SBD/February 4, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Celebrities Omnipresent In Super Bowl Ads, But Do They Help Brands Sell?

    Best Buy's Super Bowl ad featuring Bieber, Ozzy one of many starring celebs

    Several Super Bowl advertisers are featuring celebrities in their ads during Sunday's broadcast, including Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian, but the "risk for Super Bowl advertisers is that their message gets lost in the star's glare," according to Emily Steel of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Snickers, which "racked up big yardage last year" with an ad featuring Betty White, is "coming back this year" with comedians Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr in a new spot called "Logging." Barr was a "huge star in her now-distant day, and Mr. Lewis has been a fixture" on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." However, Steel wonders, "Will they have the same cultural cachet as the former Golden Girl?" Other ads featuring celebrities include Bieber joining Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne in Best Buy's ad, a Skechers spot featuring Kardashian, Teleflora's ad in which singer Faith Hill "promotes a Valentine's Day assortment" and ads for Go Daddy featuring driver Danica Patrick and trainer Jillian Michaels (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/4). Author Sally Hogshead said by using celebrities, companies are "tapping into what people are talking about." She said of the Skechers ad, "There's going to be a huge push of people going online and talking about the commercial and Kim, and maybe not so much about the shoes, but they will be buying” ("Today," NBC, 2/4).

    CELEBS DO GENERATE BUZZ: MEDIA LIFE MAGAZINE's Diego Vasquez noted celebrity ads are "receiving most of the pregame buzz, and right up there" is Best Buy's ad. Lipton's ad with a "Claymation version of Eminem is also getting lots of attention." Pavone Senior Public Relations Strategist Dave Shoffner, whose company runs the Super Bowl ad site Spotbowl, said both the Best Buy and Snickers ads are "getting attention." When asked if celebrities help "build buzz for a brand," Shoffner said, "Anytime you can get a recognizable name in a spot it gives people something to talk about, and something they're familiar with. It's definitely something that works for brands." Shoffner said of Best Buy's ad, "We know Justin Bieber has a large pre-teen and teen girl following, and we're guessing many of them don't shop at Best Buy. But their parents do, and maybe that's where Ozzy comes in" (MEDIALIFEMAGAZINE.com, 2/3).

    SUPER SPOTLIGHT
    : AD AGE's Natalie Zmuda noted group-buying site Living Social is "ready to raise its profile, with a pre-game Super Bowl spot and at least one Oscars spot." The pregame spot, which is via Martin Agency and will "run in the last pod prior to the game, features a burly, masculine type transforming as a result of Living Social's deals." The company's advertising strategy is "meant to further boost Living Social's visibility," and it "comes on the heels of news that rival Groupon snagged a slot in the Super Bowl, after being relegated to pre-game and post-game slots." Living Social VP/Marketing & Communications Camille Watson said that the company is "happy with its pre-game placement and that the spot signals the beginning of a larger advertising push" (ADAGE.com, 2/3). Meanwhile, in Chicago, Lewis Lazare notes Groupon is "keeping details about its new Super Bowl work under wraps," but ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, "selected Christopher Guest to direct the TV commercials" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/4). 

    MORE COMMERCIAL DETAILS: ADWEEK's Eleftheria Parpis cited sources as saying that BMW Mini "will be among the brands that BMW of North America will be advertising" during the game. The carmaker is expected to air two ads via Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, N.Y., including one "for the X3 crossover." There will be a "separate commercial for the new four-door Mini Countryman," which comes via Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, California (ADWEEK.com, 2/3)....The NFL Thursday introduced 60- and 30-second spots that it will run during the Super Bowl. The 60-second spot, titled "American Family," will air during the third quarter, celebrating the Super Bowl's standing in the entertainment world. It features over 40 actors who appeared on some of the most popular TV shows of the last several decades, including "Happy Days," "Cheers," "Seinfeld," "The Simpsons," "The Office" and "The Sopranos." Meanwhile, the 30-second spot, titled "Gadget," will air at halftime featuring a young NFL fan accessing NFL content on NFL-owned media platforms across the year (THE DAILY).

