Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
SBD/September 5, 2012/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Pizza Hut is "launching two ads starring" Packers QB Aaron Rodgers that “may air as soon as" tonight during the season-opening Giants-Cowboys game on NBC, according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Rodgers will help kick off Pizza Hut's new Big Dinner Box, “described as an ‘epic-sized box’ filled with two medium rectangular one-topping pan pizzas, five breadsticks and the choice of four Stuffed Pizza Rollers, one pan of Tuscani Pasta or eight wings.” The ads, which “aim to tap into Rodgers' dry sense of humor,” will run "throughout the rest of the season.” The Pizza Hut deal, terms of which were not disclosed, gives Rodgers "another top-line firm in his endorsement portfolio.” Rodgers also has national deals with Ford, State Farm, Nike and Associated Bank, while he “appears with attorney David Gruber in ads for the Gruber Law Firm” that air in the Milwaukee market (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/4). ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell wrote Pizza Hut’s use of Rodgers is “a move the pizza brand hopes will steal some thunder away from rival Papa John's, which has the official NFL sponsorship” (ESPN.com, 9/4). Dolphins RB Reggie Bush starred in Pizza Hut commercials last season (THE DAILY).
HEALTH CLASS: In Green Bay, Richard Ryman noted Rodgers has a deal with Wisconsin-based Prevea Health and he is appearing in a new "Join Aaron" promotion this fall that supports "healthier lifestyles." Prevea President & CEO Dr. Ashok Rai said interactive, life-size Rodgers cut-outs "will appear in a number of locations throughout the Green Bay and Sheboygan areas," including in restaurants, retail stores and local businesses. Rai: "Each encourages people to 'Join Aaron' in a wellness-focused activity. Then have a friend snap a picture of you with Aaron, and upload it to our web site." He said of Rodgers' involvement with the campaign, "Aaron has partnered with Prevea Health to promote health and wellness within our community. As part of this wellness campaign, he posed for photos showing a variety of healthy activities, and he also serves as Prevea Health’s new spokesman promoting wellness in TV and radio commercials, and on the website" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 9/3).
Patriots QB Tom Brady is appearing in a new ad campaign for footwear and fashion company UGG Australia, which is "trying to build on the success of its women’s line and expand into the men’s footwear market," according to Dan Adams of the BOSTON GLOBE. The company is "famous for its ubiquitous sheepskin boots," but the new campaign, which debuted earlier this week, will feature Brady "wearing various shoes from the UGG for Men line." The campaign contains a combination of "television, digital, print, and outdoor ads." The debut TV spot is called "Invisible Game" and shows Brady "catching an imaginary football thrown by a young fan at the airport." Passengers and airport employees "soon get in on the make-believe game." Brady "steps back, evades pressure, and finally throws an imaginary Hail Mary pass that the boy catches for a touchdown." This is the "second go-round for Brady and UGG Australia." An initial campaign that began last year "was less football-centric than the new spots, which are aimed squarely at men." UGG Australia President Connie Rishwain said that "sales of the company’s men’s products have grown over the past year." She "attributed that growth in part to Brady." Rishwain did not disclose terms of Brady’s deal, but said that it was a multiyear contract "that lets Brady order UGG shoes for himself, his family, and his teammates" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/4).
GAME-WINNING DRIVE: In Detroit, Brent Snavely notes Chrysler tonight during NBC's broadcast of Cowboys-Giants will "launch its second wave of Dodge Dart advertising." The 30-second spot "builds on a 90-second commercial that debuted in July with another short cameo appearance" by Brady. The commercial will be seen "during major sporting events, including professional and college football games as well as baseball playoffs" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/5).
To kick off the first season of its new 10-year sponsorship deal with the NFL, PepsiCo "will be deploying more NFL displays than ever before and highlighting blue can Pepsi,” according to Natalie Zmuda of AD AGE. One “key difference with the new deal is the expansion to include five of the company’s trademarks, up from three.” Tropicana and Quaker Oats were “added to the lineup, which already included Pepsi, Gatorade and Frito Lay.” PepsiCo expects to have 23,000 NFL displays "in market at the start of the season.” PepsiCo Senior VP/Global Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms said that the company’s research with the NFL “proves customers are more likely to purchase PepsiCo products when they display, or are associated with, NFL marks.” For example, in the Pittsburgh market, Pepsi Max "will debut a limited-edition can featuring the Steelers.” Zmuda noted the company “is working with 50 top customers on customized in-store promotions.” Of the NFL's 32 teams, 22 “partner with PepsiCo.” In a shift, blue can Pepsi "will again be at the forefront this season, a place filled by Pepsi Max the last two years.” Pepsi VP/Marketing Angelique Krembs said that the company “aims to highlight its ‘Live for Now’ campaign, launched in May.” Meanwhile, Zmuda noted Pepsi also is “the official sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and is introducing the Pepsi NFL Anthems program.” That program “includes anthems from Kelly Clarkson, Travie McCoy, Ice Cube and Kid Rock honoring their favorite teams.” Krembs said that Pepsi Max “would continue to be involved in more targeted NFL programs and the Pepsi Max driver would remain a part of the brand's advertising.” Meanwhile, Doritos is “expected to 'Crash the Super Bowl' for a 7th straight year,” and Tropicana is “expected to join the fray in the latter part of the season” (ADAGE.com, 9/4).
