SBD/November 21, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Olympic Names & Faces: Injury Not Likely To Affect Vonn's Marketability

Uncertainty about whether Vonn will compete could keep her front and center
USA TODAY's Kelly Whiteside notes U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn is sponsored by Under Armour, Red Bull and Rolex, among others, and has "been cast as the American face" of the '14 Sochi Games. Vonn on Tuesday suffered a partial tear to the ACL in her right knee, and the "question now looms: Will she be healthy enough to compete in her fourth Olympics?" 21 Marketing Founder & CEO Rob Prazmark said, "The fact that no one knows yet whether she'll be back will keep her front and center in the news media. That's good for sponsors and for NBC." Whiteside notes Vonn's "tricky marketing situation isn't unique." At the '06 Torino Games, U.S. figure skater Michelle Kwan "withdrew just before the competition." Prazmark said that it "didn't affect her brand" (USA TODAY, 11/21).

PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD: Gillette Canada yesterday announced a partnership with Islanders C John Tavares in support of Hockey Canada stars as they prep for Sochi. Gillette will bring to life Tavares' "game face" in an Olympic campaign that includes print, TV and digital elements. The campaign will debut in early December. Tavares also is among 12 Canadian Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls that Procter & Gamble, in cooperation with the Canadian Olympic Committee, is sponsoring (Gillette).

AN UPHILL BATTLE: The CALGARY HERALD noted Canadian bobsled hopefuls Jesse Lumsden and Justin Kripps have "taken to YouTube in a Sochi Olympic fundraising campaign." The pair appear in "a series of short comedic skits under the title 'We Push Stuff,'" where they "attempt to land jobs in various aspects of society using their bobsleigh skills." Lumsden said, "If I was going to launch a fundraising campaign, I wanted to do it right, and prove to potential partners that I'm willing to put myself out there, be different, be creative, and get people's attention -- all in a very positive way" (CALGARYHERALD.com, 11/20).
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