SBD/February 1, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Drive On: GM Unveils Several Commercials Scheduled To Run During Super Bowl

    One of GM's Super Bowl spots sees Chevy morph into Transformer

    GM yesterday unveiled its Super Bowl advertising plans to select reporters, and the ads "range from mildly funny to sentimental," according to Rupal Parekh of AD AGE. GM "will have a total of eight 30-second spots in and around the game -- two in the pregame, five within the game and one during the post-game show, which GM is also sponsoring." GM also will award a '11 Chevrolet Camaro to the Super Bowl MVP. All of GM's commercials "will promote the Chevrolet brand or specific models under the Chevy banner, such as the Cruze, the Volt, the Silverado Truck and the Camaro." Each spot was created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and they all carry the same tagline: "Chevy Runs Deep." GM Global CMO Joel Ewanick said that he "told his marketing team to ignore ad polls and avoid sophomoric humor in the spots and focus on telling stories about the brand." Meanwhile, Ewanick added that he is "happy about who's not in the game -- three car makers which he deems GM's most formidable challengers: Ford, Toyota and Honda" (, 1/31). Ewanick noted that GM "plans to release the ads beginning Friday to Facebook fans of its cars." The AP's Mae Anderson noted GM "also plans a tie-in with Fox's post-Super Bowl 'Glee' episode" (AP, 1/31).

    ENTERTAINING AND EDUCATING: MEDIAPOST's Karl Greenberg wrote GM's Super Bowl ads are "humorous but not over the top and almost all of them are designed to encase a central 'I didn't know that' fact about the vehicles," specifically the Volt and the Cruze Eco. One spot for the Volt "trumpets the fact that you can charge the car's electric motor via any three-prong outlet for a dollar and change." The ad for the Cruze Eco is "a kind of meta commercial where a group of elderly -- and hard of hearing -- men and women are watching a TV spot for the Cruze Eco, but misunderstand that the vehicle can get 42 mpg." The facts are then "repeated, humorously throughout the spot." Ewanick noted that the ad for the Silverado "shows the vehicle as 'everyday hero' ... by having the owner use it to extricate his son from ever more ludicrous situations: a well, a cave, the belly of a whale, a volcano." Meanwhile, a spot for the Camaro, "teasing the vehicle's role in the third Transformers movie, actually masquerades as precisely the kind of ad automakers hate: a tacky tier III 'buy one get two free' type dealer spot." The dealer in the ad "promotes a big Camaro sale at his store by having a guy in a costume try to bash the hood of a Camaro with a mallet," but the vehicle "comes to life as the Transformer ... grabs the guy and hurls him over the dealership." Greenberg also noted GM will have a "big surprise in the post game show" (, 1/31).

    DOUBLING UP: Coca-Cola announced yesterday that it will run new spots in the Super Bowl telecast for a fifth consecutive year. A 60-second spot entitled "Border" airing in the second quarter depicts two guards from neighboring nations pacing along their respective sides of the border, one drinking Coca-Cola and the other one watching him. Meanwhile, a 60-second spot entitled "Siege" that will run in the third quarter shows an army of ogres and their dragon marching toward a castle, whose inhabitants decide to use a Coca-Cola for protection. The ads are part of Coca-Cola's new global "Open Happiness" campaign, and were created by Wieden + Kennedy, Portland. They also are part of an integrated marketing program, which includes a five-second "Coke Cheers" animated billboard that will air during the Super Bowl telecast and alert viewers to voice their support for their favorite team and Boys & Girls Clubs (Coca-Cola). Coca-Cola North America Senior VP/Creative Excellence Pio Schunker said the company's presence in the Super Bowl is about trying to "express the brand's values and beliefs." Schunker: "We view this as our personal State of the Union" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1). Schunker added that the "Border" ad, which was shot last year in Morocco, "was not a reference to any particular troubled border" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/1).

    AD ROUNDUP: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reports Groupon officials "hope their commercial in the Super Bowl, along with spots before and after, will help build awareness for the brand." The company has hired Crispin Porter & Bogusky to create the spots, but Groupon President & COO Rob Solomon "declined to discuss the content of the Groupon spot in the Super Bowl, which is planned for the third quarter, other than to describe it as 'irreverent and humorous.'" Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev's spot for its Stella Artois brand, via Mother, London, "features the actor Adrien Brody singing in a jazz club circa 1960" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1)....HomeAway's new national marketing campaign will debut with a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl. The campaign features a fictional "Minister of Detourism" in a government facility where he highlights problems with hotel rooms and the benefits of vacation rentals. In the Super Bowl spot, a family struggles to get comfortable in a hotel room simulator. This is followed by a chain reaction that results in a "test baby" being accidentally launched into the air where it smushes up against the glass of the hotel room simulator before sliding to the floor (HomeAway).

    MONEY WELL SPENT: Univ. of North Texas communications professor Peter Noble noted he would "comfortably say advertisers are probably very happy" with the Steelers-Packers matchup "primarily because they are two storied teams." Noble: "They're going to get a good bang for their buck based on the fact you have ... these name-brand teams" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 2/1).

    Print | Tags: General Motors, Fox, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Making Peace: USTA, Olympus Settle Lawsuits Against One Another

    The USTA and Olympus have settled their lawsuits against one another, the USTA announced in a statement this morning. The USTA had sued Olympus for allegedly breaking the remaining year of its sponsorship of the U.S. Open and its title sponsorship of the US Open Series, seeking the remaining $11.7M in fees. Olympus last month countersued, alleging that the USTA had violated the sponsorship by selling deals in the category. A statement read, “Olympus and the United States Tennis Association are pleased to announce that they have resolved their differences and that Olympus will continue as an official sponsor of the 2011 US Open and Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day and as the title sponsor of the Olympus US Open Series for 2011.” The USTA declined to say if it is recovering the full $11.7M. The case had been scheduled to go to trial June 30 in New York State Court in White Plains.

