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Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger may not surpass Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in "endorsements, earning potential and popularity even if his team wins the Super Bowl," according to Aaron Kuriloff of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Marketing and celebrity firms contend that Roethlisberger's off-field history "overshadows his on-field performance." The Davie Brown Index shows that Rodgers, leads Roethlisberger "in appeal, trust and endorsement potential." The Marketing Arm Senior VP & Managing Dir Bill Glenn: "There's about a 30 percent spread between him and Rodgers on trust alone." PLB Sports President & CEO Ty Ballou, whose Pittsburgh-based company ended its sponsorship of Roethlisberger last year, said, "Ben will get other endorsement deals. It may be a roll of the dice. If he wins, it’s the third ring in six years and it’s all about how he markets himself now." Glenn said that winning a third Super Bowl "may increase Roethlisberger’s marketability in Pittsburgh faster than in the rest of the U.S." Glenn: "There’s two things that are going to repair Ben’s marketability, and those are time and good behavior." Still, Octagon First Call VP & Managing Dir David Schwab believes that Rodgers "has the most to gain from a Super Bowl victory" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 2/3). Chicago-based Engage Marketing President Kevin Adler said, "For Ben Roethlisberger as a brand, the best thing he can do this week is have a quiet week off the field and a very loud week on the field. In the short term, he can’t do anything to help himself, but he can do further damage. He can go out and throw 100 touchdowns Sunday, and he will still be a damaged brand from a marketing perspective. In the short term, he won’t see a windfall of endorsement deals, but if he has a great game and a quiet off-season, that may begin to change" (WWD.com, 2/2).
COMPANIES CAUTION WITH BIG BEN: Ketchum Sports & Entertainment VP Shawn McBride said, "In this time of recession, companies are being very safe, and I don’t see anyone risking big marketing dollars on him any time soon." According to a January poll done by E-Poll Market Research, which surveyed more than 1,000 adults, Roethlisberger's "dislike" score "dropped to 39 per cent from 57 per cent in the same poll last year, but is still way above the 13-per-cent average found for all athletes." McBride added, "We have been getting a lot of calls about possible ‘up and comers’ in this Super Bowl game, guys who could become great celebrity spokespeople. But not about Roethlisberger. That is going to take more time." Likewise, ad and merchandise licensing firm GreenLight VP David Reeder said, "The market for Ben is very limited -- he doesn’t have the appeal of Tom Brady. He can’t do national commercials. If he chooses contrition and humility after the game, he may get the interest of regional sponsors. From there, he may climb the ladder over time and maybe big national brands way down the line" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/3).
GREEN ACRES: FORBES.com's Tom Van Riper wrote Rodgers, despite lacking a "big public personality," is an "up and coming star who has handled the pressure of being Brett Favre’s heir apparent with aplomb." With a Super Bowl win, Rodgers "probably leapfrogs" Falcons QB Matt Ryan -- who "currently has a larger national endorsement portfolio -- in the commercial game." Also, the Super Bowl provides Packers LB Clay Matthews and Steelers S Troy Polamalu, both of whom already have endorsement deals for hair products, "an opportunity to expand the horizons." But perhaps the "biggest up and comer of them all" is Packers DE B.J. Raji, "a 337-pound monster who showcased his skill and an appealing personality during the Packers NFC Championship Game win over the Bears." Raji is known as "The Freezer," a nickname that pegs him "as a modern day version" of William "Refrigerator" Perry. Coca-Cola was among the companies Perry had endorsement deals with when he was active, but if Raji "finds a way to shake and bake his way into the end zone on Sunday," as he did during the NFC Championship, he will "have a chance to make a more prudent choice" (FORBES.com, 2/2).
With ad time during Fox' coverage of Super Bowl XLV "sold out, the pre-game festivities are taking on some of the Big Game's usual luster," according to Brian Steinberg of AD AGE. Chevrolet, Ford, Pizza Hut, Ritz crackers and E*Trade are "among the marketers using the early hoopla to supplement their Super Bowl perches or participate in the Super Bowl without actually buying" an ad during the game broadcast, where 30-second spots sold for about $3M. The "hours of lead-in this year look to be filled with ads and surprising promotions from a number of big spenders." Kraft Foods will use Food Network personality Guy Fieri in "multiple program segments" for its Ritz brand, highlighted by an hour of coverage before the Packers-Steelers game that will be known as "The Ritz Cracker Pre-Game Show." Also, Ford is sponsoring the 6:00pm ET hour ahead of kickoff, scheduled for approximately 6:29pm. In addition, E*Trade's famous "baby is expected to show up and chat with the on-air team from Fox's Sunday football telecasts, as it did during the playoffs" (ADAGE.com, 2/2). Meanwhile, AD AGE's Parekh & Steinberg reported Groupon has "secured a single spot in Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XLV this weekend -- an unexpected turn of events because the network sold out its ad inventory around the end of October." The online company had been "planning on only pre-game and post-game commercials," but sources said that it was "able to seize on a lucky opportunity." An advertiser that had "purchased time during the game decided to pull out in the past couple of weeks, so Fox then re-sold the time to Groupon" (ADAGE.com, 2/2).