    HAVEN'T I SEEN YOU BEFORE? Hogshead noted several advertisers are bringing back characters from previous Super Bowl ads, such as the E*Trade baby and the CareerBuilder.com worker. Hogshead: “In the cluttered environment of the Super Bowl, if you think about it … when a brand brings back a familiar character or a storyline, immediately people lock in on it and they know exactly what the brand is.” However, she noted there is a “lot of brilliant storytelling” in some of the ads. Hogshead: “We’re seeing the return of the big, bold, creative idea and I love it” (“Today,” NBC, 2/4). But New Media Strategies CEO Pete Snyder said Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons “has been very vocal” about how he “aims to be the lowest of the low every year.” Snyder: “Just like Christmas brings us elves and presents and things like that, Go Daddy every year at the Super Bowl brings bikinis and thongs” (“The Early Show,” CBS, 2/4).

    MAKING A LIST: In Toronto, Jenni Dunning ranks the Top 10 commercials that will appear during the broadcast. Volkswagen's ad featuring a child dressed as Darth Vader ranks No. 1, as while there are "no spoken words in the entire commercial," the "adorable factor and doomsday music easily make it one of the best." Audi's spot in which musician Kenny G makes "fun of his easy-listening tunes" ranked No. 2 (TORONTO STAR, 2/4). Meanwhile, in St. Paul, Tom Webb notes the Best Buy ad is "scoring big in the world of social media." Media monitoring company Alterian is "tracking social-media mentions of 32 Super Bowl advertisers," and the Best Buy spot is "drawing the third-most attention behind Doritos and Pepsi" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/4).

    Print | Tags: Fox, Football, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Social Media Helping Change The Way Super Bowl Advertisers Work

    Many Super Bowl advertisers view this Sunday's game as a "tipping point for traditional media and social media," according to a money section cover story by Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. Advertisers' "social-networking lead-up and follow-up to their game ads are going non-stop on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more." But it may be that Super Bowl XLV advertisers are "so focused on spreading the message across so many media channels that many forgot to focus on the content of the central message itself." This year's game might be "remembered for changing forever the way marketers expand their campaigns -- via new media far beyond the ad they buy in the Big Game." Horovitz notes after some "fits and starts in years past, marketers also seem to have figured out how to integrate new media into the Super Bowl effort." Instead of "nudging viewers to static websites, they'll steer them to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or smartphone and tablet apps, where folks can engage with the brands." PepsiCo Americas Beverages Head of Digital Shiv Singh, whose company for the first time has purchased an iPad-specific Super Bowl ad, said, "It's cosmically different, because it's not just a TV experience, but a multichannel, multiplatform, deeply social experience." Frito-Lay CMO Ann Mukherjee: "This is the new water cooler. ... Digital space is helping to re-create that human behavior of talking at the water cooler" (USA TODAY, 2/4). The AP's Mae Anderson noted marketers are "using every trick in the playbook to dominate the buzz before the game and long afterward, too." Gimmicks include "online contests, a car 'race' powered by Twitter mentions, and a secret new level of a hit iPhone game." The goal is to "build buzz, not get lost in the 42 minutes of Super Bowl ad time, and get cheap or free exposure when viewers watch again on YouTube" (AP, 2/3).

    SNEAK PREVIEW: The GLOBE & MAIL's Simon Houpt notes for this year's Super Bowl, "more than ever before, marketers are treating their 30- or 60-second TV spots as something akin to feature films, using teaser trailers to instill a sense of anticipation for the ads’ broadcast debuts." Leading up to Sunday's game, Snickers "posted a 14-second trailer of its TV spot with comedians Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr, in which it touted the stars’ names in movie-like credits, and concluded by directing viewers to watch the ad in the game’s third quarter." E*Trade last week "put up an entertaining series of clips of talking babies that supposedly 'didn’t make it past the censors' for this year’s ad." Mercedes-Benz USA, making its Super Bowl debut, "posted a 'behind-the-scenes' video of its commercial shoot exclusively on Facebook that users must 'Like' before gaining access to it." Similarly, this weekend's "SNL" broadcast on NBC "will include a 15-second commercial from Volkswagen that will tease one of the car maker’s two spots to air during the big game" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/4). In N.Y., Stuart Elliott notes social media sites have "ushered in a new era" of Super Bowl advertising, and "marketers are doing what was once unthinkable." In addition to "offering sneak peeks of their spots and revealing contents of the commercials, many, like the vacation rental company HomeAway, are going the full Monty and sharing the entire ads in advance." But experts note that the "strategy isn't without risk." Ketchum Sports & Entertainment VP Shawn McBride: "There’s some real concern that it may dilute the ‘specialness’ that’s associated with advertising in the Super Bowl" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4).

