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A marketing rep for Seahawks CB Richard Sherman said interest from corporate America "has only increased" since Sherman's controversial postgame interview with Fox' Erin Andrews at the NFC Championship Game, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Fritz Martin Management Owner & CEO Jamie Fritz said that he has "kept a lot of companies interested in Sherman on the sidelines through the season and he and his client will weigh the risk of holding brands off a little bit more in order to perhaps command Super Bowl champion prices." Rovell noted Sherman "not only owned the media spotlight after the game on Sunday and into Monday," he also "owned commercial time." Both Nike and Beats By Dre "debuted national commercials featuring Sherman on Sunday." Beats "played both cards in the NFC Championship game, as they also count" 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick as an endorser. When the Seahawks won, the brand switched yesterday's advertising "only to Sherman's ad." Sherman in addition to Beats and Nike "has a deal with CenturyLink that has put his face all over Seattle -- on radio and television and even on local buses." (ESPN.com, 1/20). In Portland, Allan Brettman wrote the new Nike ad's debut is "a stroke of timing that, depending on your perspective, is lucky genius or tragi-comedy" (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/20). NBC Sports Network’s Ross Tucker said of Sherman, “He is a marketing genius. He is by far the most well-known Seattle Seahawk. Not easy to do up there in the Pacific Northwest.” NBC Sports Network’s Shaun King noted that Sherman is "about to get paid” because Sherman is “self-marketing.” King: “This is a guy who played wide receiver in the beginning of his career at Stanford. He went to Seattle and no one knew who he was until he started talking” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 1/20).
BIG SHOT IN THE BIG APPLE: In Rochester, Leo Roth writes Sherman for Super Bowl XLVIII "marches into New York the talk of the town," thanks to his interview that will either earn Andrews "a raise or put her into therapy" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 1/21). In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes under the header, "Seahawks' Richard Sherman, Love Him Or Hate Him, Is Already The Face Of Super Bowl XLVIII." Sherman with his interview "did what a lot of modern athletes only dream about doing: Made the whole thing about him, even if he spent a lot of the next day apologizing for doing that by attacking" 49ers WR Michael Crabtree. The Andrews interview and Sherman's tipped pass leading to a game-ending interception, "all the official beginning of the first Super Bowl Week New York has ever had" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21). ESPN's Keith Olbermann said, "Sherman is already well aware that he is now the storyline going into the maw of the Super Bowl weeks" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 1/20). CBS' Don Dahler said, "If you didn’t know Richard Sherman before Sunday's game, chances are you do now" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 1/21). On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes, "America, say hello to Richard Sherman. You'll be seeing -- and hearing -- a lot from him" (NEWSDAY, 1/21). ESPN's Stan Verrett: "The Super Bowl is heading to the media capital of the world, where Sherman will no doubt be positioned as the yang to Peyton Manning's yin" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/21).
HERO OR VILLAIN? In San Jose, Marcus Thompson writes under the header, "Don't Try To Change Richard Sherman." Thompson: "Don't let liberty of his tongue shock you into casting him as a degenerate" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/21). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto writes Sherman is "available in three sizes -- admirable, repellent and fascinating, and they all come with the platinum volume knob, standard, that goes all the way to 11" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 1/21). In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty writes those in the media "live for Richard Sherman Moments, those rare reality tangents when players actually say what they’re thinking. When we get them, we turn their authors into hamburger meat." But Daugherty asks, "Is it too much to expect a professional to act like one?" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 1/21). In San Jose, Jon Wilner writes Sherman is "usually refreshingly candid in a cliché-dominated sports-media culture." But "occasionally, Sherman's internal braking system malfunctions and the massive chip on his shoulder ... is exposed for the world to see" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/21). In Austin, Cedric Golden writes, "Be thankful that Sherman and his Legion of Boom brethren are comfortable with the villain’s role because the whole world outside of the Pacific Northwest has most certainly aligned itself with Peyton Manning’s Broncos for the Super Bowl" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/21). NBC's Carson Daly said of Sherman's rant, "It's like he went to the Kanye West school of communications or something." NBC's Matt Lauer said the interview was "in the heat of the moment" and that "didn't bother me as much as the choke gesture." Lauer: "There wasn't one player on either team that choked in that game. They played their hearts out, guys being carted off on stretchers" ("Today," NBC, 1/21).
