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SBD/April 18, 2012/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
A week after Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen's public apology for recent remarks regarding Fidel Castro, "there are hints that his remarks have done some damage," as Miami-based Medicare health plan Preferred Care Partners has notified the Marlins that it "wanted the company’s signage removed from the stadium’s right-field wall 'until this situation runs its course,'" according to a front-page piece by Adam Beasley of the MIAMI HERALD. Preferred Care co-Founder & President Justo Luis Pozo sent a letter last Friday to the Marlins indicating the company's desire, a "serious reminder of the consequences of Guillen’s words." Pozo explained that Cuban-Americans "make up a strong share of the health plan’s membership, and many of them were wronged by what he called Guillen’s 'irresponsible and inconceivable conduct.'" The letter "did not specifically request a refund for the removed advertisements, and Pozo did say he hopes to work with the Marlins in the future." Preferred Care had previously agreed "to sponsor Josh Johnson bobblehead night, set for June 27." Last night's game against the Cubs was Guillen's first following his five-game suspension for his comments, and there was just "one lonely protester at the ballpark an hour before" the game. Perhaps Guillen’s "emotional mea culpa, along [with] his weeklong banishment from the Marlins’ clubhouse, was enough to satisfy the aggrieved." Beasley notes on the whole, the Marlins "have to be pretty pleased with how Guillen’s return was received." The "surprisingly light crowd didn’t break into any 'Fire Ozzie' chants, and there were no signs condemning the Venezuelan-born skipper in the stands" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/18). In West Palm Beach, Dave George notes there were "no boos or angry shouts when Guillen came into sight for batting practice, or later, when more fans were in the stadium for the start of the game." There was "little reaction of any kind aimed at Guillen" (PALM BEACH POST, 4/18).
REACHING OUT TO THE COMMUNITY: In Ft. Lauderdale, Juan Rodriguez reports the Marlins "plan to donate the wages Guillen lost during his suspension (about $150,000) to Cuban rights causes and other charities related to Cuban-Americans." Guillen also wants to be a "visible presence in the Cuban exile community and make it known he's 100 percent behind them" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/18). USA TODAY's Paul White notes the "emotional reaction still runs deep in the Little Havana section that surrounds the new stadium." Marlins President David Samson said that the team "hadn't lost any sponsors" as a result of Guillen's comments. Samson said, "He's here to win games. It's not marketing. It's not sales. It's to win games. Let's win games and see what happens after" (USA TODAY, 4/18).
SHOWING SELF RESTRAINT: In Ft. Lauderdale, Mike Berardino writes, "It would be a shame if baseball's first self-styled shock manager suddenly started trying to pattern himself after Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter." That is "not going to happen, not in this lifetime, but it was a chastened Guillen who promised to watch his step upon his return." He talked yesterday about "putting himself on 'probation' to make sure his sharp tongue doesn't get him in trouble again." Berardino: "Or worse, embarrass the franchise" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/18).
The Polo Ralph Lauren outfits that members of the U.S. Olympics team will wear during the London Games Closing Ceremony were unveiled this morning, and team members will be “decked out in all white,” according to the AP. Women will wear a “white blouse and a knee-length white skirt with a silk belt in red, white and navy and matching silk scarf tied at the neck.” Men will have a “white cotton sport shirt and white trousers, also with a red, white and navy striped silk belt” (AP, 4/18). The outfits were modeled on NBC's "Today" this morning by taekwondo fighters Diana and Steven Lopez. NBC's Al Roker said the “crisp white blouse” worn by Diana Lopez featured the USOC crest and a “bigger pony.” Meanwhile, swimmer Rebecca Soni, gymnast Aly Raisman, water polo player Tony Azevedo and decathlete Bryan Clay modeled the USOC “village wear.” NBC's Savannah Guthrie noted, “They’re customizable so you ... can put your name on them, you can really personalize them” ("Today," NBC, 4/18).
