SBD/January 16, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Univ. Of Texas To Trademark Strong-Related Themes, Start Selling Merchandise

    T-shirts with the "Stronghorns" moniker have already been pulled

    Univ. of Texas athletics department reps are asking entrepreneurs selling gear "emblazoned" with football coach Charlie Strong's name or likeness to stop, as the school is "seeking to secure trademark rights on at least some Strong-related themes and phrasing," according to Gary Dinges of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Shirts and gear "using the words 'Stronghorns,' 'Texas Strong' and 'UT Strong' showed up for sale both online and in some area stores, but those items were pulled after merchants were contacted by UT athletics." U.S. Patent & Trademark Office records show that the UT System has "already moved to trademark 'Stronghorns.'" The '13 UT athletics report showed $9M "in net revenue from trademark licensing." The College Licensing Co. said that UT "ranked No. 1 in the nation" among colleges in '12. UT Associate AD Craig Westemeier said that the university on apparel and non-apparel items "typically gets a royalty rate" of 12%, and Strong as is "usually the case ... wouldn't get any of that cash." U.S. Copyright Office records this week "showed 'Stronghorns,' 'Texas Strong' and 'UT Strong' ... hadn’t been copyrighted." At least 10 applications "have been filed by individuals and businesses" to the USPTO when it comes to "Texas Strong," but none of them came from UT. Westemeier said that the wait for officially licensed Strong-related apparel "shouldn’t be much longer," as it is "already in production and should hit stores as soon as this week" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/15).

    OFFENSIVE, FOUL: INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY's Simon Moya-Smith noted one specific T-shirt "among the bevy" of unauthorized Florida State fan merchandise that has surfaced on the web since the BCS Championship last week has school officials "rushing to see that it is discontinued." The T-shirt, manufactured by, "has the words, 'SCALP ‘EM!,' emblazoned across the chest," and below the text "is an arrow and tomahawk." FSU VP/University Relations Liz Maryanski said that school officials "began measures for an 'emergency cease and desist' of all sales of the offensive T-shirt." She added, "We would never license that shirt. That term is extremely derogatory and it’s offensive" (, 1/14).

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  • Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports Agree On Three-Year Extension For No. 43 Car

    Smithfield will sponsor Almirola's Petty Blue No. 43 car for 29 races in '14

    Smithfield Foods and Richard Petty Motorsports yesterday announced a three-year extension through the '16 NASCAR season. The company and its family of brands, including Eckrich, Farmland, Gwaltney, Nathan's and Smithfield, will return as primary sponsors of Aric Almirola's No. 43 Sprint Cup Series entry for 29 races in '14. That figure is up from 15 events in '12 and 25 last year (RPM).'s Darren Heitner noted Smithfield as part of the deal will "increase its investment" in RPM by 50% throughout the term of the agreement. This will "serve as significant funding" for RPM, which has "experienced an increase of 20% or more in revenue over the past year, but consistently relies on sponsorship to keep its race team afloat." Smithfield CEO Larry Pope said, "The relationship today is going to be six-times the size of our initial relationship" (, 1/15). The AP noted the increased involvement from Smithfield "has the company signed on for all but seven races of the 38-race schedule -- a coup for RPM at a time when sponsorships are often being divided between multiple companies." Smithfield was sold to Chinese company Shuanghui Int'l Holdings in a deal "finalized in September." Pope said of RPM sponsorship, "I believe it is the right way to communicate to our consumers. My new owners have no issue with this at all and are 100 percent supportive. They were overwhelmed by the fans and the people and the activity, and they didn't realize the attraction and the connection between racing and the brand." Pope said that Smithfield has "seen double-digit increases in sales in areas where it runs promotions connected with the RPM and Almirola sponsorship" (AP, 1/15).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, NASCAR
  • Butterfinger Stirs Social Media With Racy Super Bowl Teaser Promoting New Candy Bar

    Butterfinger "has social media abuzz" after posting online "a super-suggestive Super Bowl teaser about a nervous couple, Mr. & Mrs. Buttercup, in the waiting room before a -- wink, wink -- 'Edible Couples Counseling' session," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. This "therapy-seeking couple are personified versions of Peanut Butter and Chocolate -- looking for something to make their lives more, well, exotic." The couple in the ad "even read a copy of 'Exotic Snacking,' and oohs and aahs as they turn the pages." The ad is an "attempt to garner attention" for Butterfinger's new peanut butter cup candy bar (USA TODAY, 1/16).

    LIGHT 'EM UP: Bud Light Brands VP Rob McCarthy said that during the Super Bowl there will be a "change in Bud Light ad themes, with 'Here we go,'" introduced during Super Bowl XLIV in '10, "to be replaced by 'The perfect beer for whatever happens.'" McCarthy said the concept is "an evolution of ‘Here we go,’ updated with more input and knowledge from millennials." He added the concept reflects millenials' "optimism" and how they are "open to whatever happens." This Super Bowl will be the third in a row and last for which A-B VP/Marketing Paul Chibe "will serve as the quarterback for Anheuser-Busch." The company "sent a memo to employees and wholesalers last week saying that he would step aside after leading marketing efforts" in the U.S. since June '11 (N.Y. TIMES, 1/16).

    STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS: ABC's Bianna Golodryga said actress Scarlett Johansson is "generating a lot of buzz for her latest role" as spokesperson for SodaStream and star of its Super Bowl ad. Golodryga said the new ad is "still top-secret," but a brief clip featured Johansson wearing a bathrobe so "we know drinking soda is going to look pretty good" ("GMA," ABC, 1/15).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, NFL, Super Bowl
  • Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch Trademarks "Beast Mode" Nickname, Launches Jewelry Line

    Eighty percent of the proceeds from the "Beast Mode" key go to charity

    Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch has "already filed a federal trademark" for the nickname "Beast Mode," which "can be seen everywhere" on hats and T-shirts during Seahawks games, according to Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY. Octagon's Doug Hendrickson, who reps Lynch, said, "He's a smart business guy, too. He's very, very savvy with everything he does off the field" (USA TODAY, 1/16). In Seattle, Don Shelton notes Lynch is "breaking out his own jewelry -- the Beast Mode Key." Lynch is "teaming up to sell a unisex necklace with a polished brass key stamped with his Beast Mode nickname." It costs $124, and 80% of the proceeds "will go to Lynch’s Oakland-based charity, Fam 1st Family Foundation and Four Rings, Montana Family Foundation" (, 1/16). 

    FLYING HIGH: In Seattle, Janet Tu writes the Seahawks' on-field success this season has "also been a boon to another big local name: Microsoft." That includes partnerships such as Bing’s "sponsorship of Seahawks training camp, and a multiyear deal, announced last year, that makes Surface the official tablet of the NFL." Bing reps have "held 'Bing It On' challenges before games, including at Touchdown City, the interactive activities center at CenturyLink Field Event Center." Fans at Sunday's 49ers-Seahawks NFC Championship Game "will receive 12th Man towels emblazoned with the Seahawks logo -- along with the Bing logo." Bing has "created an 'I’m In' website and #BingHawks hashtag, where fans from around the world can express their support of the Seahawks." The Seahawks Radio Network also is "branded as the Bing Radio Network." Meanwhile, Microsoft's Xbox "has been the Seahawks' official gaming and entertainment console for about 10 years," and the Xbox and Surface partnership with the NFL "began last year." Several NFL teams, including the Seahawks, have "deployed Surfaces in their business offices and are testing tablet apps designed to help manage players’ health" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/16).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, NFL, Seattle Seahawks
  • Messi, Dempsey Headline Pepsi's Roster Of '14 Global Soccer Endorsers

    Pepsi today introduced its team of 19 int'l soccer players, including Barcelona F Lionel Messi, Manchester United F Robin van Persie and MLS Sounders F Clint Dempsey, that will make up the soft drink maker's "Live for Now" campaign for '14. The players will star in Pepsi's global TV ad campaign later this year, while select players will appear on packaging and point of sale of Pepsi Max beginning in March. Other aspects of the campaign, including integrations with art, music and interactive experiences, will be unveiled throughout the year (Pepsi).

    Sergio Aguero Argentina Victor Moses Nigeria
    Juan Guillermo Cuadrado Colombia Peter Osaze Odemwingie Nigeria
    Clint Dempsey U.S. Oribe Peralta Mexico
    Tarik Elyounoussi Norway Andriy Pyatov Ukraine
    Maynor Figueroa Honduras Sergio Ramos Spain
    Mario Gomez Germany Mohamed Salah Egypt
    Vincent Kompany Belgium Gylfi Por Sigurosson Iceland
    Kemar Lawrence Jamaica Robin van Persie The Netherlands
    David Luiz Brazil Jack Wilshere England
    Lionel Messi Argentina    

    RIDING THE WORLD CUP WAVE: In London, Andy Hodgson reported while Pepsi is not a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, the company traditionally launches a "new ad campaign in every year the tournament takes place to capitalise on the buzz around the event." Pepsi in '10 had several players, including MLS Red Bulls F Thierry Henry and Turkish club Galatasaray F Didier Drogba, team up "for a match with kids in Africa" in advance of the South Africa World Cup, while David Beckham and Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro MF Ronaldinho in '06 were among the players to "challenge a group of Lederhosen-wearing Bavarian dancers" when the World Cup was in Germany (London EVENING STANDARD, 1/15). The move comes after Coca-Cola, an official FIFA sponsor, yesterday introduced 18 mini-bottle designs to commemorate the World Cup. The designs represent past and future World Cup host countries. The "bottles (which contain no actual soda) are also interactive," as consumers can use Facebook or mobile apps to "create special messages and avatars that can be delivered to other bottle owners" (, 1/14).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, PepsiCo
  • Marketplace Roundup

    MARKETING DAILY's Aaron Baar reported Mitsubishi Electric in a new campaign from longtime agency Ames Scullin O'Haire, Atlanta, is casting golfers Fred Couples and Corey Pavin as "men who find themselves in uncomfortable situations." Couples in one spot "encounters a barber known as 'Shaky' to shave his face after his regular man runs off for the birth of his child." Pavin in a second ad "has trouble with the self-checkout lane at a grocery store, much to the ire of the people in line behind him." Both commercials are "being run as part of the Golf Channel’s coverage of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, Hawaii, which begins this week, and will later appear on other golf programming throughout the season" (, 1/14).

    VICK A BAD PICK? PHILADELPHIA magainze's Joel Mathis noted Eagles QB Michael Vick sent a tweet Monday night "endorsing auction site QuiBids," which drew "anger from that company’s users." QuiBids on Tuesday "withdrew the endorsement." QuiBids wrote, "As most employees here at QuiBids are dog owners, we want you to know we would never, ever condone animal abuse, and we’re sorry that our recent actions did not reflect our values. Please know that we've had Michael delete his post and have stopped all future campaigns with him" (, 1/15).

    CURLING FOR COFFEE: The CP reported Tim Hortons will "remain as the title sponsor of two of the biggest curling events in Canada." The QSR has "extended its sponsorship agreement with the Canadian Curling Association" through '18. Tim Hortons has "served as title sponsor of the Canadian men’s curling championship and ... the Canadian Olympic trials" since ‘05. (CP, 1/15).

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