SBD/February 5, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Joe Flacco In Line For Endorsement Boon; But Could "Dull" Image Hurt Him?

Flacco (r) says he doesn't know if he will "ever be comfortable" with fame
Ravens QB and Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco was, for a day at least, "America's 'it' guy," and he seems "destined for a big payday in the NFL and in endorsements," according to a front-page piece by George & Wilson of the Baltimore SUN. JL Sports VP Tom Kleine, Flacco's marketing agent, said that six endorsement proposals "had flooded in before noon" yesterday, as well as "invitations to attend award ceremonies and appear on magazine covers." But the national spotlight "doesn't mean Flacco is guaranteed a lifetime of endorsement checks." He has made some recent "ill-advised public comments," and some say that he "needs to shake the perception that he is dull as he competes for endorsements with many charismatic NFL quarterbacks." Baker Street Advertising Senior VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said, "He's certainly a safe pick. ... He's a good-looking guy but nothing, again, terribly flashy that makes him stand out." Flacco last week struck a deal with Baltimore-based Haribo, and another of his current sponsors, Baltimore-based First Mariner Bancorp, yesterday "featured the quarterback on its website" (Baltimore SUN, 2/5). In Orlando, Shannon Owens writes under the header, "Joe Flacco Is NFL's New 'Dull' Star." Flacco is an "excellent quarterback and a terrible NFL star." His fans will "understand this as a compliment." Flacco "may not be the typical media darling whom corporations and media entities like to package and sell" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/5).

MR. PERSONALITY: ESPN’s Darren Rovell said it is "well-known in the marketing world” that Flacco is not the player with the “most personality.” The “interesting thing” is what brands Flacco will choose to endorse. Rovell: "There are going to be companies that will go after him and agents often tell you the line, ‘We’re being very selective.’ But from what I hear … is Joe is going to go after brands -- and this is serious -- that he really, really likes.” Rovell: “We’re going to see a lot of interest locally and bigger deals locally than traditional local deals are, and that’s certainly going to play itself out” (“Outside The Lines,” ESPN, 2/4). In Baltimore, Mike Preston writes Flacco after the Super Bowl victory seemed "bashful when he posed for pictures, almost embarrassed." Flacco said, "If you say there's going to be some kind of celebrity with it, I'm cool with that, but I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable with it" (Baltimore SUN, 2/5). Meanwhile, Flacco yesterday morning also announced that he and his wife, Dana, are "expecting their second child" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 2/4).

BROADWAY JOE: Flacco appeared on CBS’ “Late Show” last night and he said of getting to the show, “I came from New Orleans, Orlando and then from some airport in New Jersey.” He discussed his contract status -- he now is a free agent -- and said of talks with Owner Steve Bisciotti about a new deal, “Earlier in the year when I wasn’t signing what they wanted me to sign, he said, ‘Listen, when the time comes you can come and beat on my desk.’ I said, 'Alright, I’ll take you up on that,’ and I think the time has come.” Letterman noted the power outage during the third quarter of the game, asking, “Did you find that unnerving?” Flacco: “I just thought it was a little strange, it was kind of funny. Some of our guys had a good time with it … but we didn’t play too well afterwards.” Letterman asked whether he found the timing of the outage “suspicious” as the Ravens were leading 28-6. Flacco said, “Don’t get me started. My dad is a big conspiracy theorist so that’s the last thing we need to talk about.” Letterman asked, “Is that the kind of thing that John’s brother Jim might have been up to?” Flacco said, “That’s definitely something they would do” ("Late Show," CBS, 2/4).

GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT: In Baltimore, Steve Kilar notes the "demand for Ravens-related products is high." Sporting goods stores throughout metro Baltimore "opened just after the game as fans clamored for hats and shirts to wear Monday morning." Holabird Sports store manager Sol Schwartz said that customers yesterday morning were waiting for Ravens Super Bowl apparel "as it was being unloaded from trucks." He is telling customers to "check back for new items later this week because it takes a few days for some collectibles to be manufactured and delivered" (Baltimore SUN, 2/5). Meanwhile, Coca-Cola, the official soft drink of the Ravens, is releasing a limited-edition commemorative can to celebrate the team's Super Bowl victory. A limited number of Coke and Coke Zero cans will be released at select Baltimore and Eastern Shore area retail locations. Bud Light and Miller Lite also have released Ravens commemorative cans (THE DAILY). 
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