SBD/January 27, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • USGA Signs Five-Year Deal With Polo Ralph Lauren, Re-Ups With Lexus

    Polo Ralph Lauren becomes official
    apparel outfitter for USGA, U.S. Open
    The USGA has signed a five-year agreement that will make Polo Ralph Lauren the official apparel outfitter for the USGA and the U.S. Open. The USGA plans an announcement this morning at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where Polo Ralph Lauren will be displaying its collection. Polo Ralph Lauren will outfit all USGA committee members and staff, as well as more than 5,000 volunteers at the U.S. Open. The company also will design and construct product display fixtures for the 39,000-square-foot merchandise pavilion at the event and serve as the championship’s largest on-site apparel supplier. Polo Ralph Lauren will provide apparel for committee and staff at the USGA’s 12 other championships as well. Included in the deal are the apparel rights for the U.S. team in the biennial Walker Cup and Curtis Cup matches (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal). Meanwhile, GOLFWEEK's Adam Schupak reported the USGA also has signed a multiyear renewal with Lexus as the "exclusive automotive partner of the USGA and the official car of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur." Lexus will continue "providing attendees access to daily autograph signings, visits with golf greats, photo opportunities and more at The Lexus Performance Drive tent" (, 1/26).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, USGA, Golf
  • Great Hair Day: Packers' Clay Matthews Signs Sponsorship With Suave

    Matthews' one-year deal with Suave includes pre- and post-Super Bowl appearances

    Packers LB Clay Matthews has signed a one-year deal "with Unilever's Suave brand," according to Darren Rovell of Matthews' marketing agent, Athletes First's Ryan Williams, who reps Matthews, said that the sponsorship includes "media appearances pre- and post Super Bowl and a production day should the company want to film a commercial or additional advertising with him." Terms were not disclosed. Sources indicated that Procter & Gamble's Head & Shoulders brand, which sponsors Steelers S Troy Polamalu, "was not interested in Matthews." But Suave, which has "recently formulated its shampoo for men, wanted to ink the deal." Rovell noted there has been "plenty of sports sponsorship spending in the men’s grooming category of recent." Dove for Men signed Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols and free agent P Andy Pettitte; Gillette signed six athletes to its Young Guns campaign; Vaseline for Men has used Fox NFL analyst Michael Strahan in its marketing; and Nivea for Men has "signed European soccer sponsorships and a locker room branding deal" with the Nets (, 1/26). Marquette Univ. advertising professor Jim Pokrywczynski said that Matthews has the "kind of name recognition that could carry an advertising campaign for Suave." Pokrywczynski: "I think he has the national appeal that could work for a variety of brands" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/27). Meanwhile, Rams QB Sam Bradford has been named a spokesperson for Axe Hair and is promoting the company's Axe Buzzed Look Cream + SPF 15 (Axe).

    TAKING A CHANCE: Unequal Technologies CEO Rob Vito said the company believes signing Eagles QB Michael Vick to an endorsement deal "was a calculated risk." The partnership is Vick's first since returning to the NFL in '09 after 18 months in prison, and Vito said, "We just have to move on from the standpoint that he served his time, he paid his dues." Vito noted the marketing around Vick will include billboards and Twitter activation. He added the "great thing about Michael Vick is they came to us requesting this equipment, and then the endorsement came out of that as a natural byproduct" ("Fast Forward With Lisa Murphy," Bloomberg TV, 1/26).'s Jemele Hill noted Unequal Technologies "is a good fit" for Vick because the deal is "all about selling football pads." Hill: "A lot of the other advertisements and campaigns you may do are built on who you are as a person, and there's still a lot of people that consider his name toxic. ... None of the big brands are going to come after him. This is a step but I don’t anticipate a whole bunch of guys coming in after and saying, 'Let's sign him'" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 1/26).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Football, Green Bay Packers
  • Volkswagen Confident In Value Of Super Bowl Commercials

    Volkswagen airing Super Bowl ad for second straight year after an eight-year absence

    Volkswagen of America VP/Marketing Tim Ellis said that the brand is returning as a Super Bowl advertiser "due to the positive results it saw" after airing a spot during last year's Super Bowl broadcast, according to Eleftheria Parpis of ADWEEK. Ellis said that "page views of niche models" on the Volkswagen website were up 82% after last year's Super Bowl ad, the brand's first since '01. Volkswagen used the game to launch its "Punch Dub" campaign, and the spot was "viewed more than 1 million times online, with 680,000 views alone on YouTube." This year, Volkswagen will employ "a YouTube takeover the day after the game, where a 60-second version" of a commercial for the '12 Passat will be available for viewing. Ellis said that the "push will also include outdoor, print, experiential marketing and 'innovative mobile media.'" He added, "TV is king. There is no doubt about that, but more important is a completely integrated campaign" (, 1/26).

    TECH SAVVY: Bud Light yesterday announced the "Unlock the Spot" promotion, allowing fans of the Anheuser-Busch brand's Facebook page to guess the storylines of each of its three Super Bowl spots. If fans correctly identify the storyline of all three by Feb. 5, Bud Light will offer them access to an Internet-only 90-second ad ahead of its slated release after the Super Bowl. Bud Light has begun posting images of the ads on its Facebook page, with two additional images from each ad to follow over the next several days. Bud Light's plans for the game also extend to on-site activation in Dallas at the Bud Light Hotel, where the brand will become the first to build an official Radio Frequency Identification application on Facebook for guests (A-B).

