SBD/January 27, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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).
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