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, USTA
  • Pro Leagues Continue To Target Female Fans With Stylish Apparel Offerings

    MLB says it has the largest percentage of female fans among pro leagues

    Female football fans have the "widest choice ever of fashion forward clothes to support their teams" as pro sports leagues have been "madly licensing stylish clothes and new accessories to grab more of the multi-billion dollar team fashion market," according to Ellen Warren of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all have seen "growth in their fem fan base in recent years." That helps account for the "availability of nail polish in authorized Major League Baseball team colors, maternity tops with 'future fan' printed over the baby bump and a footwear plan under development by the National Football League to license stilettos in the same shades as team football jerseys." MLB VP/Business PR Matt Bourne said that the league "has the largest percentage of women fans (45.5 percent) of all pro sports," while NFL VP/Consumer Products & Apparel Tracey Bleczinski noted that 44% "of NFL fans today are women." NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings said, "They are a fan and it doesn't make them less of a fan to wear something with some sequins or a little more fitted ... a little more glitz and glam." NBA Senior Dir of Apparel Licensing Lisa Piken: "We still offer the pink if that's what you want (but) the female consumer spoke up and demanded more." She noted that the NBA offers items like "vintage washes, foil graphics, unique fonts and glitter prints." Warren noted Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Forever 21, JCPenney, Target, Destination Maternity, Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom "now carry team clothing" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/28).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB
  • Shanghai Surprise: Kobe Looks To Spread Chinese Culture To U.S. Youth

    Kobe's charitable foundation helps fund the After-School All-Stars

    Lakers G Kobe Bryant is taking his “affection for China -- and its goodwill toward him -- to cast himself as a bridge between East and West through a campaign of philanthropic contributions, promotional activities and cross-cultural exchanges,” according to Jacob Adelman of the AP. Bryant's charitable foundation helps fund the After-School All-Stars, which "includes Mandarin language lessons, Chinese cooking courses and martial arts classes.” He also “makes occasional visits to the basketball courts” of participating middle schools. Bryant's “fondness for China has been reciprocated." His is the NBA’s top-selling jersey in China, and “millions of Chinese viewers tuned in to the reality show ‘Kobe's Disciples,’ which aired on that country's most popular TV station.” Adelman notes “stoking Kobe-mania is a big part” of the NBA's business plan, as he was “featured prominently” in the NBA-sponsored installation at the ‘10 Shanghai Expo's USA Pavilion. Nike has also been “both an enabler and beneficiary of Bryant's success over the Pacific.” The company “uses his image widely in its Chinese advertisements and at its retail stores.” Nike this week “paid for 10 Chinese middle-school students to visit the United States, where they joined After-School All-Stars participants.” Nike spokesperson Jacie Prieto-Lopez said that the company's relationship with Bryant “gives them an instant connection to China's massive population of basketball fans” (AP, 2/1).

    NEXT STEP, HOLLYWOOD? In L.A., Nathan Olivarez-Giles reported filmmaker Robert Rodriguez has made a six-minute film starring Bryant and sponsored by Nike titled "The Black Mamba." Singer Kanye West and actor Bruce Willis also make appearances -- West “plays a villain known as the Boss, with Willis as his henchman.” West's "Boss wants Bryant's shoes.” Olivarez-Giles wrote, “In typical over-the-top Rodriguez style, Bryant ends up playing a game of basketball against Danny Trejo and a mutant-like defense, on top of a skyscraper in downtown L.A.” Bryant said that the film will “air on TV during the NBA All-Star break” (, 1/31).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Basketball, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Marketplace Roundup

    Heineken reportedly will be the official beer supplier of the '12 London Games

    MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds reported Heineken is “due to be revealed as the official beer supplier of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.” Heineken will “supply alcohol, mainly to hospitality outlets, and will be granted marketing rights at the games.” The deal is set to be announced "within the next two weeks." It had been speculated that LOCOG “wanted to sign a commercial deal with a British drinks manufacturer.” Heineken has "invested in sponsorship deals in previous Olympics," including with the British Olympic Association for the ‘04 Athens Games (, 1/31).

    SHOW ME THE MONEY: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin reports Florida-based CV Sports Marketing claims that IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway “owe it millions of dollars for attracting Izod as a title sponsor of the IndyCar Series.” CV Sports Marketing said that it helped IndyCar “reach an apparel sponsorship agreement with Izod in 2008, and that agreement turned into a title sponsorship in 2009.” The lawsuit claims that IndyCar initially paid 10% “of the annual apparel sponsorship to CV Sports Marketing but didn’t pay commission on the title sponsorship.” The suit claims the title sponsorship is now worth between $90-100M, and CV Sports Marketing “should have received a cut of that money” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/1).

    SMOKING BAN: REUTERS’ Alan Baldwin noted Renault F1 Chair Gerard Lopez “dismissed concern on Monday that his Lotus-backed team's new black and gold livery could fall foul of anti-tobacco legislation.” Some contend that Renault “could be in breach of strict anti-tobacco advertising laws” when it competes in Canada because of the past association with Imperial Tobacco. Lopez said, “Number one, we have no relationship with a tobacco company. Even if we had had, there is another famous team racing around in a colour that is ... very close to a cigarette manufacturer." Ferrari is the “only outfit still sponsored by a cigarette maker, Philip Morris's Marlboro brand.” But there is “no branding on the car or uniforms, other than the red and white colours” (REUTERS, 1/31).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
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