IT'S GO TIME: In L.A., Salvador Rodriguez reports Go Daddy "will be promoting the Web domain extension .co" in its Super Bowl ads. Go Daddy "hopes the new commercials will do for .co what its first commercial did for the company's growth." Since it first began airing "sexually suggestive Super Bowl commercials in 2005, Go Daddy's share of the market for registering Internet addresses has climbed to 50% from 16%." Borrell Associates analyst Peter Conti said that Go Daddy is "hoping that the new Super Bowl commercials will lead to a second rush of domain purchases." Rodriguez notes until last year, the .co extension was "designated for the country of Colombia." But because of a "dispute over rights, .co became available to the general public," and Go Daddy "subsequently became one of 10 companies worldwide licensed to sell Web addresses with the .co extension" (L.A. TIMES, 2/3). Meanwhile, Go Daddy has indicated that it will "introduce a new" female endorser during the game who will be the "GoDaddy.co Girl." Driver Danica Patrick and TV fitness trainer Jillian Michaels also will appear in the company's Super Bowl advertising (MEDIAPOST.com, 2/2). Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons discussed the company's Super Bowl ad plans on Fox Business last night, where host David Asman asked of the new spokesperson, "Is she as hot as Danica Patrick?" Parsons: "In her own right, she's smoking hot" (Fox Business, 2/2).
SO HERE'S THE PLAN: Hyundai yesterday unveiled plans for its two Super Bowl ads, with a first quarter spot titled "Hypnotized" and a third quarter commercial called "Deprogramming." Both promote Hyundai's '11 Elantra. "Hypnotized" features everyday driving imagery interlaced with placement of cards asking, "Have we been hypnotized to believe compact cars are good enough?" Then, the third quarter spot features a voiceover that says, "Compact cars can be more" (Hyundai). Meanwhile, Audi yesterday revealed that musician Kenny G will make an appearance in the brand's 60-second Super Bowl spot, set to air during the first in-game ad break. The spot will feature a prison escape scene that culminates with a cameo by Kenny G as the riot suppressor (Audi).
IS IT WORTH IT? The AP's Ryan Nakashima wonders if paying $3M for a 30-second Super Bowl spot is "worth it for companies." Go Daddy Founder Bob Parsons said, "It's not a bet, if you know the outcome." Since first airing a Super Bowl spot six years ago, Go Daddy has "gone from single digits to nearly 50 percent of market share in domain-name registry." Similarly, new business for HomeAway.com after last year's Super Bowl debut "allowed the site to recoup" 60-70% of the cost. Nakashima noted CareerBuilder's ads "helped the job-listing site leapfrog rival Monster after its first Super Bowl" in '05 (AP, 2/2).
LET'S TALK ABOUT IT: Join SportsBusiness Daily on Twitter this Sunday during Super Bowl XLV for a virtual roundtable discussion with top advertising and branding executives. Follow the dedicated hashtag (#SBDSB) to read live responses to all the Super Bowl ads from Horizon Media Senior VP & Dir of Research Brad Adgate, former Kodak CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett, Octagon First Call Dir of Talent Relations Michael Jacobson, Deep Alliance Marketing President Dave Paro and Momentum Worldwide Chair & CEO Chris Weil.
Sports Illustrated has signed a marketing deal with Nissan for its upcoming Swimsuit Issue "that will let readers vote on who gets to appear in a future issue," according to Russell Adams of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. A source said that Nissan "agreed to spend in the mid-seven figures ... with a campaign dubbed Model vs. Model." Nissan "purchased a four-page spread in this year's issue featuring swimsuit models matched with Nissan cars," and "for three weeks after the issue hits newsstands Feb. 15, readers also will be able to vote online and by other means on which of several unknown contestants merits a spot in next year's issue." Each of the automaker's print ads "will have a bar code that, when photographed on a smartphone, sends the reader to a website to view photos and video shoots of the eight amateur-model contestants." The reader "then can vote for who should appear in next year's issue." Adams notes last year's Swimsuit Issue "had about 72 ad pages and sold 925,000 newsstand copies." SI officials said that ads "have started to pick up and they expect to have more than 90 ad pages in this year's issue." The magazine "has moved in recent years to become less dependent on the brittle market for print ads, which in the swimsuit issue cost about $330,000 a page and typically have accounted for about 95% of the issue's revenue." The magazine's effort to "wean itself from print ads has included creating television specials and Las Vegas launch parties for sponsors." This year, print ads "will account for just 55% of the revenue generated by the swimsuit edition," while "another 30% will come from digital initiatives, with the balance coming from so-called experiential marketing" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/3).
