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SBD/January 20, 2012/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch will split the '12 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule for Kyle Busch Motorsports, with Kyle "running 13-15 races and Kurt running 18-20 in a car with full-season sponsorship by Monster Energy," according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. Kyle Busch said that there were "several drivers considered to share the ride with him, but when Kurt became available, it didn't take long for Kyle to convince Monster to have a Busch brothers car." The Monster deal is a "multiyear deal with KBM, and Monster will also be an associate sponsor" on Busch's Sprint Cup Series car at Joe Gibbs Racing. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch admitted Joe Gibbs, who owns Busch's Sprint Cup team, is "not thrilled that KBM will compete against JGR for the Nationwide owners title" (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/19). The AP's Jenna Fryer noted although Richard Petty Motorsports Owner Richard Petty "indicated last week that Kurt Busch is currently untouchable because sponsors are hesitant to associate with him, Kyle Busch said he had no problems selling his brother to Monster." Kyle said, "When his opportunity came about, we collaborated on what we could do together and took it to Monster and they were like 'Hell, yeah, let's do this. Sign him on" (AP, 1/19). Kyle said that Monster "supported the move." Kyle: "Essentially, they said, 'We love your attitude.' It's not necessarily where we can (have similar outbursts as) before, but at Monster, they'll probably be a little more lenient (USA TODAY, 1/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg noted the brothers "donned matching Monster Energy shirts for the announcement." Because of the "arrival of Monster Energy as the team's sponsor, NOS, a competing energy drink, will no longer sponsor Kyle" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/19).
STEPPING INTO A NEW WORLD: ESPN.com's Paul Taublieb noted a "collection of world-class X Games stars and premier motorsports and action sports athletes welcomed Kyle and Kurt Busch to the Monster Energy team Thursday." With X Games and Dew Tour Champion Jamie Bestwick "serving as announcer, a freestyle moto-X demonstration kicked things off at the headquarters of team owner Kyle Busch's race shop in Mooresville, N.C." The Monster athletes on-hand had "no problem bridging the gap between traditional motorsports and action sports culture" (ESPN.com, 1/19).
Chevrolet is “releasing an app for mobile phones and tablets that it hopes will give it entree to consumers' social-media activity” during Super Bowl XLVI, according to Brian Steinberg of AD AGE. The Chevy Game Time app, which will become available by the start of the Giants-49ers NFC Championship game Sunday, "will pose trivia and poll questions on subjects including the game, teams and commercials.” Consumers who “answer trivia correctly or choose the most-common poll answer will be entered into drawings to win one of thousands of prizes from Chevrolet as well as Bridgestone, Motorola, the NFL and NFLShop.com, Papa John's Pizza and Sirius XM Radio.” Everyone who downloads the app “will also receive a unique ‘license plate’ number,” and fans whose numbers “match any plate in Chevy's Super Bowl spots will win a vehicle.” Chevy's Super Bowl app “also reflects marketers' desire to get the most out of the average $3.5 million that advertisers are paying for Super Bowl ad packages” (ADAGE.com, 1/19). In N.Y., Stuart Elliott wrote the app will “be promoted in a commercial during Sunday’s NFL playoff games in which Tim Allen, the announcer in Chevy spots, says, ‘Play along with the Super Bowl as we put the game in your hands.’” GM Global CMO Joel Ewanick said that the “goal of the app is to help viewers ‘find our commercials earlier’ and garner them attention both during and after the game.” Ewanick: “The more we can bring attention to the commercials -- everyone’s, not just ours -- the better.” Ewanick said that Chevy is “still deciding the models that will appear in its other spots in the Super Bowl.” The new Cadillac ATS “will be promoted in the Cadillac commercial.” Ewanick said the app needed the approval of the NFL because “this is the first time this has been done.” Chevy will also “sponsor the live stream of the Super Bowl on nbcsports.com” (NYTIMES.com, 1/19).