IOC TOP sponsor McDonald's yesterday announced that its Olympics-based “Champions of Play” program, the QSR's "largest global kids initiative to date," is "built around physical activity and nutrition," according to Emily Bryson York of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. A website “goes live June 4, with a preview launching” today. McDonald’s has “signed up a number of well known athletes” -- including U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson, basketball player Dwight Howard and swimmer Dara Torres, as well as Italian canoer Antonio Rossi and Brazilian swimmer Fernando "Xuxa" Scherer -- to “help motivate the kids and participate in chats.” Up to 200 of the participants "will be selected from 34 [countries] to attend the Games with an adult, go behind the scenes at Olympic venues and meet athletes from their home countries.” Some participants also will “blog about their experiences” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/18).
HAPPY TOYS: The GUARDIAN’s Owen Gibson noted McDonald’s plans to give away 9 million "'activity toys' with its Happy Meals aimed at children” as part of a "Mascotathon" campaign. The toys will measure “how many steps or jumps the recipient makes in a day, with children encouraged to log on to an online game that translates their actions into energy for Games mascots Wenlock and Mandeville.” A second wave of activity during the Olympics “will give away vouchers for free sport sessions as part of a marketing strategy that will aim to counter criticism" of QSR's involvement with the event. McDonald’s said that its campaign, promoted by “a regional tour by the London 2012 mascots around its outlets, would have a positive effect on children's health” (GUARDIAN, 4/17). The mascots will “carry out a three-month regional tour of McDonald's restaurants across the UK, starting this weekend” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 4/16).
The London Games Opening Ceremony is 100 days away, and several companies are marking the occasion by touting their upcoming campaigns.
BMW: USOC sponsor BMW has launched a national fundraising campaign called BMW Drive for Team USA that invites consumers to retailers to test drive one of five different BMW 3 Series models. For every participant who test drives a vehicle at the event, BMW will donate $10 to Team USA, for a maximum donation of $200,000. BMW North America is also launching an integrated marketing campaign around the London Olympics and Paralympics for its roster of 11 athletes that make up the BMW Performance Team U.S. (BMW).
BMW PERFORMANCE TEAM U.S.
Ricky Berens Swimming Matt Chrabot Triathlon Bryan Clay Track & Field Natalie Coughlin Swimming Janet Evans Swimming April Holmes Paralympic Track & Field Jonathan Horton Gymnastics Clay Johson Sailing Sanya Richards-Ross Track & Field Evelyn Stevens Cycling Mallory Wegemann Paralympic Swimming
KELLOGG: Kellogg Co. today unveiled a campaign that focuses on how U.S. Olympic athletes get their starts. At the USOC sponsor's dedicated Olympic site, consumers can watch a series of "Start Story" videos featuring Kellogg's U.S. Olympic endorsers: table tennis player Michael Landers, long jumper Dwight Phillips, swimmer Rebecca Soni, track & field Paralympian Casey Tibbs, soccer player Juan Agudelo, beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh and gymnast Jordyn Wieber (Kellogg Co.).
OAKLEY: USOC sponsor Oakley last night launched its Beyond Reason campaign with U.S. decathlete Bryan Clay and artist Natalie Frank premiering a specially-commissioned art piece. Oakley in its campaign will partner its roster of Olympic endorsers with artists from around the world. In addition to Clay, the brand also sponsors Walsh, U.S. sprinter Lolo Jones, British cyclist Mark Cavendish, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, Australian cyclist Cadel Evans and Spanish triathlete Javier Gomez (Oakley).
COCA-COLA: MEDIAPOST’s David Goetzl reported IOC TOP sponsor Coca-Cola is "heating up its marketing efforts for this summer’s Olympics, versus its reach four years ago.” In advance of London, the company will “expand its initiatives to nearly 100 markets, up from 36" during the '08 Beijing Games. Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said efforts will focus heavily on “recruiting teens by tapping into emotional passion points like sports and music.” He added platforms will broadly involve “leveraging content, experiences and conversations” and that social media “will play a part” (MEDIAPOST.com, 4/17).