CAN'T-MISS TV: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel writes Sherman has joined Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "in understanding the rules of the arena better than most. It's a show." Sherman "clearly grasps that the NFL is merely reality TV," and characters like Sherman and Jones "only make it more interesting and themselves more bankable" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/21). In Orlando, Shannon Owens writes, "I pity the fool who couldn't laugh" at Sherman's comments in his postgame interview. Owens asks, "Is Richard Sherman in danger of becoming the next media villain like Terrell Owens?" Shannon Owens: "Sherman's rant was classless, and I'm OK with that" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/21). In Philadelphia, Sam Donnellon writes of Sherman's interview, "My 20-something sons loved all of it. I would have been OK with it too if not for the taunts that preceded it." Sherman was "all over the map explaining it all afterwards ... claiming he was slighted by Crabtree at a party last year, or by some innocuous quote." It "sounded like rationalization, an attempt to salvage any marketability he might still have" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/21). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote it is "not enough to win the game," as athletes "must glorify themselves by winning the smack talk, too" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/20).
Chobani Founder & CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said the Greek yogurt brand's debut Super Bowl ad will depict how "you can go to a supermarket and go through the aisles and you cannot find a decent something to eat," according to Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. Chobani will air a 60-second spot via Droga5, N.Y., that is "scheduled for the third quarter." The spot, which features the tagline "How matters," shows how a "fierce brown bear ransacks a grocery story as a proxy for human shoppers." The ad also is the first Super Bowl work for Droga5. The commercial is the "start of a multimedia campaign" that will continue after the Super Bowl with ads "during the Winter Olympics and the Academy Awards" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/21).
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz reports many Super Bowl advertisers are "tapping into nostalgia with commercials and teasers that feature celebrities from the past, images of yesteryear and music that transports folks to another era." Dannon's effort in support of its Oikos Greek yogurt follows up its '12 Super Bowl ad featuring John Stamos by reuniting a "good chunk of the cast" from Stamos' hit sitcom "Full House." Bob Saget and Dave Coulier are among those joining Stamos. Meanwhile, the Muppets will appear in a 60-second ad for Toyota in which actor Terry Crews "picks them up in his Toyota Highlander after their bus breaks down." Volkswagen today is debuting a teaser spot with Carmen Electra "washing a WV Passat in a funny ad also loaded with elements of famous Super Bowl ads of the past" (USA TODAY, 1/21).
DEW POINT: AD AGE's E.J. Schultz reports PepsiCo's Mtn Dew brand is launching two new flavors of its Kickstart beverage "aimed at nighttime consumption" -- "Energizing" Black Cherry and Limeade -- that will be supported by a "significant marketing investment." Mtn Dew VP/Marketing Greg Lyons said that the effort includes ads "that will debut during the Super Bowl pregame show." PepsiCo also plans to "double its media investment on Diet Mtn Dew, which will launch a new campaign" during the pregame show. It will carry the tagline, "It's the Only Diet with Dew In It" (ADAGE.com, 1/21).
GETTING TECHNICAL: INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY's Pete Barlas noted tech companies are "taking a pass on this year's Super Bowl," as Best Buy, BlackBerry, Cars.com and E-Trade all have "opted out after running ads last year." GoDaddy and Intuit are the "only tech companies" currently set to have a presence during the broadcast. Best Buy spokesperson Jon Sandler said that the company is "bowing out after sponsoring the game the last three years" in order to be "more flexible with its ad dollars." E-Trade Senior VP/Branding & Acquisition Rich Muhlstock said that sports programming "remains an important pillar for the company." But he added, "We are broadening our mix to include other lifestyle environments that are also important to our audience" (INVESTORS.com, 1/17).
U.S. speedskater Shani Davis was a "star during the last two Olympics," but he now "finally is embracing such a role as he prepares" for the Sochi Games, according to Jared Hopkins of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Davis' relationship with U.S. Speedskating "remains frosty -- he still prohibits his biography on its website and finds his own sponsors -- but it hardly matters," as he "enjoys incredible popularity overseas in places such as the Netherlands." Davis said that his life is "headed in the right direction," as he is "featured in McDonald's commercials and promotional material on NBC." During the Olympic Trials, his two "chatty media appearances lasted more than 12 minutes." He "even plans to compete in team pursuit in these Games." Davis: "It's my time. I'm going to try to take advantage of it and share myself and my story with the world as much as I can without it interfering with what I have to do." Former U.S. speedskater Apolo Ohno said, "We've always wanted to see Shani grow. Finally, Shani Davis is understanding that this is what the total package of becoming a champion is all about -- not just results, but everything that comes along with it" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/19).
