SBD/February 13, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

D-Rose "Loves" Injury-Related Ad, While Columnist Questions Role Of Adidas, WMG

Bulls G Derrick Rose said that he "loves the ad" that adidas released following his ACL tear last season, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. The brand put out a spot entitled "Wake Up," which showed the city of Chicago's reaction to the injury and his subsequent recovery. Rose said, "If you got injured and you wanted a commercial to come out, if you asked any other player or anyone in any type of sport to ask for a commercial, it would be a commercial just like that, where everything stops in the city and you (are) working hard to get back on the court." The "Wake Up" commercial was part of adidas' greater campaign centered around Rose entitled "The Return." The campaign was "bold and brilliant" and "captured the city's appreciation." adidas VP/Global Basketball Lawrence Norman said, "We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do. We knew we wanted to do something unique and something that had never been done in the industry before, which is showing the athlete when he's not on a pedestal but on the road to recovery." adidas Global Dir of Brand Communications Ryan Morlan and his team "came up with 'The Return' and began releasing commercials in a mini-documentary format, culminating with 'Wake Up.'" The "dramatic commercial unfolds with the city of Chicago coming to a glum standstill." Hawks G Kyle Korver, who played for the Bulls last season, said, "That commercial that you see every 10 minutes, that's really the way the city was. The whole city really was taken aback by it and really down, because of who he is and because of how he plays the game and how hard he works and because of how he treats people. All those things wrapped into one make Derrick Rose who he is" (USA TODAY, 2/13).

TOO CORPORATE? In Chicago, David Haugh writes Rose's comments in his interview with USA Today "raised questions that go beyond the stability of his knee." Questions about whether the "humble hometown hero from Englewood has gotten lost somewhere amid a corporate marketing campaign packaging him." Questions "about how much control the Bulls really have over a player they have invested" $95M in -- or $165M "less than adidas invested." Nothing that Rose "has said or done during his rehabilitation has happened by accident." adidas turned Rose's recovery "into a slick six-part commercial for its pitch man." Haugh: "When first reading Rose's quote Tuesday about 'not coming back until I'm 110 percent' I admit to wondering if those words would be part of an upcoming ad campaign, complete with Twitter hashtag: #110percent." The "broader issue involves how much influence" Rose's agent B.J. Armstrong and others at Wasserman Media Group "will wield in determining whether Rose returns in late February or March or waits to re-launch his career next fall" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/13).
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