KID & PLAY: Pepsi's Quaker Oats unit is leveraging its NFL ties this season with a sweepstakes that offers a top-prize winner the right to run the game ball onto the field before the start of Super Bowl XLVII. Aiming at six- to 13-year-olds and their moms, the contest asks consumers to go to a website and join the NFL's Play60 initiative, which is attempting to fight childhood obesity by encouraging children to get 60 minutes of exercise daily. Marketing support from the NFL's official hot cereal sponsor includes web video from Colts QB Andrew Luck and POS (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY).
Bud Light is relying on fan-centric marketing to support the second year of its NFL leaguewide sponsorship. In addition to the massive fantasy football promotion announced last month that will be carried on nearly 1 billion bottles and cans of America’s top selling beer brand, A-B has new fan-centered ads and a series of packing and promotional initiatives kicking off with the season. Last season, brand measures and awareness of the sponsorship were up dramatically and A-B wholesalers ordered enough NFL-themed POS to make it the most supported retail program ever. Still, Bud Light VP Mike Sundet said there was an additional opportunity to use NFL rights to bond with fans by showing an understanding of what NFL fans experience. “Frankly, we struggled to integrate Bud Light into the [NFL on-field] action in a fun sort of way. … By creating our own fantasy football league we think (it is) an opportunity to better connect fans and Bud Light drinkers.” Sundet cited a new ad from AOR Translation highlighting a myriad of fan superstition, from rubbing a rabbit’s foot, to wearing lucky socks, arranging beer cans in a certain pattern in the refrigerator and averting eyes from a crucial play-at least until it is executed successfully. “Every fan has rituals, we’re just trying to be part of that," said Sundet. NFL packaging is also a huge initiative. More than 250 SKUs of Bud Light have been converted to NFL-themed packaging, with team-specific packaging in 20 markets and the NFL shield in the other 12 markets. A sweepstakes supported by POS, radio and digital media offers a top prize of two regular-season tickets to an NFL team's games for life.
Joe Gibbs Racing yesterday formally announced that Matt Kenseth has signed with the team to drive the No. 20 Sprint Cup Series Toyota with sponsorship from Dollar General and The Home Depot starting in '13. The car's current driver, Joey Logano, yesterday announced he has signed a multiyear deal with Penske Racing to drive the No. 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford sponsored by Shell and Pennzoil next season (THE DAILY). In Charlotte, Jim Utter wrote JGR had "hoped to retain Logano but did not have a full-time Cup ride to offer him" for the '13 season. Sam Hornish Jr. currently drives the No. 22 car for Penske "on a temporary basis, after former driver A.J. Allmendinger was released after being suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for failing a random drug test" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/4). USA TODAY's Nate Ryan writes Kenseth "still has trouble envisioning himself in the No. 20 car." Kenseth said, "When I still see that car on the track in Home Depot colors, I still think of [NASCAR driver Tony Stewart]. Tony made that car famous." Ryan notes Logano "was offered a chance to stay at Gibbs with a full-time Nationwide schedule and part-time Cup slate but chose a fresh start next season in Penske Racing's No. 22" (USA TODAY, 9/5). ESPN.com's David Newton wrote the changes "speak to the still saddened state of the NASCAR economy." Five years ago, sponsors "would be standing in line to sign a driver with the qualifications of Kenseth." Kenseth said, "I've never got to the last year of my contract. I really felt like winning the Daytona 500, I felt really good about everything we had going on over there. I felt like that was going to be the time, we were going to get the thing re-signed and get a sponsor signed. We had a lot of momentum and all that, and for whatever reason that didn't happen" (ESPN.com, 9/4).