    WORTH THE INVESTMENT: CareerBuilder.com is advertising during the Super Bowl for the seventh straight year, and CMO Richard Castellini said, "Year in and year out, the Super Bowl has driven results for the company." The investment is evaluated every year, but Castellini said the ad annually "has given us a 30% lift in our invoicing," and each appearance as resulted in "record days in the Mondays and Tuesdays after the Super Bowl." He said, "There's something about being in the Super Bowl as an organization that makes you feel like you're competing in the highest levels" ("Worldwide Exchange," CNBC, 2/4). Meanwhile, Coca-Cola North America CMO Bea Perez said the company looks at the effectiveness of a Super Bowl ad “in a couple of different ways.” Perez: “We know that our brand health scores -- and that’s people who say they’ll buy our brands because of the messages -- we see those scores very high, highest they’ve been in the last five years. ... We also are looking at the business results and we also take the activation into retail” (Bloomberg TV, 2/3).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Fox
  • U.S. Dept. Of Defense To Air PSA During Super Bowl On American Forces Network

    Ad running on American Armed Forces Network reminds soldiers of right to vote

    The U.S. Dept. of Defense's Federal Voting Assistance Program is “gearing up for a Super Bowl effort of its own," but the PSA "won't show up alongside ads from Pepsi, Coca-Cola or Budweiser” during Fox' coverage of the game Sunday, according to Brian Steinberg of AD AGE. The commercial is “aimed at a potential viewing audience that could reach as many as one million viewers via American Forces Network,” and is geared to “make sure U.S. servicemen and women are aware of their right to vote in elections.” The spot was created by Mullen, Boston. Military personnel watching the Super Bowl live on the network “don’t actually see the funny and eye-popping ads that accompany the broadcast on home shores.” Instead, they see a “coterie of public-service announcements and other pieces about recruitment, family services and the like.” Mullen Group Creative Dir Dave Weist said that the agency “set out to create a public service spot that could stand alongside traditional commercials.” Viewers “will be taken into the inner mechanics of what might seem to be a gun of some sort in the midst of being assembled” while a narrator chants the famous "Rifleman's Creed." But as viewers “quickly discover, the weapon being put together is actually a pen, which can be used to cast a vote.” The narrator says, "Your vote is your greatest weapon" (ADAGE.com, 2/3).

    Print | Tags: Football, Marketing and Sponsorship, NFL
  • Who's In, Who's Out: A Rundown Of In-Game Spots For Fox' SB Telecast

    Fox has sold out all of the ad spots for Sunday's broadcast of Super Bowl XLV. The chart below presents a quarter-by-quarter run down of the advertisers on Sunday's game. The list, compiled via research and several media reports, is tentative and likely to change by gametime (THE DAILY).

