SBD/March 28, 2013/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Tiger Woods is the favorite to win the Masters next month after returning to the top position in the World Golf Rankings, and Nike with its controversial new ad "wants to make sure as many people know about it as possible," according to Mark Purdy of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Purdy: "Mission accomplished." The ad was released following Woods' win Monday in the PGA Tour Arnold Palmer Invitational, and Purdy writes, "I think we can see what's going on here." It is hard to think Woods "does not get the final say on what Nike does." However, it is "possible that Woods meant the quote strictly in relation to his game and that Nike happily used it to imply a broader context" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/28). The N.Y. Daily News’ Frank Isola said, “What Nike’s doing is they want people to talk about it, which we’re doing right now." But the N.Y. Daily News’ Ryan Asselta asked, “How involved was Tiger in the making of this ad? Because if he was involved it screams of he’s just rubbing it in every one’s face.” SportsNet N.Y.’s Jonas Schwartz said it was “clumsy PR by Tiger” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 3/27). FOXSPORTS.com's Jen Floyd Engel wrote the controversy around the ad is "good for Nike, not so good for their guy." This is "just another in a long list of recent examples of how Nike has lost its soul." Engel: "What I do not understand is what is in this for Tiger" (FOXSPORTS.com, 3/27).
SOME THINGS CANNOT BE ERASED: CBS Sports Network's Jim Rome said, "That spot is supposed to be some kind of ‘how do you like our boy now?’ viral fist pump. But to many it’s a viral insult that makes it seem like all you have to do is scrape together a few wins and your filthy, extramarital transgressions are wiped clean” ("Rome," CBSSN, 3/27). ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullan said, "When you say winning takes care of everything, how do you think his wife feels or his two kids? ... I’ve got a little bit of a have a problem with that, and I imagine his family does too." L.A. Time columnist Bill Plaschke said, "This is not surprising they would do this. I think it’s wrong. I think it goes beyond the border of bad taste. ... But that’s Nike. Under Armour is pushing them right now. They’re trying to stay on top” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/27). In Portland, Steve Duin writes what is “most striking” about the campaign is its “appalling insincerity.” Nike in the past has used ads that “appeal to the best in us,” but this ad “celebrates the insipid worst, and does so with a punchline Nike knows to be untrue.” Duin: “I'd be stunned if anyone ... believes that conceit says anything important about the religion of Nike or the redemption of Tiger Woods.” So “why in the world is Nike marketing this tripe?” (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/28).
WINNING CURES ALL? SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch writes the "real reason it's becoming acceptable to cheer for Tiger again is not because he has a scrubby-clean new famous athlete girlfriend, or because we as an American culture love giving second chances." It is because Woods is "winning again." More than "anything else, we love a winner," and it is "time to be honest about that" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 3/28). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "Winning does take care of everything, and there have been variations on this theme, on that phrase, for a hundred years that neither Nike nor Tiger Woods first uttered. Every great athlete every generation says something like ‘winning takes care of everything.’ So now we are supposed to be up in arms because it’s an ad slogan?” ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "In the real world, winning doesn't take care of everything." He added, "I understand this is a Tiger Woods quote having to do with getting the No. 1 ranking back. ... But there’s a larger context when you are as large as Tiger Woods” (“PTI,” ESPN, 3/27). But ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley said, “We’re not talking about ‘winning takes care' of your entire life. We have gotten lost in that perception. It’s about him as a golfer” (“SportsNation,” ESPN2, 3/27).
TAKING A LOOK IN THE MIRROR: ADWEEK's David Gianatasio wrote the ad is a "blip that quickly stirs passions but has no lasting effect." It will "be all but forgotten" by next week, and Woods and Nike "will carry on." However, in a "larger and more intriguing sense, the story is a microcosm of the state and price of fame in the digital media landscape." If you start "winning in the public eye and achieve some notoriety, you'd better take care and be on your guard about everything, because legions are eagerly watching and waiting and we'll pounce at the slightest provocation." This says "a lot less about Woods, Lance Armstrong or other tarnished icons than it does about the rest of us, who live vicariously to varying degrees through such 'heroes and villains.'" Gianatasio: "We cheer on Woods, Armstrong and the rest when they triumph, and weep at their defeats. We damn them when they fall from grace and welcome them back with accolades and big-bucks sponsorships when they've reformed enough for our liking" (ADWEEK.com, 3/27). Columnist Kevin Blackistone said, "That’s an American mantra that winning cures all, and that’s basically what he’s trying to reflect. We all know what he went through and we would certainly argue against that, but he is just reflecting culture" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/27).
The St. Andrews Links Trust, which oversees the management and maintenance of several golf courses including the famed Old Course, is "seeking to trademark the name 'St. Andrews,'" according to Jaime Diaz of GOLF WORLD. The non-profit Links Trust is "making its latest request to the European Union." The application covers "11 types of goods and services related to golf, including magazines, books, golf clubs, balls and bags, and could also apply to golf tour businesses as well as hotels, restaurants and bars." Links Trust External Relations & Media Manager Laurie Watson said that businesses within the town of St. Andrews "would not be threatened for using the St. Andrews name ... as long as the businesses don't attempt to present merchandise or services as connected to the Links Trust." The Tom Weiskopf-designed St. Andrews Int'l GC, located just south of St. Andrews, recently "won a legal battle" with the Links Trust over the use of the name in two websites. St. Andrews Golf Co. primarily makes vintage golf clubs, and co-Owner Ewan Glen said that the Links Trust "has unfairly inhibited his company's attempt to trademark its own name in order to improve its business in Asia" (GOLF WORLD, 4/1 issue).