HEINEKEN: MARKETING magazine’s Gemma Charles noted Heineken will “focus on responsible drinking as part of its Olympics sponsorship activity.” The brand this week unveiled “Holland Heineken House” as the “official hub for the Netherlands Olympic Committee at Alexandra Palace in North London.” Heineken Global Activation Manager Hans Erik Tuijt said that the brewer “will draw back from running marketing activity around family events and focus on sports with links to drinking occasions” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 4/17).
The UFC will be "sponsoring Jon Jones for his fight at UFC 145 against Rashad Evans,” according to Damon Martin of MMA WEEKLY. It is “no different than any other clothing deal because the UFC is not only the top MMA promotion in the world, but they also have their own apparel line, which includes shirts, shorts, gloves and other products.” For his fight, Jones will be “decked in head to toe in UFC gear, pushing their brand instead of another company.” Jones said of UFC, “They realized I’m a company guy and they decided to sponsor me. They put in the deal that if any mainstream companies come after this win that they will let me go.” Martin noted prior to UFC 145, Jones’ major apparel sponsor “was the now defunct company, Form Athletics,” which “closed up shop late last year." That left Jones "without a set clothing sponsor” (MMAWEEKLY.com, 4/13). ESPN.com’s Chad Dundas wrote “depending on how you look at it, this is either very strange or very fitting news.” On one hand, if there is “one athlete in this sport that investors, corporate sponsors and the UFC itself should look to hitch their wagons to," it is Jones. Since the UFC has “already very much put itself in the Jon Jones business as of late,” perhaps it is “not that big of a leap for the organization to slip him a few more bucks to wear UFC brand apparel to the Octagon on Saturday.” But others might note “a developing problem of public perception here,” especially if Evans is “not also sponsored by the fight company.” Dundas: “Sponsoring Jones -- or any fighter -- only further blurs the line of what the UFC actually is and how it views its own place in the MMA landscape” (ESPN.com, 4/16).
The combined value of EPL kit deals has hit $143.6M (all figures U.S.) this season, making it the most lucrative market in European football in that area, according to research by Sport+Markt. The ‘12 European Football Kit Supplier Report showed that EPL clubs averaged $7.2M in revenue from kit deals in ’11-12, compared to an average of $4.3M across Europe’s top five leagues. There are now 28 different equipment brands active in the “big five” leagues -- covering England, France, Italy, Germany and Spain -- and Warrior’s multi-million pound deal with Liverpool also begins next season. Overall, adidas and Nike account for 44% of the total money spent by equipment manufacturers (Sport+Markt).
MEN ARE FROM MARS: MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds reported Mars has “launched its Euro 2012 TV ad,” which features EPL players Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker. The ad, via Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, was shown for the first time during Sunday’s Chelsea-Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup semifinal match on ITV. It is “set around a tense England penalty shootout with the Premier League's top goal-scorer Van Persie getting ready to take a penalty as England's keeper is carried off the pitch with a knee injury” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 4/16).
GEOGRAPHY LESSON: In Houston, Brent Zwerneman wrote on a T-shirt that has “since apparently been pulled from the racks, Aggieland Outfitters included the state of North Carolina on a map meant to represent the old SEC.” AO issued “a mea culpa on its website Tuesday” (CHRON.com, 4/17). The maroon shirt has an SEC logo “emblazoned on a mapped section of U.S. states, ostensibly representing members of the league.” But North Carolina, “which does not have a team in the conference, is included and Missouri is not.” Missouri and Texas A&M are both leaving the Big 12 for the SEC this year. The state of Texas “is on the back of the shirt, not the front.” AO Marketing Dir Dallas Shipp said that “only ‘a few dozen’ shirts were printed and they’ve been taken off the shelves and the company’s website” (AP, 4/17).
FINDING THE RIGHT TONE: In N.Y., Lindsay Goldwert reported model Miranda Kerr is “lending her fit curves to Reebok for their latest 3-D ad campaign for its EasyTone athletic shoes.” The ad will appear in Munich and the “full scope of Kerr’s curves can be seen with the aid of 3-D glasses.” The brand also “hired beauties like Kim Kardashian, supermodel Helena Christensen and actress Eva Mendes to sell the toning shoes” (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 4/17).