    ADVERTISER
    LENGTH (SECONDS)
    AGENCY (CREATIVE)
    FIRST QUARTER
    A-B InBev (Bud Light)
    :30
    DDB, Chicago
    A-B InBev (Bud Light)
    :30
    Cannonball, St. Louis
    Audi (A8)
    :60
    Venables Bell & Partners, S.F.
    General Motors (Chevy)
    :30
    Goodby, Silverstein
    & Partners, S.F.
    General Motors (Chevy)
    :30
    Goodby, Silverstein
    & Partners, S.F.
    GoDaddy
    :30
    In-House
    Hyundai (Elantra)
    :30
    Innocean Worldwide
    Americas (In-house)
    Kia (Optima)
    :60
    David&Goliath, L.A.
    NFL ("Path to Primetime"
    draft coverage)
    :10
    In-house
    PepsiCo (Brisk Iced Tea)
    :30
    Mekanism, N.Y./S.F.
    SECOND QUARTER
    A-B InBev (Budweiser)
    :60
    Anomaly, N.Y.
    BMW (clean diesel)
    :30
    Kirshenbaum Bond
    Senecal + Partners, N.Y.
    BMW (X3)
    :30
    Kirshenbaum Bond
    Senecal + Partners, N.Y.
    Bridgestone
    :30
    The Richards Group, Dallas
    Carmax
    :30
    Amalgamated, N.Y.
    Coca-Cola
    :60
    Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
    General Motors (Chevy)
    :30
    Goodby, Silverstein
    & Partners, S.F.
    General Motors (Chevy)
    :30
    Goodby, Silverstein
    & Partners, S.F.
    Motorola Mobility (Xoom)
    :60
    Anomaly, N.Y.
    Paramount Pictures ("Transformers:
    Dark of the Moon")
    :30
    In-house
    Paramount Pictures ("Super 8")
    :30
    In-house
    Paramount Pictures ("Thor")
    :30
    In-house
    Paramount Pictures ("Captain
    America: The First Avenger")
    :30
    In-house
    Teleflora
    :30
    Fire Station, L.A. (In-house)
    Volkswagen (Passat)
    :30
    Deutsch, L.A.
    THIRD QUARTER
    A-B InBev (Stella Artois)
    :60
    Mother, London/N.Y.
    Best Buy
    :30
    Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder
    BMW Mini Cooper
    :30
    Butler, Shine, Stern
    & Partners, Sausalito
    CareerBuilder.com
    :30
    In-house
    Carmax
    :30
    Amalgamated, N.Y.
    Cars.com
    :30
    DDB, Chicago
    Coca-Cola
    :60
    Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
    Disney Studios ("Pirates of the
    Caribbean: On Stranger Tides")
    :30
    In-house
    E*Trade
    :30
    Grey, N.Y.
    Groupon
    :30
    Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami
    HomeAway
    :30
    Vendor, Austin
    Hyundai (Elantra)
    :30
    Innocean Worldwide
    Americas (In-house)
    Mars (Snickers)
    :30
    BBDO, N.Y.
    NFL (brand)
    :60
    Grey, N.Y.
    FOURTH QUARTER
    A-B InBev (Bud Light)
    :30
    DDB, Chicago
    Bridgestone
    :30
    The Richards Group, Dallas
    Cars.com
    :30
    DDB, Chicago
    General Motors (Chevy)
    :30
    Goodby, Silverstein
    & Partners, S.F.
    GoDaddy
    :30
    In-house
    Hyundai (Sonata)
    :30
    Innocean Worldwide
    Americas (In-house)
    Mercedes-Benz
    :60
    Merkley+Partners, N.Y.
    NFL ("Path to Primetime"
    draft coverage)
    :10
    In-house
    Paramount Pictures ("Rango")
    :30
    In-house
    Relativity Media ("Limitless")
    :30
    In-house
    Skechers
    :30
    In-house
    Twnetieth Century Fox ("Rio")
    :30
    In-house
    Universal Pictures/Dreamworks
    ("Cowboys and Aliens")
    :30
    In-house
    Volkswagen (Beetle)
    :30
    Deutsch, L.A.
    TO-BE-DETERMINED
    Chrysler
    n/a
    Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
    PepsiCo (Pepsi Max)*
    :30
    Consumer-generated
    PepsiCo (Pepsi Max)*
    :30
    Consumer-generated
    PepsiCo (Pepsi Max)*
    :30
    Consumer-generated
    PepsiCo (Doritos)*
    :30
    Consumer-generated
    PepsiCo (Doritos)*
    :30
    Consumer-generated
    PepsiCo (Doritos)*
    :30
    Consumer-generated
     
     

    NOTES: Chart is intended to reflect only spots set to air during actual game. Pregame, halftime and postgame spots are not included. * = Of the six consumer-created spots for Doritos and Pepsi Max, five spots will air some time during the first half and one will air during the second half.