MANCUSO'S WAY: OUTSIDE magazine's Grayson Schaffer in a cover story profiles U.S. skier Julia Mancuso and writes she is the "Olympic champion you'd want to drink a beer with." The Lake Tahoe, Calif., native "trains for skiing by surfing and paddleboarding, appears untroubled by minutiae, and then ... comes through when it matters." Going into Sochi, most of the talk around the U.S. Ski team has "focused on Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old American phenom, and Mancuso’s training partner Lindsey Vonn." Maybe it is "because of Mancuso’s relaxed demeanor that observers continue to underestimate her," but to hear her tell it, the "laissez-faire attitude isn’t a strategy; it’s all she knows" (OUTSIDE, 2/'14 issue).
In Abu Dhabi, Steve Elling reports HSBC will "take a long look at whether it will continue with golf sponsorship at current, higher or lower levels." The company stages a co-sanctioned WGC tournament called the HSBC Champions, an "event on the LPGA, a tournament in Brazil and also underwrites the British Open." There is "only one year left" on its contract for the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, and all five deals "expire at some point next year." HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan in the past "has been critical" of Tiger Woods "for skipping the HSBC Champions." Morgan said that, at "some point, HSBC and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, who underwrite the tournament and determine which players are targeted to receive appearance fees, would contact Woods’s management team" (Abu Dhabi NATIONAL, 1/21). HSBC over the weekend expressed concern with this year's British Open taking place at a male-only venue.
ON THE BEACH: In South Carolina, Alan Blondin reports golfer Natalie Gulbis will be "representing Myrtle Beach golf management company National Golf Management" in '14. Gulbis has a "one-year agreement to be the spokesperson for NGM and its 22 Strand courses, golf package businesses and accommodations at Pawleys Plantation." She is "taking part in a sweepstakes through MyrtleBeachTrips.com that will have her eating dinner and playing a round of golf at Pawleys Plantation in late fall with eight winners, and she’ll be wearing the Myrtle Beach Trips logo on the sleeve of her golf shirts in competition." NGM representatives and Gulbis "anticipate the partnership extending" beyond '14 (Myrtle Beach SUN NEWS, 1/21).
NEED FOR SPEED: GOLFCHANNEL.com noted Paulina Gretzky, the fiancée of golfer Dustin Johnson, "posted on her various social-media accounts that she is currently filming a commercial for TaylorMade." It is "unclear her exact role in the clip." A "close inspection" of a photo she posted "shows that she is wearing a badge with the words SPEED POLICE" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/16).
NOTES: Cobra Puma Golf yesterday announced the return of Greg Norman to its stable of global brand ambassadors. He will work on product development and will play with Cobra clubs at appearances, tournaments and events (Cobra Puma Golf)....Golfer Jason Dufner and Perry Ellis Int’l will continue their partnership for a second season, as Dufner will continue to be a brand ambassador for PGA Tour Pro Series apparel. Dufner will wear PGA Tour Pro Series at all appearances and be the keystone to the brand’s marketing efforts (Perry Ellis).
Sports Authority Store Manager John Dinolfo said that his location in Colorado Springs on Sunday "received its shipment" of Broncos AFC Championship jerseys "before the game had ended." He said by yesterday the store had "very little left." Dick's Sporting Goods Community Marketing Manager Randy Thornhill said that fans in Colorado Springs were "snapping up team merchandise so quickly after Sunday's win that Dick's Sporting Goods on North Powers Boulevard had sold out of some gear by early Monday." In Colorado Springs, Ned Hunter notes Dick's yesterday "opened four hours early to accommodate Broncos shoppers [looking] for AFC Championship merchandise" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 1/21).
IF THE SLEEVE FITS: adidas Head of Global Basketball Sports Marketing Chris Grancio said that sales of the brand's sleeved NBA alternate jerseys to this point have "indeed been very strong." He said, "Terrific. (Sales have) exceeded expectations. We're very pleased with the results so far, and in our view, based on the way in aggregate players and consumers have reacted to it, it's been very positive." NBCSPORTS.com's Brett Pollakoff noted the company "doesn’t do any custom fitting of the jerseys" for NBAers but does "make samples in all sizes widely available to teams before they're scheduled to play in them in a game that counts" (NBCSPORTS.com, 1/18).
JOHNNY CASH: In Baltimore, Sean Welsh notes former Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel is "the subject of new signage at Under Armour's Locust Point campus." Signs in "at least two locations" at UA HQs "welcomed Manziel to 'the team,' though [it's] not clear which team that is, exactly." Manziel would be "the latest in a long line of high-profile athletes to endorse" UA (Baltimore SUN, 1/21).