    GUESS WHO'S BACK? Old Spice yesterday announced the launch of its latest series of ads starring actor Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy. Highlighting the brand's Fresh Collection, the campaign will include one 30-second and two 15-second spots, as well as print and digital execution. The first commercial, via Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, debuts Feb. 7, the day after the Super Bowl (Wieden + Kennedy). In Portland, Allan Brettman reported Old Spice will "benefit from the Super Bowl ... without actually being in the Super Bowl commercial lineup." Old Spice's initial ad in the series aired the day after last year's Super Bowl, and the "close proximity to the big game, combined with the blase response to actual Super Bowl ads, contributed to the perception later in the year that the commercial actually aired during the Super Bowl" (, 1/26).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Fox, Volkswagen, Anheuser Busch
  • Plank Bullish About Under Armour's Forthcoming Cotton Apparel Line

    Under Armour Chair & CEO Kevin Plank "knows investors will be surprised" when the brand releases a new line of cotton apparel this spring, but the "move makes financial sense," according to Monte Burke of FORBES. Under Armour will debut the "Charged Cotton" collection through its "line of athletic shirts starting Mar. 12," and Patriots QB Tom Brady will "appear prominently in the Charged Cotton marketing campaign." Plank said, "We looked into our customers’ closets and found 30 T-shirts. Four were synthetic, and the other 26 were cotton. ... There are some people who will still never even consider wearing a synthetic shirt. They like the feel of cotton.  We want those other 26 shirts." UBS apparel analyst Michael Binetti noted that the U.S. cotton activewear market is $12B, "four times the size of the performance-wear market that Under Armour was limited to with its synthetic-only line." Binetti estimates 24% growth in '11 for Under Armour's apparel business, which in '09 "made up 76% of its total revenues." Plank said his primary concern is Under Armour customers thinking "we sold out." But he said, "We're bigger than just one product now. We're a brand." Burke noted Charged Cotton is the "biggest thing Under Armour has ever attempted," and Plank believes that the brand "will overcome any potential consumer confusion." He said, "Time is on our side. Last year Nike was 25 times our size. This year they’ll be 20 times our size, next year 17 times. Which math will you bet on?” (, 1/26).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Under Armour
  • Nebraska Ends Apparel Deal With Company Owned By QB's Father

    The Univ. of Nebraska athletic department has "ended its licensing agreement" with the father of QB Taylor Martinez, according to Eric Olson of the AP. Corn Fed Apparel Owner Casey Martinez' agreement with NU paid the university a 10% "royalty on Corn Fed T-shirts, caps and other products bearing the Cornhuskers' logo." Nebraska AD Tom Osborne yesterday in a statement indicated that his staff "recently learned that Taylor Martinez is registered as owner of the Corn Fed trademark and the website domain name." Osborne added that the QB has "no ownership in the Corn Fed company and that no NCAA rules have been broken." Olson reported Nebraska and Corn Fed signed their agreement in June '07, and Taylor Martinez did not sign his letter of intent to play football at the university until February '09. NU Assistant AD/Marketing, Licensing & Concessions Michael Stephens last month indicated that the school had "taken in less than $500 over the three-year period of the agreement." Casey Martinez said that "licensed sales make up a small portion of Corn Fed's national sales." He added that the company's name was "trademarked in 2000 and incorporated in 2004" (AP, 1/26). Osborne in the statement added, "Corn Fed is a solid company which has demonstrated success in the apparel business, and has been a licensee not only of Nebraska, but several other schools around the country" (, 1/26).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Marketplace Roundup

    BFGoodrich Tires is launching a multiyear ad campaign featuring snowboarder/skateboarder Shaun White, with TV ads debuting today during ESPN Winter X Games 15 coverage. The effort, titled "Upgrade to BFGoodrich," includes a webisode series starring White, print ads in ESPN the Magazine and digital ads on and The tire company also is an official X Games sponsor, and will have fixed signage and jumbotron spots at the event in Aspen. White's other portfolio of partners includes Red Bull, Burton, Target and Ubisoft (THE DAILY).

    FORD'S FOCUS: Ford Dir of North American Motorsports Jamie Allison said that the manufacturer is "confident it will return to the mix" as a competitor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this season. In Charlotte, Jim Utter notes Ford has "not seriously challenged the last two seasons." However, Ford drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards both won Cup races in '10, with Edwards "qualifying for the Chase and taking the final two races." Allison said that Ford motorsports are "on more solid ground this season with the ownership and financial issues resolved at Richard Petty Motorsports," which plans to field two teams this season instead of the four Cup entries it had in '10 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/27).

    TRYING TO STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT: Pennsylvania-based Turtle Creek Sportswear Owner Nicholas Wohlfarth "admitted in federal court Wednesday that his unlicensed T-shirts and hoodies are intended to make money off the popularity" of the Steelers and the team's players. NFL Properties LLC and Pittsburgh Steelers Sports Inc. sued Wohlfarth in '05 for trademark infringement. Wohlfarth claims that his company's "latest products don't violate the 2005 order because they don't use the word 'Steelers' and don't use the full image of the three diamond-shaped hypocycloids that are part of the team logo." He added that Turtle Creek gear "carried a disclaimer that it wasn't licensed by the Steelers or the NFL" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/27).

    NOTES: Tennis equipment manufacturer Prince has extended its partnership with Vera Zvonareva, the No. 2-ranked women's tennis player in the world. Zvonareva today lost to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals of the Australian Open....Apparel brand J. Lindeberg has signed a renewal of its deal with golfer Camilo Villegas, who will continue as the brand's primary endorser for another four years. Villegas also will begin wearing J. Lindeberg belts (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
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