SBD/November 11, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Top Rank Boxing Runs Parody Insert In USA Today Hyping Pacquiao-Marquez Bout

Top Rank parodied the Manila Bulletin, using a licensed reproduction of its masthead
Boxing promoter Top Rank broke ground Friday morning with an unprecedented four-page insert in USA Today that touts Saturday night’s Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez HBO pay-per-view bout with an interesting twist -- an Onion-like parody of the Manila Bulletin newspaper, replete with a licensed reproduction of the 111-year-old paper’s masthead and a massive “Paquiao For President?” headline, cast in red, gold and blue. The advertising insert, billed as a collector’s edition, runs in USA Today nationally, wrapped by an additional “Don’t Miss” teaser in papers distributed in N.Y., L.A. and Las Vegas. Top Rank and HBO, which collaborated on the project, spent in the mid six figures, including production costs. “I didn’t want to remain stuck in our traditional mindset of the full-page USA Today ad on the day before the fight,” said Top Rank President Todd DuBoef. “People talked about the Super Bowl ads because they were different. They surprised people. This is going to reach a lot of readers. And it’s going to surprise them.” DuBoef said the idea was born after he saw a similar insert HBO ran in the L.A. Times, saluting critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire with a mock edition of a Prohibition-era Atlantic City newspaper on the weekend of the Emmys. He approached HBO, asking its marketing department to help him execute something similar for Pacquiao’s next fight. Already planning to run a spread in USA Today, rather than the full-page Top Rank usually takes out for its major PPVs, DuBoef expanded to a four-page insert once he saw the idea had legs. The stories are topped by headlines that read like spoofs, such "Roach Clips, Nacho Chips," which run above observations from trainers Freddie Roach and Nacho Beristain. “The main thing is, it’s not what people are used to seeing,” DuBoef said. “You pick it up, and you wonder what the Manila Bulletin is doing in your USA Today. I think people will read it, and not just flip through it. I don’t think you can quantify how many more people buy (the PPV) because of it. But it adds to the awareness and, hopefully, it helps get mainstream sports fans excited.”
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