SBD/February 20, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

RGIII Responds To Backlash After Adidas Launches "All In For Week 1" Campaign

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Redskins QB Robert Griffin III yesterday "made public assurances he won’t rush his recovery from knee surgery" after the launch of an adidas ad campaign promoting Griffin's goal of recovering in time for the start of the '13 NFL season, according to Rich Campbell of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Griffin yesterday posted a link to adidas' new ad, writing "I'm #allinforweek1." He then wrote on his Twitter feed, "Feel like I need to say this..Although my goal is to start Week 1, that doesn’t mean I will compromise my career to do so." An adidas spokesperson did not comment as to "whether the commercial was recorded before or after Griffin had surgery on Jan. 9" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/20). In DC, Mike Jones noted shortly after Griffin tweeted the link to the ad, Twitter "erupted in a flurry as followers wondered why the sports apparel company would push for Griffin to make such a speedy recovery when there are significant risks involved" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/19). BUSINESS INSIDER's Tony Manfred wrote the commercial "puts more pressure on RGIII to come back." Marketing Griffin as "a superhero has created a real-world incentive for him to come back from knee surgery as soon as possible, which might not be the best thing for him to do" (BUSINESSINSIDER.com, 2/19). ESPN's J.A. Adande asked, "Why put that additional pressure on himself?” Griffin should come back on his timetable and take a “hint from his fellow adidas stablemate,” Bulls G Derrick Rose, who is rehabbing a knee injury and “is willing to sit out the entire season and come back when he’s good and ready” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/19).

WHO IS IN CHARGE? Columnist Kevin Blackistone wondered who is "running the program" concerning Griffin's recovery -- adidas or the Redskins? Blackistone: "All of a sudden this seems like this is something programmed for a commercial to sell more adidas paraphernalia wrapped in this campaign about whether he can get back.” This comes after adidas last fall launched a campaign around Rose "that was all about him getting back, and he hasn’t come back yet." ESPN’s Pablo Torre said it is a "good thing when an athlete can capitalize on a horrible event" like blowing out a knee. However, Torre added, "Using the term ‘blow it up’ when you did just blow out your right knee maybe not the best marketing synergy there” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/19).
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