MASTER-PIECE THEATRE: GOLF DIGEST's Mike Stachura notes TaylorMade has issued their "commemorative" Masters logo for '13. The logo's "golden bear and ... six magnolia blossoms are a nod" to Jack Nicklaus, the only six-time winner of the tourney. The bear also commemorates the 50th anniversary "of his first Masters title." The logo's holly leaves "are for the 18th hole (holly) and the 25th anniversary of Sandy Lyle's legendary closing birdie from the fairway bunker." Red maple leaves on the logo are "to honor the 10th anniversary of Canadian Mike Weir's Masters victory" (GOLF DIGEST STIX, 3/27 issue).
The England men's national soccer team remains in jeopardy of failing to qualify for next summer's FIFA World Cup for the first time since '94, something that would "have serious implications" for the Football Association's bank balance, according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. The organization by qualifying for the tournament is "guaranteed" at least $12.1M (all figures U.S.), the "minimum amount for teams eliminated in the group stage based on FIFA’s recent announcement" of a 33% increase in prize money from the '10 World Cup in South Africa. If England does reach the event, the FA would "certainly be expecting a financial bonanza from the dozens of licensing agreements it would sign with retailers and manufacturers." A source said that the NGB could stand to make at least $15.1M "from the demand for merchandise, principally from the royalties it would receive on replica England shirts." Nike is due to "unveil a new kit in the summer and shirt sales are predicted to top one million if England make it to the finals." Hart notes the FA "works in four-year World Cup cycles when it comes to signing England commercial deals," meaning current contracts with Vauxhall, Umbro, Mars, Carlsberg, Lucozade, Nivea and Marks and Spencer "all expire at the same time at the end of the World Cup." Umbro, Carlsberg and Mars "are long-standing commercial partners whom the FA would be hopeful of retaining even if England fail to qualify for Brazil." The FA makes more than $75.7M million a year "from its commercial deals, a crucial part of its overall income." But brandRapport Sports Marketing Dir Nigel Currie warned that failure to qualify for Brazil "could have dire consequences." England currently is second in their group with four matches remaining in the qualifying period (London TELEGRAPH, 3/28).
Paul Rabil has become pro lacrosse's "first million-dollar man" thanks to a large endorsement portfolio, according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Rabil has deals with Red Bull, New Balance’s Warrior brand -- which "features a Rabil line" -- Polk Audio, Nooka watches, EFX performance bracelets and Snap Fitness. He also is among the pro athletes who have received Chipotle's celebrity card that grants him free burritos from the QSR. Rabil’s agent Ira Rainess said that the companies will “combine to pay the 27-year-old ‘a couple of million dollars’ in the next several years, the first time a lacrosse player has topped seven figures.” Soshnick noted Rabil is “building his brand amid a surge of interest in his sport.” Rabil said, “The biggest thing has been social media.” He has “34,000 Twitter followers and more than 63,000 likes on his Facebook page.” Rabil and the companies that endorse him are “encouraged by how many lacrosse fans there are, where they are, how much money they have and how easy it is to interact with them.” MLL Commissioner David Gross said that Rabil’s future as a pitchman is “directly tied to the sport’s growth on television.” However, marketing consultant Shawn Bryant said that it “will be hard for Rabil to approach the popularity" of someone like snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White, who "benefits from the Olympics and X Games exposure.” Bryant said of Rabil, “He certainly has a tough road to that kind of breakout success.” But he added that the sport’s “influential followers … may help Rabil gain attention.” Soshnick noted that could include producers for ABC's “The Bachelor,” who have “inquired about using" MLL players (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/27).
In St. Louis, Lisa Brown reports Anheuser-Busch for the first time will “roll out Major League Baseball-branded Budweiser cans and bottles in markets that don't have an MLB team.” A-B said that more than “6 million cases of Budweiser … will feature the MLB [logo] or 23 of the league's 30 teams.” In addition, A-B said that in some markets a "hitch of the company's Clydesdales will deliver opening day tickets to a fan's home as part of a new promotion” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/28).
OUTFITTED WITH PRIDE: Univ. of Maryland football coach Randy Edsall said that the team’s “wild Maryland Pride uniforms continue to be a huge hit with recruits.” In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd noted the team will “unveil another new uni this season, probably when Maryland plays West Virginia at M&T Bank Stadium.” But Edsall “couldn't reveal any details” about the uniforms (BALTIMORESUN.com, 3/27).
HOT ON THE MARKET: Follett Higher Education Group, which manages Florida Gulf Coast Univ.’s bookstore, said that sales of FGCU apparel and gifts “were up 1,000 percent compared to the same day in 2012” on Saturday, the day after the Eagles upset Georgetown. Licensing Resource Group CEO Lewis Hardy, whose company represents the university on trademark licensing and brand development, said that major retailers like Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods are “getting in on the act, speeding up orders and then reordering” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/28).