SBD/May 6, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pacquiao Signs Deal With Hewlett-Packard As Top Rank Hopes To Expand His Profile

Most of Pacquiao's endorsements have been limited to the Philippines
Top Rank has landed boxer Manny Pacquiao a "spot in Hewlett-Packard's upcoming campaign around its recently released tablet computer," according to Bill King of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Due to the "its broad line of products," HP has "struggled to find attractive endorsers who don't have conflicting deals." However, Pacquiao was "able to make the broadly structured HP deal work," as most of his endorsement contracts "have been limited to the Philippines." Top Rank Exec VP/Business Development & Marketing Lucia McKelvey said, "The brand alignment, to us, is unparalleled. ... We hope by executing and doing this one well, others will buy into it." King reports Top Rank "also recently closed a licensing deal for Pacquiao that will place his name and likeness on a line of vegetables" from San Antonio-based State Street Produce, which "grows in Mexico and distributes to restaurants across the U.S." McKelvey said that State Street "will rename its product 'Pacquiao's Produce,'" and will use his "name and likeness as it expands its distribution to retail outlets." Pacquiao's face "will appear on bags, boxes and delivery trucks." King notes the three-year deal will "net Pacquiao at least" $1M annually "based on previous sales levels" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/2 issue).

DEVELOPING A NEW BUSINESS PLAN: In N.Y., Greg Bishop reports Top Rank had "little experience in handling the endorsements of its boxers," so the company has "taken the unusual step of hiring an expert to consolidate" Pacquiao's marketing affairs. McKelvey "had no experience in boxing" prior to joining the company, but Top Rank and McKelvey "believe unchartered territory trumped the haphazard alternative." Pacquiao's endorsement strategy previously was "handled by anywhere between 30 and 50 friends." McKelvey said, "You name it, they were coming to him and saying, 'Sign this contract, sign this contract.' That made no sense." Bishop reports the strategy "came with real consequences." Pacquiao "lost a potential Gatorade endorsement," as well as an "appearance on an EA Sports video game cover." Pacquiao's portfolio in North America "has never matched his popularity," and McKelvey said that the "deals he had here and the way they were structured were comparable to a lesser-known LPGA golfer." Top Rank in February "sent letters to specific companies outlining its plans" for Pacquiao. McKelvey "wants to broaden Pacquiao's relationship with Nike," as Top Rank hopes deals Pacquiao has recently signed, such as the HP agreement, and a "more prominent Nike placement will lead more companies to follow suit." Bishop notes 19 Nike execs are "scheduled to attend" his bout Saturday against Shane Mosley (N.Y. TIMES, 5/6).
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