UP IN SMOKE: USA TODAY's Ryan in a separate piece noted Stewart-Haas Racing's "sponsorship hunt deepened Sunday when it was announced Office Depot wouldn't return as a primary backer" of Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet. The office supply retailer "has been a co-primary sponsor of Stewart since the 2009 season," when Stewart became a co-owner of the team. Office Depot is the primary sponsor of 22 Cup races in '12, with Mobil 1 "as the primary of the other 14." Mobil 1 "will return in 2013, but the team will need to fill a void for the majority of Stewart's races." That "might mean a patchwork quilt of sponsorship for Stewart that is similar to teammate Ryan Newman, who has eight primary sponsors rotating on his No. 39 Chevy." SHR also is "trying to find a 2013 replacement for the 14 races backed by the U.S. Army, which announced earlier this season it wouldn't be returning after four seasons with Newman." Newton noted Stewart "was used frequently by Office Depot in national advertising campaigns and in charitable visits to schools" (USATODAY.com, 9/3).
NAPA KNOW-HOW: The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's Utter on Saturday noted Michael Waltrip Racing on Friday announced that driver Martin Truex Jr. and sponsor NAPA "had both signed three-year contract extensions." Truex and teammate Clint Bowyer are "set to become the first drivers in MWR's six-year existence to qualify for the Chase" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/1). The AP's Paul Newberry noted NAPA "has a long history sponsoring NASCAR and decided to stay on board in a major role, rather than a part-time deal that would've required Waltrip to seek additional backing" (AP, 8/31).
DRIVER FOR HIRE: SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass reported driver Elliott Sadler "won't return to Richard Childress Racing next season" to run in the Nationwide Series. Team Owner Richard Childress on Sunday said that Sadler "has decided to leave the organization." A JGR spokesperson said that JGR "has no deal to announce with Sadler." However, Pockrass noted JGR is the "most likely destination if Sadler wants to remain in a top-tier Nationwide ride" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 9/2).
Under Armour is “setting its sights squarely on the women’s market” as the company yesterday unveiled its “first multimedia marketing campaign targeting women, with the tag line ‘No Matter What, Sweat Every Day,’ according to Jean Palmieri of WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY. UA Senior Dir of Women’s Marketing Adrienne Lofton-Shaw said that the company “began to get serious about women’s wear about three years ago and spent the past 24 months making sure the product was right.” She said, “We’ve marketed to women before, but this is the first full-on campaign. We decided 2012 was the year we’d turn the light on. This is our coming-out party.” Palmieri noted the ads, “which were developed in partnership with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, feature female athletes in a variety of sports including running, spinning and yoga.” The 60-, 30- and 15-second spots will “run on broadcast stations such as Bravo, E, VH1 and ABC Family.” In addition to the commercials, which will run through mid-October, UA will “kick off the second installment of its ‘What’s Beautiful’ digital competition to ‘redefine the female athlete’” (WWD.com, 9/4). In Baltimore, Chris Korman notes the new marketing efforts “arrive about a month before a new high-end collection called StudioLux Noir hits stores.” Lofton-Shaw said that in addition to TV ads, social media “would be the primary way Under Armour tries to reach consumers.” Korman notes UA is “making heavy use of Twitter … because of the high level of feedback they can receive.” Lofton-Shaw said that women’s apparel accounts for “about 30 percent of sales” for UA (Baltimore SUN, 9/5).
Connecticut-based casino Mohegan Sun has "cut ties" with the Penn State football program, as its Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will "no longer advertise" inside PSU's Beaver Stadium, according to Christopher Heine of ADWEEK. The announcement came prior to PSU's season-opening game Saturday against Ohio Univ. Mohegan Sun joins State Farm in ending its sponsorship of the PSU football team following the release of the Freeh Report, which documented the school's shortcomings in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. However, local advertisers are "remaining loyal to the university." Pennsylvania-based grocery chain Weis Markets and Pittsburgh-based insurance agency Highmark both indicated that their "longstanding advertising relationships with Penn State will continue" (ADWEEK.com, 8/31).
TRYING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Kris Maher noted PSU aired a promo during ESPN's broadcast of the Ohio game that featured "students, professors and alumni emphasizing the school's focus on teaching, research and service." The video is "part of a broader 'Faces of Penn State' campaign that will highlight students, faculty members and alumni on posters and the Internet." However, officials behind the PR push said PSU "needs to tread carefully: It shouldn't appear to be trying to bury or minimize" the Sandusky scandal. Richard Edelman, whose PR firm is "guiding Penn State's image campaign, told trustees that the university should avoid a national goodwill advertising campaign." Edelman said, "There will be more criticism for us if we try to advertise our way out of this crisis." He did add that the school "should stop playing defense." Edelman: "Now is the time to pivot" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/1).