History Channel during NBC’s telecast of Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 “will air a promo for the unscripted series ‘Swamp People,’ which returns for a third season” on Thursday, Feb. 9, according to Anthony Crupi of ADWEEK. Sources said that History “paid in the neighborhood $3.5 million” for the ad, “putting it in line with NBC’s going rate.” This will be the “first time History has ponied up for a national Super Bowl spot.” The network last year “purchased a local ad” in the N.Y. and L.A. markets to promote one of its shows. While in-house network promos “are a familiar presence,” third-party networks “rarely get a chance at making a Super bowl buy.” Still, NBCUniversal “owns a 15 percent stake in History parent company A&E Television Networks” (ADWEEK.com, 1/19).THE DOG EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: ADWEEK's Tim Nudd reported Volkswagen is “taking no chances” with this year’s Super Bowl ad as it is "continuing the 'Star Wars' theme and adding another Super Bowl staple -- dogs! -- to the mix.” No one “must be feeling more pressure” than the automaker “given the intergalactic success of ‘The Force,’” their acclaimed spot from last year's game that has over 48 million views on Volkswagen’s YouTube channel. The teaser for this year, which first aired on ABC’s "The Middle" Wednesday, features a “canine chorus” barking out the "Imperial March." The company in a statement said, "This video is not part of the actual 60-second spot that will be aired during the game. The Bark Side teaser was created to hint toward some of the exciting elements and characters that will be in the Super Bowl spot" (ADWEEK.com, 1/19). In L.A., Meg James noted the teaser “has attracted more than 1 million views since going online Wednesday night.” Deutsch CEO Mike Sheldon, whose ad agency created both spots for Volkswagen, said, “It’s trending faster than ‘The Force’ did, and this isn’t even a Super Bowl ad” (LATIMES.com, 1/19). YAHOO SPORTS’ Chris Chase noted “none of this teaser will appear in the actual Super Bowl advertisement.” And judging by “early, positive reaction, that could be a mistake unless the ad agency has something even more special planned” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/19).
SEX KIND OF SELLS: USA TODAY’s Bruce Horovitz in a front-page cover story writes sexy ads “are slinking back to the Super Bowl.” Go Daddy Founder & CEO Bob Parsons, whose company is known for its risque ads, said, “Sex sells on the Super Bowl.” But Horovitz asks, “Or does it?” Researchers at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have found that “spots with sexual imagery take a 10% hit in ‘likability’ vs. ads without racy images.” While some of the biggest Super Bowl advertisers “have spent millions on ads that exude sexual imagery, most viewers actually prefer to see ads with kids or animals.” But there are signs that “they, and society, have moved beyond the societal prudishness that followed Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl halftime ‘wardrobe malfunction.’” In addition to Go Daddy's scheduled ads with NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and trainer Jillian Michaels, model Adriana Lima will “appear scantily clad in a Kia spot, and also in an ad for another Super Bowl advertiser that won't discuss it yet.” Online consumer voting “will determine if Doritos airs one with a guy whose wish is for three ‘hot, wild’ girls.” And, in a “nod to equal time for sexy images, clothier H&M will air a spot with soccer hunk David Beckham in his underwear” (USA TODAY, 1/20).
IT'S GOTTA BE THE SHOES: Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban will appear in Skechers' Super Bowl ad, and NBC's Jay Leno asked, “How does that come about? Do you go on auditions?” Cuban said, "I'm at the movie theater and this guy starts looking me up and down. ... It turns out he works for Skechers, noticed I was wearing Skechers and the next thing I know, I'm working on this commercial with a French beagle or something that was from the movie ‘Due Date’" ("The Tonight Show,” NBC, 1/19).
ALREADY LOOKING AHEAD TO '13: CBS said that it has “already sold a few spots in next year's Super Bowl.” CBS Senior VP/NFL Sales Tony Taranto said, "When you're the next guy up, the conversations start as early as possible with those you know are interested in the game and those you want to be interested in the game.” He added, "We've done that. We have concluded business already for next year's game with some advertisers." CBS President of Network Sales Jo Ann Ross said that the net “will seek a price increase over this year's sales.” Ross: "We're not rolling back pricing in the Super Bowl” (ADAGE.com, 1/19).
