SBD/June 22, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Might As Well Jump: Kia Formally Announces Clippers F Blake Griffin As Spokesperson

Griffin's slam dunk used in Kia's print and TV ads beginning in February

Clippers F Blake Griffin famously jumped over a Kia Optima on his way to winning the NBA's Sprite Slam Dunk Contest in February, and today he was "named the pitchman for Kia Motors,” according to Chris Woodyard of USA TODAY. Kia, which is an NBA sponsor and “already had a partnership” with the Clippers, was “more than happy to supply the Optima” Griffin used during the dunk contest. The car company "quickly turned" the dunk “into print and TV ads.” Today’s announcement “formalizes Griffin’s role with Kia.” Kia Motors America VP/Marketing & Communications Michael Sprague said that “just as Griffin is being recognized as a rising star,” he hopes Kia is “seen the same way.” Sports Business Group Principal David Carter said Griffin’s stunt gave Kia “such a unique way to break through the clutter.” Strata President & CEO John Shelton said that Griffin “brings appeal with the youthful audience that Kia wants to reach, often people buying their first car.” Sprague: “I don’t think any of us (predicted) how great it would turn out to be” (USA TODAY, 6/22). Excel Sports Management, which represents Griffin, indicated immediately following the dunk contest that it was talking with Kia about expanding its partnership with the Rookie of the Year beyond just the one-time event (THE DAILY).

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