COSTS ADDING UP: In Pittsburgh, Debra Erdley reports PSU's costs for "legal counsel and consultants related to the Sandusky scandal" were $16.7M as of June 30. Costs included $9.97M for the school's investigation led by Louis Freeh (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/5).
Michael Phelps has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with the headphone company Sol Republic. Phelps wore Sol Republic headphones on the pool deck before swimming at the U.S. Olympic Trials and the London Games. Financial terms of the agreement were not available. Sol Republic plans to release a Phelps-inspired headphone that the Olympian will promote. The company also is selling headphones Phelps wore in the Olympic Trials and Olympics on eBay. Proceeds from those eBay sales will benefit the Michael Phelps Foundation. Sol Republic also has an endorsement deal with pro surfer Julian Wilson. Like Wilson, Phelps will be considered a member of Sol Republic’s “Saviors of Sound,” a group that includes DJs and indie rock bands that the headphone company has partnered with. Phelps’ agent Peter Carlisle, head of Octagon’s Olympic & Action Sports division, said that talks with Sol Republic began earlier this year. Phelps met with Sol Republic’s founders prior to the Olympics and connected with the founders because he listens to a lot of the DJs that Sol Republic works with. Carlisle said, “He wants to be marketed with these guys. The way they do it he thinks is pretty cool.” It is the second Phelps deal that has been announced since the Olympics. He also signed an agreement with Louis Vuitton. Carlisle said he continues to work on deals in the beverage and golf categories for Phelps (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal). ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported by wearing the headphones on the pool deck, Phelps "garnered great exposure for the brand, until the last few races" when the IOC forced him to "cover up the name with tape." Phelps wore Bose headphones at the '04 Athens Games and white Apple headphones during the '08 Beijing Games, but he "never signed a deal with those companies" (ESPN.com, 9/4).
Fans at the U.S. Open this year for the first time can “buy tennis balls used in specific matches that have been authenticated and sealed for their protection,” according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Fans at both the Open and Wimbledon have “been able to buy tennis balls used at their tournaments for some time,” but “the process of authenticating tennis balls from specific matches is time-consuming and labor-intensive.” The USTA “formed a partnership with the MeiGray Group, which handles game-used collectibles for the NBA, the NHL and other leagues.” The “most appealing balls are those that look worn.” The USTA and MeiGray “declined to disclose how they plan to share the revenue from their venture, and they did not know how much money they would raise, because the market for these collectibles is new.” MeiGray Group President Barry Meisel said that the pricing -- $29.99 for balls "from lesser matches up to $59.99 or more for matches with top players -- was a work in progress” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/5).
GETTING ‘LO: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Daniel Kaplan reports Japan-based apparel company Uniqlo “wants to expand aggressively" in the U.S. and is "searching for more athletes to add to its stable.” The company currently sponsors tennis players Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori, but Uniqlo USA Division CEO Shin Odake said, “We are actively looking for more partnerships because it is a very good way to convey our brand.” Kaplan notes Uniqlo has three stores in N.Y. and “plans to open a fourth American store in a few weeks at the Garden State Plaza mall in New Jersey and another store later this fall in San Francisco” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/3 issue).
LEAVING HIS MARK: Andy Roddick is playing in his last tournament before retiring, and ESPN's Luke Jensen Friday reflected on Roddick's impact on tennis in the U.S. and on his racquet manufacturer, Babolat. Jensen said, “He was the one who was given the torch to carry American tennis on the men’s side. He really revitalized the game here. ... Also the global game of tennis. His racquet manufacturer, which is also his shoe manufacturer, was never really around. They were a string company.” Jensen added, “He made that racquet company so big, they’re the number one company on the planet with kids. They all want to hit hard like Andy Roddick. They got lightning in a bottle with this kid. He really revolutionized an entire industry because of the way he played and he was cool to kids. Right after that, Rafael Nadal sprung up with the same racquet manufacturer and it really took off” (“U.S. Open,” ESPN3, 8/31).
THIS SPACE FOR RENT: During a rain delay at the U.S. Open last night, the grounds crew came out using smaller versions of the Zamboni to dry the court. ESPN’s Brad Gilbert said, “Explain to me with the guys on the little Slambonis, what’s with the lab coats ... and where’s the sponsor element? Why is it not ‘Brought to you by’ somebody?” ESPN’s Hannah Storm noted, “Perhaps they weren’t hoping for quite this much airtime.” The broadcast showed a close-up of the white jumpsuits worn by the “Court Tech” grounds crew and ESPN’s LZ Granderson said, “Ralph Lauren does all of the clothes for Wimbledon, maybe he can kind of hook us up over here and jazz up our outfits a little bit” (“U.S. Open,” ESPN2, 9/4).