SBD/October 1, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

D-Wade's Endorsement Portfolio Growing As He Begins New Deals With Tie, Sock Companies

Wade has deals with Gatorade, Pepperidge Farm and Dove
Heat G Dwyane Wade last week spent eight hours inside a hotel meeting room for his "Brand Wade Summit," a "glorified strategy session" in which he was "surrounded by about 35 people representing most of the companies that he's currently aligned with," according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. The summit was "about as comprehensive as it can be, with both the companies he works with and the people who work for him coming together to talk about what's looming for Brand Wade." His Wade's World Foundation "provided an update on its goings-on," as did digital marketing agency Factory Interactive, his style director Calyann Barnett, his reps from CAA and PR firm Rubenstein Communications. Wade will make about $18.7M this coming season with the Heat, and is "estimated to make nearly as much each year off the floor." The list of companies he is "aligned with now is as diversified as his personal portfolio: He's selling $15 ties with one firm and socks with another, but also promotes high-end watches and luxury cars with South Florida dealer The Collection." Most consumers "would recognize some of the companies he has deals with, such as Gatorade, Pepperidge Farm and Dove," but others, like Mission and Hublot, "aren't perhaps as well known outside of their market reach yet." Those like Li-Ning, Tie Bar and Stance are "largely either waiting to break into the U.S. market or are up-and-comers." Wade has a line of socks "coming out later this year depicting last season's Heat championship run, and the company he's paired with there -- Stance -- says it's on track to triple its sales this year" (AP, 9/29).

LEBRON UNVEILS WATCH: WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY's Rebecca Kleinman reported Heat F LeBron James' limited-edition watch for Audemars Piguet, for which he has served as a brand ambassador since '11, launched last Friday "with an event in Miami for 350 guests." The watch "features an 18-karat pink gold case and oversize Arabic numerals offset by a gray patterned dial and interchangeable crocodile and rubber straps." There "really isn’t a target customer for the 600 watches." Audemars Piguet CEO Francois-Henry Bennahmias said that they "will sell for an average of $51,500 each" (WWD.com, 9/26). James appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" yesterday to promote the new watch. He said, "I've always liked watches growing up and when the opportunity presented itself it was easy for me to say yes." James said when he endorses a product, "I like to have a lot of personal" input. James said the "relationship started about ten years ago" with Audemars Piguet with a "mentor of mine, Jay Z," who also had his own watches with the brand. CNBC's Kelly Evans said, "There are a lot of people who are going to say, 'Are you getting out of touch with the fans?' I mean, how many people can afford a $51,000 watch?" James: "It starts for me on the court … and everything else will take care of itself." He noted some of the funds from the sale of these watches will go to the LeBron James Family Foundation ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 9/30).
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