SBD/February 2, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Popular Cell Phone Game "Angry Birds" To Be Worked Into Last-Minute SB Ad

    Twentieth Century Fox has bought a “last-minute spot during the Super Bowl" to promote the theatrical release of "Rio" that includes an "embedded code for the 3D toon's tie-in with Rovio's hit cellphone game ‘Angry Birds,’” according to Marc Graser of DAILY VARIETY. The 30-second ad will air during the fourth quarter of Fox’ broadcast Sunday. The ad buy is “surprising” considering Fox reportedly sold out of its Super Bowl inventory in October. Twentieth Century Fox said that it “purchased its ‘Rio’ spot last week.” The “code within the ‘Rio’ spot -- a first for a Super Bowl ad -- will direct viewers to a special level in ‘Angry Birds,’ which will offer gamers the chance to enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to the ‘Rio’ premiere March 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.” The studio “had planned to sit out the Super Bowl again this year” (, 2/1). Fox said that the spot “will be the first Super Bowl ad that requires viewers to pause the spot and watch frame-by-frame to capture an embedded code.” AD AGE’s Andrew Hampp noted other marketers are “adopting somewhat similar tactics” for their Super Bowl ads this year. Kia's 60-second spot “will include the answer to a question that consumers need to advance” in its "One Epic Contest" to win one of five ‘11 Optimas (, 2/1). hoping test baby scene will
    create a "Super Bowl-worthy" moment
    ONE WAY TO GET NOTICED: ADWEEK’s Tim Nudd reported is “anchoring its upcoming 30-second Super Bowl spot around a baby that gets thrown forcefully into a glass wall, its face distorting horribly at impact and further disintegrating as it slides down the glass.” HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples said that the company is "just trying to get noticed.” Sharples: "We used the test baby scene to create a 'Super Bowl-worthy' moment that breaks through the clutter of so many ads." Nudd wrote, “Seriously, they figured this was the best way to promote vacation homes. … Whether or not they've created a Super Bowl-worthy moment for Sunday, they're currently in the lead for the WTF moment of the night” (, 2/1). Northwestern Univ.'s Kellogg School of Management marketing professor Tim Calkins said HomeAway is taking “quite a risk” with the ad. Calkins: “There is a good chance people will remember the smushed baby and miss the real point of the commercial. The baby could also offend some viewers, or at least leave them with a negative feeling about the brand” (MARKETING DAILY, 2/2 issue).

    GET OVER IT: TV fitness trainer Jillian Michaels will appear in Go Daddy's Super Bowl ads, and she said, "For people who have a problem with it, honestly, get a life. There's so many things you can be worrying about. A Super Bowl spot is not one of them." Michaels will appear in three ads alongside Danica Patrick, and Michaels said the spots are "very respectful of me and Danica.” Michaels: “It's okay to be sexy. It's okay to have fun. It's okay to be racy." The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Bryan Alexander reported Michaels “refused to give details about the ads except to say that one in particular -- 'The Contract’ is meant to be played for supreme humor.” She added that even in the “raciest of the three ads – ‘I have more on in the Go Daddy spot than I do my own exercise DVDs’" (, 2/1).

    TAKING IT TO THE MAX: PepsiCo will air six Pepsi Max and Doritos fan-generated ads on Sunday as part of its "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, and Frito-Lay North America Senior VP Ann Mukherjee said she is "not at all" nervous about the public’s reaction to the spots. Mukherjee: “We have been doing this … as a Doritos brand for four years and now partnering with Pepsi Max, it’s just gotten even better. If you look at the quality of the ads, we couldn’t be more proud.” PepsiCo Americas Joint Ventures President Jill Beraud added, “When you see these commercials … you will be laughing, and it is great entertainment, great advertising for both Doritos and Pepsi Max” (Fox Business, 2/1).