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, NFL
  • Rodgers, Polamalu Could Cash In On Madison Ave. With Super Performances

    Rodgers is featured in this year's edition of the annual Super Bowl milk mustache ad

    Packers QB Aaron Rodgers "stands to gain the most from a Super Bowl ring -- as much as $3M a year in new endorsement deals," according to Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman in his pre-Super Bowl marketability report. With Patriots QB Tom Brady and Colts QB Peyton Manning "on the downside of their careers" and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger "a marketing pariah," advertisers "looking for the next big product-pitching QB could score" with Rodgers, who is featured in the annual Super Bowl milk mustache ad opposite Steelers WR Hines Ward. Steelers S Troy Polamalu's "marketing resume is the most impressive of any player" in this year's Super Bowl, and it "could grow another $1-3M by winning his third ring." Polamalu "appeals to a wide demographic, and could pitch anything." Meanwhile, Dorfman believes Roethlisberger's "public rehab is proceeding nicely, and would enjoy a big boost if he leads the Steelers to another Super Bowl victory." The general public is "still disgusted with Roetlisberger's sleazy past behavior, and will never adore him as before." But as Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Eagles QB Michael Vick "have shown, marketing redemption can be achieved." It will "take some time, but if Ben continues to succeed on the gridiron and behave like a gentleman off, someone will use him in an ad" (THE DAILY).

    RECOVERY MODE: The AP's David Crary noted Roethlisberger "has had a minimal presence in advertising since he was accused in March of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student -- the second time since 2008 that he faced assault allegations." Marketing experts indicated that his image "remains tarnished" nationally, and he "needs more time to rehabilitate it." Univ. of North Carolina Sports Communication Program Dir John Sweeney noted that Roethlisberger, even pre-scandal, was "never in Manning's league as a pitchman." He "won deals to represent a barbecue sauce, a Pittsburgh auto dealership and a beef jerky brand, although that company dropped him last year." He also "remains on the roster of athletes signed by Nike to wear its gear, although Nike confirmed it hasn't used him in recent advertisements." Sweeney: "When people talk about marketability with Ben, how far is he going to fall anyway? He's not a huge player in the huge sponsorship market, so there's not as much that's threatened." Former USOC CMO Rick Burton said Roethlisberger "may be more affordable, because he's in recovery mode, recovering his brand, his reputation." Burton: "Companies may look at him as a lot cheaper than if Peyton Manning was winning the Super Bowl" (AP, 2/3). 

    Print | Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, NFL, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • NFL Shop In Dallas Offers More Than 200,000 Super Bowl Merchandise Items

    The 30,000-square-foot NFL Shop has become fans' Super Bowl merchandise headquarters

    The NFL Shop at the Dallas Convention Center gives fans the “ability to browse anything you could think to slap a Super Bowl logo on,” according to Thomas Rozwadowski of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. The 30,000-square-foot league-sanctioned store features “more than 200,000 pieces of merchandise and 150 styles of Exclusive Stadium Collection products.” NFL Shop e-Commerce Dir Mike Denton said that “Cheeseheads and Terrible Towels have been imported for Packers and Steelers fans who didn't bring their own tools of the trade for Sunday's game.” The shop also “boasts exclusives such as jerseys with the official Super Bowl XLV patch and items from special in-store retailers like Mitchell & Ness vintage apparel, Victoria's Secret Pink, throwback clothing line Junkfood and Kitchen Concepts.” Denton said that kids' mementos are “hot sellers.” But the "biggest 'oohs' and 'ahhs' were saved for a corner area displaying player and custom fan figurines from a new licensee, iam3D.” Fans “enter a 3D booth to get their photo taken, and that imagery is transferred to various-sized sculptures complete with their name, number and favorite jersey colors.” The “flashy figurines -- $145 for a 4-inch personalized one, $250 for an 8-inch hand-painted one, and $399 for the 12-incher with shoulder pads, of which there are 500 of each player -- are shipped to customers in four weeks” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 2/4).