Sponsors and teams are putting the finishing touches on activation plans around Sunday’s NFL conference championship games. The Patriots host the Ravens in the AFC Championship game at 3:00pm ET, and the home team is giving away what are the first unsponsored NFL rally towels in memory. The Steelers' Terrible Towels, which pioneered the genre, have always been sold, rather than given away. Instead, the Pats are distributing commemorative towels for the game with the initials of Myra Kraft, the late wife of team Owner Robert Kraft. Myra Kraft died in July. In activation at nearby Patriot Place, a party at the CBS Scene restaurant and bar Friday will include ticket giveaways and a contest to find the best imitation of Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski’s football spike, with prizes in separate men's, women's and kids' categories, including game tickets and autographed memorabilia. A Facebook promo from CBS Scene and The Hall at Patriot Place in conjunction with Raytheon offers those “liking” the restaurant a chance to win an autographed jersey of LB Jerod Mayo. The Patriots are donating $0.10 to the Boston Boys & Girls Club for every new Facebook "like" they get up until game time up to $100,000. Other ticket giveaways were through Dunkin Donuts, local radio and those making purchases at the Patriots ProShop this week, were automatically entered to win tickets. In S.F., the 49ers are offering white “Rock the Stick” rally towels sponsored by U.S. Bank's FlexPerks rewards program and Derby of San Francisco outerwear. Fans are being encouraged to wear red and concession stands at Candlestick Park will offer up to a 50% discount between 1:30-2:30pm PT before Sunday’s 3:30pm game on food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Ravens RB Ray Rice, QB Joe Flacco or "even some lesser-known Raven will be poised to land deals" if the team beats the Patriots in the AFC Championship game Sunday, according to sports marketing experts cited by Lorraine Mirabella of the Baltimore SUN. Several Ravens players can be seen in the Baltimore area "making pitches for banks, pizza, car dealerships, and furniture and convenience stores, among others." That is likely to increase "regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game," but "highly lucrative national endorsements -- especially those unrelated to sports gear -- are harder to come by." Some marketing experts "see strong possibilities for a handful of players." Baltimore-based TBC Advertising Exec VP & Managing Dir Howe Burch said, "The guy with the most opportunity is Ray Rice." Burch and others said that Rice has a "compelling, against-the-odds story, good looks, charisma and an overachieving personality -- plus a record with companies such as Gillette." Burch said that LB Ray Lewis comes in a "close second in marketability, thanks to his longevity and leadership skills." Lewis has "proved himself in a series of Old Spice television commercials." Maroon PR President John Maroon said that Flacco and rookie WR Torrey Smith have the "biggest endorsement potential -- if they play well." Meanwhile, Mirabella reports if the Ravens play the 49ers in the Super Bowl, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and 49ers coach and younger brother Jim Harbaugh would "find themselves in the spotlight in a big way." Burch: "Brother versus brother. You could have interesting marketing coming out of that" (Baltimore SUN, 1/20).
UA CASHING IN: In Baltimore, Gary Haber reports regardless of the Super Bowl matchup, Under Armour is "likely to get plenty of air time during the Feb. 5 NBC broadcast." The company's roster of NFL endorsers includes Lewis, Patriots QB Tom Brady, Giants RB Brandon Jacobs and 49ers TE Vernon Davis. Many other players on each of the teams "remaining in the playoffs wear Under Armour's cleats or gloves." UA Baltimore-based ad agency GKV CEO Roger Gray said that the company "lucked out with this year's playoff lineup because three of the four teams remaining ... represent some of the biggest media markets in [the] country." The other, Baltimore, is "not among the largest media markets, but it's Under Armour's hometown." Execs "declined to comment on their pre-Super Bowl marketing plans." However, Aquarius Sports & Entertainment President Marc Bluestein said that UA will "likely try to capitalize on whichever team wins the Super Bowl by running congratulatory ads in the winning team's market and nationally." The company also "could incorporate its athletes in new ads talking about how wearing Under Armour gear helped them perform well in the big game" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/20 issue).