    FOX EXCLUSIVE: Fox Broadcasting President of Marketing & Communications Joe Earley noted that the network "could have as much as four minutes' worth of time for ads for its shows” within the Super Bowl broadcast. AD AGE’s Brian Steinberg noted four minutes “would actually fall far short of recent Super Bowl promo loads,” as last year’s game on CBS featured “eight minutes and 15 seconds of promo time for the network.” Fox will “use its time to draw attention” to "Glee," an episode of which will air after the Super Bowl ends, as well as other shows coming up during the week, such as "House" and "American Idol." New programs that will “get the spotlight” on Super Bowl Sunday include "The Chicago Code" and "Traffic Light." Fox also has tentative “plans to offer sneak previews of two programs widely anticipated” for the fall: "Terra Nova," the “would-be blockbuster series about a family that journeys back in time to the prehistoric era,” and "X Factor," the “new singing showcase” produced by former "American Idol" host Simon Cowell (, 2/1).

    : CTV yesterday confirmed that its ad inventory for Super Bowl XLV “has climbed above pre-recession levels.” Media buyers said that the rates CTV is charging for airtime this year “are at or slightly above last year’s rates.” In Toronto, Dana Flavelle notes Super Bowl airtime in Canada “costs around $100,000 for a 30-second spot.” Some advertisers, including Labatt Canada, said that they “plan to unveil brand new ads during the game." Labatt will run two spots promoting its Budweiser brand. Industry observers said that the Canadian ads “will most likely be overshadowed by their glitzier U.S. counterparts.” Flavelle notes U.S. ads “can’t be seen” in Canada, “at least not live on TV during the game” (TORONTO STAR, 2/2).

    ALL IN FAVOR: HCD Research yesterday announced that it will conduct a national study among Super Bowl XLV viewers to rank the Super Bowl ads during the game. The company will host the study and report the final results on its website the morning of Feb. 7. This marks the fifth consecutive year the company has run the study (HCD Research).

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  • Super Bowl "If Win" Orders Higher For Packers Than Steelers Among NFL Licensees

    Most NFL licensees feel Packers victory would generate 10-20% more sales

    Based on their "If Win" orders, most NFL licensees are favoring the Packers over the Steelers in Sunday's Super Bowl. While manufacturers of NFL licensed goods are happy to have two teams with the tradition and diverse fan bases of the Steelers and Packers, an informal survey of NFL licensees found Green Bay would generate 10-20% more in sales of championship products than Pittsburgh. "We're seeing a slight edge with Green Bay in overall demand, but the best thing about this year's matchup is that it's pretty encouraging either way, because you've got two national teams," said David Baxter, president of the adidas Sports Licensed Division, which handles Reebok's exclusive on-field apparel rights. The Packers, winner of the first two Super Bowls, last won in ‘97, establishing an NFL high in sales of championship licensed products. A Steelers win may stimulate less demand, since the team was victorious two years ago and has won two of the last five NFL championships. Wincraft's McArthur Towel division makes both the Trophy Towel, which gets valuable on-field display during the Super Bowl postgame celebration, and the Steelers’ familiar "Terrible Towel." For their postseason run, a Packers "Titletown Towel" has been added. Company officials also said Packers orders were outpacing Steelers by about 20%.

    RECORD SALES EXPECTED: Like many NFL licensees, VF is anticipating a record cash register ring during the NFL Playoffs. That follows a season in which the NFL established many TV viewing records and appears on its way to establishing a new high in Super Bowl viewers. "This is already probably our best NFL postseason from a sales perspective," said Jim Pisani, president of VF's Licensed Sports Group, which includes the Majestic Athletic Brand. "Based on our orders, the Packers look to be the stronger team for sales, but Steelers fans are everywhere, and them possibly being the first seven-time Super Bowl champs is something with sustainability that we could chase pretty hard." NFL VP/Consumer Products Leo Kane said that sales of this year's generic Super Bowl licensed products togs, which include the Lombardi Trophy in the logo for the first time, would rival or surpass the previous high, set at Super Bowl XL in Detroit. Sales will be propelled by the fact that the 30,000-square-foot NFL Shop at the NFL Experience fan fest will be open four days during each of the two weekends prior to the Super Bowl. "Our forecast prior to the season was high single-digit growth, but I think we'll exceed that, based on the nice exclamation point we're getting from the playoffs and Super Bowl," Kane said.