    SUPER SURGE: In Pittsburgh, Teresa Lindeman noted data from SportsOneSource two weeks ago showed the Steelers' “market share of all NFL licensed merchandise sales at 7.4 percent, far below the 28.4 percent share claimed by the New York Jets.” But SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell Wednesday said that the Steelers' “market share had surged” to 13.4% a week later. The Packers' market share two weeks ago “stood at 5.5 percent and rose to 9.9 percent after making it into the Super Bowl.” Total sales of NFL licensed merchandise hit $2.1B for the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, but the SportsOneSource data showed that that figure “was down more than 10 percent from a year ago when sales had dropped 25 percent from the previous year” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/3).

    Print | Tags: NFL, Football, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Financial Gains: Hunter Mahan Wearing Sun Life Mark On Cap At Phoenix Tour Stop

    Multiyear deal with Mahan is Sun Life Financial's first golf sponsorship

    Hunter Mahan is wearing a new Sun Life Financial mark on the side of his cap this weekend as he defends his title at the PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open. The multiyear sponsorship represents Sun Life's first deal in golf. Wasserman Media Group negotiated the agreement for Mahan, who won twice on the Tour last year. Sun Life will receive category exclusivity and the right to use Mahan’s name and likeness globally. The deal also includes personal appearances, a golf clinic and hospitality benefits. “We are extremely pleased to partner with an athlete and individual of Hunter’s caliber,” said Sun Life Senior VP/Marketing Priscilla Brown. “The sponsorship provides Sun Life with significant broadcast exposure that reaches a key demographic and an opportunity to connect with golf fans everywhere." The new deal with Mahan extends Sun Life's presence in sports. In January '10, the financial services group bought the naming rights to Sun Life Stadium and most recently it struck a deal with the Celtics.

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Golf
  • Marketplace Roundup

    The NHL Thursday announced a national ad campaign promoting the Feb. 20 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic. In the 30-second commercial, a camera pans across a frozen lake in Canada and shows signs of previous pond hockey games. Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent narrates portions of the Heinz Ross poem, “Alive In All We Are.” The English version of the spot is running in the U.S. and Canada on the CBC, TSN, NBC, Versus and NHL Network. RDS will air a French-language version of the ad, including during Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast. Both spots will continue to air on RSNs, in-arenas, NHL.com and social media platforms through the Feb. 20 game. The campaign includes print, radio, digital banners, in-store displays and social media platforms (NHL).

    SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Simon Houpt reports Dove’s Men+Care's new partnership with the NHL includes a pair of TV spots with NHL VP/Hockey & Business Development Brendan Shanahan and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock that follow the “journey toward discovering (their) own sense of personal comfort” (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/4). MARKETING magazine's Matt Semansky reported the Shanahan ad "debuted during CBC's broadcast of the NHL All-Star Game Sunday and was paired with a 30-second advertisement for Dove's Men+Care Body Wash." The Babcock ad will launch Feb. 20 during the Heritage Classic and "will run in tandem with a spot highlighting Dove's Men+Care anti-perspirant and hair care products." Ninety-second versions of both spots "will also run on NHL.com" (MARKETINGMAG.ca, 2/2).

    GLASS HALF FULL: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes IndyCar driver Paul Tracy “has been in contact with three teams -- KV Racing Technology, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Conquest Racing -- but said only Conquest owner Eric Bachelart is showing much interest.” Bachelart “hopes to soon receive commitments from sponsors, and Tracy, whose support comes from Honda Canada and Motegi Wheels, is optimistic he’ll be signed to a deal” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/4).

    HOT OFF THE PITCH: Uniform suppliers note that demand for new Chelsea F Fernando Torres home shirts is “currently 40% higher than when he arrived" at fellow EPL club Liverpool in '07. Shirt sales for new Liverpool F Luis Suarez are “380% more popular” than replicas for new Liverpool F Andy Carroll, but are “still trailing behind” Torres sales by 30 to one (MIRRORFOOTBALL.co.uk, 2/3).

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