SBD/May 1, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

JetBlue, Absolut Tweet About Collins, With Whom They Do Not Have Deals

One of Collins’ best marketing opportunities could include speaking engagements
JetBlue and Absolut yesterday on their official Twitter feeds offered support of Wizards C Jason Collins' announcement on SI.com Monday that he is gay, but “most marketers without a relationship with Mr. Collins seem to have held back on the subject so far,” according to Nat Ives of AD AGE. Some people “seemed to think JetBlue, an airline without a connection" to either the NBA or Collins, was "trying too hard -- stretching to turn a gay-rights moment into a marketing opportunity.” A JetBlue spokesperson said that the airline is “not working on any deal" with Collins (ADAGE.com, 4/30). CNNMONEY.com's Chris Isidore noted marketing experts said that while Collins has “never appeared in a Nike ad as part of his endorsement deal" with the company, there now is a “much greater probability that he'll do so.” Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said, “I don't think he's going to be a major spokesman, but he could certainly earn seven figures off of this.” But 16W Marketing co-Founder & Partner Frank Vuono said that while Collins’ endorsements will “increase, they'll grow modestly given the fact that he's not a star athlete.” Vuono: “I don’t see anyone beating down a path to his door.” Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said that the endorsement dollars Collins previously got from Nike were “probably modest, and he cautioned that he might not be interested in doing any kind of advertising, even if he can” (MONEY.CNN.com, 4/30).

OH, THE PLACES YOU WILL GO: USA TODAY's Erik Brady examines Collins' marketing opportunities, and IEG Senior VP/Content Strategy Jim Andrews said that mainstream companies that marketed to the LGBT community “included MillerCoors, Target, Subaru, American Airlines and almost all of the banks and financial services companies.” Sports and entertainment ad agency Zambezi Managing Dir Chris Raih “suggests companies such as Levi’s and Gap.” He said, “It is less about, quote-unquote, ‘gay brands.’” He said it is more about brands “that organically fit into the champion pioneer in all of us.” Swangard said Collins’ "best marketing opportunities will likely be targeted speaking engagements and group/corporate outings” (USA TODAY, 5/1) OutSports co-Founder Cyd Zeigler said, “There is money to be made for the team that signs Jason Collins and companies that hire him. It is because of what he represents -- courage and being true to yourself.” 16W Marketing co-Founder & Partner Steve Rosner said, “He has shown he has character” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/1). Collins is “up more than 80,000 followers after starting Monday with around 3,500.” As of press time he has 97,250 (ESPNLA.com, 4/30).
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