SBD/March 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Names & Faces: Zico Not Planning TV Ads For Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett not likely to be seen pitching Zico coconut water in TV ads
In Boston, Thomas Grillo reported fans should not expect to see Celtics F Kevin Garnett "pitching coconut water on TV ads," despite his new sponsorship deal with Zico. The coconut water brand's annual advertising budget is under $4M, "with most of that money going to free samples." Zico Founder & CEO Mark Rampolla said, "We’re a small company so we can’t afford to do any big campaigns." Still, Rampolla said that he "expects Zico to have $100 million in revenue by the end of the year and insists Garnett will play a big role in expanding the company" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/15).

GAIN ON SECOND DOWN: Eagles QB Michael Vick has "landed an endorsement deal with Lutte Licensing Group, maker and distributor of Core Synergy, a titanium-infused silicone wristband." This partnership comes after Vick in January signed a two-year contract with Unequal Technologies, "his first endorsement since a conviction on dogfighting charges" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/15). Vick joins Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey and Packers LB A.J. Hawk as representatives for Lutte Licensing Group (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/15).

ANDRE THE GIANT: ESPN.com's Jon Robinson noted former tennis star Andre Agassi remains "one of the most marketable and beloved players in the game today, even in retirement," which is why 2K Sports signed him as the cover athlete for its forthcoming title, "Top Spin 4." Agassi said, "It certainly feels good to be connected to the game in way that transcends to the next generation. That's why I wanted to get involved, to continue that connection to a sport that has given me a platform to do so much in my life. It's certainly one component of how I choose to do it, and seeing all of the other players who are involved, it's easy to understand why we're with such a great company that's able to communicate how we do what we do on the court. Watching it come alive is a fun thing" (ESPN.com, 3/14).

WAVE YOUR FLAG: New Era has announced Reds 1B Joey Votto, Rays CF B.J. Upton, D'Backs RF Justin Upton, Sabres G Ryan Miller and skateboarder Stevie Williams as its '11 lineup of "Flagbearers." The athletes will be featured in New Era's national ad campaign, which includes print, digital, outdoor ads, TV and non-traditional media (New Era). 

YOUR NAME HERE: In a Q&A with the GLOBE & MAIL's Richard Blackwell, Bauer President & CEO Kevin Davis discussed the importance of celebrity endorsements and said, "It is an important part of our business to make sure that the best players in the world want to use our products. It lends authenticity and credibility to the brand. Almost 70 per cent of the players in the NHL wear our skates, and we have endorsement relationships with some of those guys, because if you want someone to go to a photo shoot or meet some kids, it’s only fair that you have an endorsement relationship" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/14).

FINDING WORK: Packers RB Ryan Grant has "taken on a job as the new spokesperson" for the AFL Milwaukee Mustangs. Mustangs GM Jason Clark said that Grant "will be used in marketing and advertising materials" for the franchise, including radio commercials (JSONLINE.com, 3/14).
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