The DC-based National Consumers League has filed a formal complaint with the FTC claiming ads for Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater brand that suggest it can replace flu shots or prevent illness are "dangerously misleading," according to Jeremiah McWilliams of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The NCL indicated that "stopping Vitaminwater's claims about warding off the flu and boosting the immune system should be a top priority" for the FTC. One label on a Vitaminwater bottle reads, "vitamins + water = all you need." Also, a display reads "flu shots are so last year" and promises more immunity and "less snotty tissues." But Coca-Cola has acknowledged that the ads are "meant to be funny." Beverage Digest Editor John Sicher said that "most consumers are intelligent enough to know that ads claiming flu shots are unnecessary shouldn't be taken literally." However, McWilliams reports the NCL "wants Coca-Cola to pay for a round of corrective advertising to encourage people to take their flu shots." NCL Exec Dir Sally Greenberg said that the company's argument that the ads are "supposed to be taken with a wink is 'totally unacceptable'" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/3).
NASCAR announced today that the National Corn Growers Association has partnered with the sanctioning body to promote the role farmers play in the development of ethanol. The corn growers will work with the ethanol lobby group, Growth Energy, to promote American Ethanol during the '11 season. Stock cars will run on Sunoco Green E15, a 15% ethanol blend, this season (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
GUIDING LIGHT: Penske Racing yesterday announced a sponsorship deal with Guidepoint Systems for the ‘11 Izod IndyCar Series season. Guidepoint will be the primary sponsor on Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 car for five races and Ryan Briscoe’s No. 6 for two races. It will be an “associate sponsor on both cars all season.” Penske Racing also announced PPG Industries “is returning as a sponsor for the 32nd year” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/3).
BANK ON IT: F1 team McLaren has “signed an extension to its corporate partnership with banking giant Santander.” Santander branding “will continue to appear on the helmets of McLaren's British drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.” Financial details were not disclosed, but a source said that the deal is “for two years, with an option to run for a third.” MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds notes Santander is currently a “leading sponsor of McLaren's rival F1 brand, Ferrari” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 2/3).
NEWS TRAVELS FAST: The Daytona Beach News-Journal this week signed a marketing partnership to become “the official newspaper" of Daytona Int'l Speedway. The one-year partnership is “expected to result in opportunities for co-branding and joint marketing” between the two entities. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/3).
The NBA yesterday announced a multiyear deal making travel company Thomson Sport the official presenting partner of NBA Games -- London 2011, as well as the league's Official European Fan Travel Partner. The London '11 games will feature the Nets and Raptors facing off at The O2 in London on March 4 and 5. As part of the deal, Thomson will offer packages for European fans to attend NBA games in the U.S. and Canada, and packages for U.S. fans to attend NBA Games in Europe (NBA). MARKETING magazine's John Reynolds notes Thomson will "receive prominent brand exposure around" the games at The O2. The company also will be "granted brand exposure" at NBA.com, "where it will present a new editorial feature highlighting its travel services." Thomson is "bidding to ramp up its commercial relationships with U.S. sports" by signing the deal with the NBA "ahead of its first-ever" regular season game in the U.K. The deal "comes just months after it signed a similar contract with the NFL" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 2/3).
SWIMMING AT HOME: Seattle-based video game consulting firm TechSavvy CEO Scott Steinberg said that U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps' forthcoming swimming simulation game, which is entitled "Michael Phelps: Push the Limit" and will retail for $49.99, has the "potential to cleverly blend celebrity with cutting-edge technology." Steinberg: "I wouldn't be surprised if they can pull off a reasonable facsimile of swimming." However, he added, "The question is whether people will flock to it en masse, since it's been a while since Phelps' victory [at the '08 Beijing Games]. But he remains a household name and an icon in sports and the best-recognized face of swimming." In Baltimore, Jill Rosen notes "plans for a sequel are already in the works" at game publisher 505 Games. The "hope is that if Phelps performs as well at the 2012 games as he did in Beijing, fans will be ready for more" (Baltimore SUN, 2/3).
STEAKING A CLAIM: The PGA Tour has struck a deal that makes Morton’s the tour’s official steakhouse. The new agreement is the first league-wide partnership for the premium restaurant brand. Morton’s, which has worked with individual athletes in many sports to create “celebrity server” events and charity auctions, will work with the tour to create events involving players, tournaments and their charities. Chicago-based Morton’s has 77 steakhouses worldwide (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).