SBD/March 22, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Coca-Cola Adding Mandarin Ads To Madison Square Garden Courtside Signs

Coca-Cola exec said an MSG official approached company with sign idea
Coca-Cola is “adding advertisements in Mandarin to its rotating courtside signs at Madison Square Garden, seeking to capitalize" on what NBA Commissioner David Stern called an "unprecedented international frenzy” over Knicks G Jeremy Lin, according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. MSG Sports President Scott O’Neil said, “For us, those ads signify an open-for-business sign.” Coca-Cola North America spokesperson Susan Stribling said that an official at MSG “approached the company with the Mandarin-sign idea.” Stribling: “Given that the NBA is a global association for our company and that we do a lot of cross-cultural marketing around the NBA, we agreed.” Stribling said that the courtside signs “should debut in a couple of weeks,” and they will be “seen by television viewers as well as spectators in the arena.” She added that Coke “might also change advertisements in the Garden’s concourses.” Meanwhile, O’Neil said that Asian companies are “taking notice of the Knicks and the Harvard University-educated Lin.” Lin since his Feb. 4 debut has signed sponsorship agreements with Taiwan-based tire manufacturer Maxxis International and computer maker Acer. O’Neil said that he is “sending some employees to China in the next few weeks and will make the trip himself in April or May to solicit new sponsorship and marketing agreements.” He added that he “doesn’t foresee some of the pitfalls often encountered by companies seeking business partners in China.” O’Neil: “I don’t think anybody in the history of sports will have as easy a time getting in the door. Jeremy is our calling card” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/21). In N.Y., Marc Berman writes Lin is “helping the Knicks make tons of money on merchandising.” A “for Her’’ Linsanity line was created two days ago (N.Y. POST, 3/22).
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