    Print | Tags: NFL, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Tony Hawk Skateboarding Video Game Outsells Shaun White's Debut Effort

    Activision's "Tony Hawk Shred" sold an
    estimated 270,000 copies in '10
    Tony Hawk and Shaun White, "two of the biggest names in extreme sports," both were featured on skateboarding video game titles last year, but "in a battle of two generations of skateboarders, Hawk ruled the roost and kicked newcomer White to the curb," according to John Gaudosi of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Video game tracking firm NPD Group data indicated that Activision's "Tony Hawk Shred" game "sold over 135,000 copies in the U.S. alone in 2010, compared to under 60,000 copies" of Ubisoft's "Shaun White Skateboarding." Hawk "sold an estimated 270,000 copies" of the game worldwide, compared to 120,000 copies for White's game. While White has released three snowboarding games with Ubisoft "over the past few years, this marks his first foray into skateboarding." Wedbush Morgan Securities video game analyst Michael Pachter noted that White "has helped Ubisoft sell over 3.5 million snowboarding games in the U.S. alone since he entered the games space in 2008." Meanwhile, Hawk partners with Activision on the "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" games, and his video games "have generated over $1 billion in revenue for Activision." Pachter said that Hawk and White are "competing for a video game market that will support sales of about 3 to 4 million units per year." Gaudosi notes EA "released the simulation-based 'Skate 3' in May 2010, which features the voice of actor and former pro skater Jason Lee" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/2).

    TAKING THE PLUNGE: USA TODAY's Mike Snider reports Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps' first video game, "Push the Limit," is scheduled to be released in June and "uses the Kinect hands-free control sensor for Microsoft's Xbox 360 system in lieu of a pool." Players "stand upright and work their arms -- no kicking required -- in a variety of swimming stroke motions as they advance from introductory swim meets to championships." Phelps said the game is "all based on moves and actual strokes." Phelps: "They're trying to pretty much make my stroke look as close as possible in the game as it is in person." Phelps at the beginning of the game "teaches proper swimming technique, from diving in to reaching for the wall." But publisher 505 Games' Pete Matisse said the "ultimate goal of the game is to swim against Michael and actually beat him" (USA TODAY, 2/2).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Marketplace Roundup

    Thorpe's press conference heavily branded by sponsor Virgin Blue

    Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe today announced that he will come out of retirement to compete in the '12 London Games, but THE AUSTRALIAN's Simon Canning reports some observers have "already branded Thorpe's return a grab for cash after the swimmer fronted a press conference heavily branded by Virgin Blue." At the news conference, Thorpe appeared in "front of a Virgin Blue-branded hoarding and wearing an Adidas polo shirt, another of his long standing sponsors." Thorpe said that "his motivation was competition, not money." But his fans were "upset that it was Thorpe's sponsors and not Thorpe himself who made the crucial announcement about his comeback" (, 2/2).

    FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: Kevin Harvick Inc. yesterday announced a multiyear partnership with TapouT. The MMA apparel brand will make its NASCAR debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5 as a sponsor of KHI's No. 2 Nationwide Series entry driven by Elliott Sadler. KHI co-Owner Kevin Harvick also will carry the TapouT logo on the hood of the No. 2 Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan Int'l Speedway in '11 (KHI).

    JHONNY ON THE SPOT: In Las Vegas, Norm Clarke writes it "would be surprising" if golfer Jhonattan Vegas "doesn't get offered a sponsorship/promotional deal from a Las Vegas resort or the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority." Vegas won the the PGA Tour Bob Hope Classic last month, and followed that up with a T3 finish this past weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. Clarke: "Blessed with unbelievable power and an infectious smile, Vegas could be a one-man marketing force for a city in recovery that needs a fresh face to rally around à la the glory days of UNLV basketball and Andre Agassi" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/2).

    FIGURE EIGHT: Hill Carrow, Chair of the Greensboro Organizing Committee that brought last week's U.S. Figure Skating Championships to the North Carolina city, said that the committee attracted 44 sponsors but "fell about $60,000 short of its $825,000 goal." But Carrow noted that "more than 100,000 tickets were sold for the 20-session event, eclipsing a $2 million sales goal and covering the sponsorship deficit" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 2/1).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
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