday, Feb. 7, that will feature behind-the-scenes footage; free iTunes downloads of a song included in the Clydesdales spot; and a 24-hour takeover of all iPhone applications, accessible to adults 25 years of age and older. The brewer's five Super Bowl spots also will be available for immediate online viewing after the game. The Budweiser and Bud Light ads will be available on the websites, Facebook pages, mobile sites and YouTube pages of each brand. The Stella Artois ad will be available on the brand's U.S. website and Facebook page, and its "La Societe" website and Facebook page (A-B).
DRIVEN TO ADVERTISE: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Chris Reiter reports Mercedes-Benz has "enlisted tennis star Serena Williams and a tweeting mom from suburban Chicago to add online buzz to its first appearance at the Super Bowl." Mercedes-Benz USA Manager of Corporate Communications Donna Boland said that the company's spot will "feature a roadster version of the $185,750 SLS supercar, the new C-Class coupe as well as the revamped CLS luxury four-door coupe and SLK hard-top roadster." Mercedes-Benz additionally is "sponsoring a tweet race in which teams driving specially-equipped vehicles need to generate traffic on Twitter to win a C-Class coupe." Reiter notes BMW and Audi "will also air ads" during the Super Bowl, marking the "first time all three German luxury brands are advertising" during the game (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/24).
MISGUIDED COMPLAINTS: CNBC.com's Phil LeBeau wrote there is a "puzzling line of complaints/digs being hurled at General Motors about its plan to run ads during the Super Bowl." Such criticisms "amount to people thinking GM should not make a big splash or spend large amounts of money because the company was bankrupt not long ago." LeBeau: "If GM is going to thrive and grow, its executives need to spend money, be aggressive and apologize to no one for their strategy. ... Will spending millions during the Super Bowl pay off for GM? Who knows. But I don't see critics bashing Mercedes, Hyundai, BMW or the automakers also running spots during the game" (CNBC.com, 1/21).
ADT Security Services, the Florida-based business and home security provider, has signed on as one of four presenting sponsors of the Feb. 12-13 USA Sevens international rugby championship event in Las Vegas. The single-year deal is valued in the mid-six figures and provides ADT on-field signage and corporate hospitality at the tournament. As part of the deal, ADT also becomes a sponsor of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the eight-stop world tour for the seven-man format of rugby. "This is huge; it shows that they believe in what we are doing," said USA Sevens President Jonathan First. The rugby sevens tournaments include national teams from traditional rugby powerhouse countries, such as England, New Zealand and Scotland. The seven-man format features faster, more wide open games than traditional 15-man rugby and is played in seven-minute halves. The sport will debut as an Olympic sport in '16. NBC and Universal Sports will broadcast 15 combined hours of live coverage from the Las Vegas tournament and beam the host feed to 140 countries. Universal Sports will broadcast six of the eight stops on the HSBC Sevens World Series. NBC Sports Exec VP Jon Miller described the game as "non-stop action." "One of the things that really caught our attention was how fast the game is played and how athletic these guys are," Miller said. "It's played at hyper speed. It's always a challenge when you introduce a new sport to the American public, but I think people will think [rugby sevens] is entertaining and fun."
No. 1-ranked tennis player Caroline Wozniacki "had long made it clear that she was open to a switch if it made commercial sense when her deal with Babolat ended," and she recently signed a "lucrative racket deal with Yonex after extensive off-season testing," according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. Wozniacki's agent, Lagardere Unlimited Tennis President John Tobias, said the Yonex sponsorship is a "really strong commercial deal." Tobias: "It was also a little bit strategic because we really want to get her into Asia and expand her brand in Asia, and a Japanese company does that for us." But Clarey noted racket changes are "fraught with psychological danger," and the question is whether Wozniacki "will have enough faith in her new racket to reach her highest level." David Witt, who helps coach Venus Williams, said, "If you ask anybody, switching rackets is a risk. Especially when you've played with a racket for two or three years and that company knows you, and you're used to the racket. Even if another company says they are going to make a racket that's identical, unless they have the exact mold for that racket, it's not exactly the same" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/22).
"A" FOR EFFORT: SI.com's Jon Wertheim awarded Wozniacki an "A" in his Australian Open midterm grades. Wozniacki following her third-round match Friday opened her press conference by lightheartedly mocking the press and answering her own questions. With the "gutsy two-minute monologue," Wozniacki "did more to endear herself than any million dollar marketing campaign ever could" (SI.com, 1/23).
In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted the NFL yesterday debuted "newly designed trophies for the conference championships." The trophies, created by Tiffany & Co., feature a "silver base with a hollowed out silver football on top." NFL VP/Brand & Creative Jaime Weston said that the league "wanted the new trophies to be aspirational to the Lombardi Trophy." Weston: "If you look at the new design, you see the same football. It's hollowed out. It's the stepping stone. You are almost there" (JSONLINE.com, 1/21). SI.com's Peter King writes, "I think those new conference championship trophies are really ugly" (SI.com, 1/24).
EXCITABLE BOY: In Houston, Jonathan Feigen reported China-based Peak CEO Xu Zhihua noted last week he would "pay the fine for any technical foul based on showing emotion given to any player wearing his company's shoes." Rockets F Shane Battier, one of three members of the Rockets to endorse Peak, said, "I don't know if I'll ever take advantage of the free technicals, but I applaud Chairman Xu for his contrarian attitude. You don't see too many CEOs of companies promoting excessive emotion in the game. It's actually a shrewd marketing move. It's actually very smart" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/22).
YOU'VE BEEN THUNDERSTRUCK: In Oklahoma City, Darnell Mayberry reports Thunder F Kevin Durant is set to appear "in a new Gatorade commercial around the All-Star break." The spot, filmed at Oklahoma City Arena last week, features Durant "going through his customary preparations for a game by using one of the sports drink company's new products, 'Prime,' to help him prepare." Meanwhile, Thunder G Russell Westbrook appears in a 60-second ad for BancFirst. Westbrook "plays a coach to a group of children who are named as cities and towns throughout the state." As he gives the kids instruction, Westbrook "mentions each city and town by name" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 1/24).
DRIVING A DIFFERENT PATH: In Baltimore, Julie Scharper reported organizers of the Izod IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix are "no longer focused on landing a title sponsor for the three-day racing festival and would be content with a number of smaller backers." Baltimore Racing Development President Jay Davidson said, "We have a bucket we need to fill, and it doesn't matter how we fill that bucket." Organizers last year indicated that they were "looking for a title sponsor to pledge" $1-2M. Davidson said that the group "has declined 'low-ball offers' but remains in talks with businesses about the possibility of a title sponsorship" (Baltimore SUN, 1/22).