SBD/May 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Cam Newton Set To Become A Marketing Star Before Throwing One Pass In NFL

Newton to appear in upcoming national campaign for Under Armour
The Panthers took QB Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and he instantly became the city of Charlotte's “first nationally marketable star in a team sport since the early '90s,” according to Joseph Person of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Newton left the Univ. of Florida “under a cloud of controversy” and was “at the center of a NCAA investigation last fall” while winning the Heisman Trophy at Auburn Univ. But the allegations “did not scare off” Under Armour, which signed Newton to the "largest endorsement deal for an NFL rookie." Newton also reportedly is "expected to sign with GMC to endorse the automaker's SUVs and trucks.” IMG’s Carlos Fleming is “advising Newton on his endorsement deals.” UA has a sponsorship deal with Auburn, and UA Senior VP/Sports Marketing Matt Mirchin said, "We felt very comfortable with the type of people that Cam and his family are.” Person notes UA “plans to roll out its first TV commercials in August" featuring Newton with Patriots QB Tom Brady, swimmer Michael Phelps and skier Lindsey Vonn. The company will “follow that with a print ad picturing Newton next fall.” Mirchin said that Newton's UA deal “included the personal conduct clause that is standard in such contracts, but there was nothing spelled out in the event Newton is sanctioned retroactively.” Mirchin: "He's just a good kid. He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke. He doesn't run around." Marketing consultant Gary Stevenson said, "If I was advising Cam Newton, I'd tell him to maybe do one or two indigenous endorsements with a shoe deal or something like that. But other than that, I'd focus on being the best quarterback I could be and trying not to divert any attention away.” He added, "I'd say focus on being a great player first. You don't need other distractions. There's going to be plenty of other distractions being the No. 1 draft pick, all the pressure that's on you in Carolina because they think he's the savior. Just focus on playing the game" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/15).
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