Nike introduced a "high-tech wristband Thursday that provides instant feedback and motivation along with a rich source of marketing data for the Oregon company," according to Charles Pope of the Portland OREGONIAN. Dubbed Nike+ FuelBand and unveiled at a "splashy production" in N.Y. emceed by NBC's Jimmy Fallon, the wristband "gives users a minute-by-minute accounting of how many calories they burn and steps they walk." Using proprietary software, it also has the ability to "compare a user's status with anybody else's." It broadcasts a person's status with a "spectrum of color ranging from red (failure) to green (success)," while yellow "indicates something in between." The device, which Nike will "sell for $149 is designed to sync automatically with an iPod or smart phone or computer, giving the user a detailed blueprint of activity levels and progress." It also allows users to "interact -- and compare -- with other users over Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms." Nike said that pre-sales in the U.S. "began Thursday but the device won't be delivered or on sale widely until Feb. 22." Foreign sales will come after that. Pope noted the wristband is a "major focus for the company's future growth, and a major push in what the company describes as the 'intersection of sport and data.'" Nike Brand President Charlie Denson said that the wristband is a "natural extension of the company's effort to combine shoes and apparel and other pedestrian products with high-tech devices that, together, will produce healthier people and profits." Denson and other Nike officials "dismissed potential concerns that the data could be misused." Denson: "We're providing feedback only on the data you provide us, which is your activity. It's not a data acquisition strategy" (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/19). Denson noted one of the things that technology "enables you to do is broaden the consumer experience and give the consumer a new and exciting set of services that can help define what the brand means to them." He added, "The experience here is the most important part and being able to provide that feedback literally on an immediate basis is what we're doing" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 1/19).
RISING STOCK: In Portland, Allan Brettman reports Nike's stock price "broke through the $100 barrier this week, in the process hitting a split-adjusted all-time high." It closed Thursday on the NYSE at $101.58. Weeks of marketing for the Nike+ FuelBand "preceded by a social media campaign inspired Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser in New York to reiterate his previous buy recommendation and set a target price of $110." Poser wrote, "Based on conversations with athletic specialty, sporting goods, and family footwear retailers, we are very confident that new line extensions, new technologies, and some retro offerings will continue to drive the double digit sales momentum through 2012 and into 2013" (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/20). At presstime, Nike shares were trading at $101.62, up 0.04% from Thursday's close (THE DAILY).
Tennis player Marcos Baghdatis during his second-round loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open Wednesday smashed four tennis rackets in a fit of anger, and Tecnifibre Project Manager Sebastien Grimaud said that "coverage of Baghdatis' meltdown resulted in 'a quite complex situation'" for the France-based racket company, according to Jeff Bercovici of FORBES.com. The company dropped its sponsorship of Baghdatis at the end of '11, but it "never publicly announced that it had parted way" with the 44th-ranked player. Tecnifibre is "no longer listed among the sponsors" on Baghdatis' personal website, though his "profile still credits 'Tecnifiber' as the maker of his racket and strings." However, the attention "is not necessarily all negative." Grimaud said, "This may have actually been some good marketing for our BtoB communications." Bercovici noted the company has "resisted cashing in on its former endorser's newfound notoriety." Grimaud: "It is not our job to worsen his situation" (FORBES.com, 1/19). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said, “I looked at this highlight now several times. I didn't see a logo. If you're the manufacturer and this guy’s trashing your racquets, you are angry." Wilbon: "What he's basically saying is, ‘I am blaming the equipment'" (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/18).
FOR A GOOD CAUSE: In Melbourne, Jon Ralph reports Australian Open officials have been "inundated with calls from organisations keen to sell off Marcos Baghdatis' smashed racquets for charity." No one with the event was "quite sure where the four racquets went after Baghdatis snapped four of them late on Wednesday night," but they are "hot property despite their mangled state" (Melbourne HERALD SUN, 1/20).