SBD/May 9, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Michael Sam Lands First Endorsement Deal With Visa; Clowney Signs With Wilson

Visa "has partnered" with NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam, who "could become the first active openly gay NFL player," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Sam in his first spot "urges the viewer to judge him for his play on the field, not off it." Visa CMO Kevin Burke: "We felt that Michael's story was a perfect fit for our 'everywhere' campaign, which is meant to inspire people to reach their own personal goals and aspirations" (ESPN.com, 5/8). In K.C., Tod Palmer notes a voiceover by Sam in the 43-second spot "asks viewers to judge him 'for running a 4.91 at the Combine,' or 'a blown tackle on the outside rush,' or 'holding fourth and goal with your team’s wild-card berth on the line.'" Sam: "Judge me for what I do on the field." Palmer notes the campaign "will be used in Visa's online marketing" (K.C. STAR, 5/9).

MAMA, THERE GOES THAT MANZIEL: FOXSPORTS.com's Jimmy Traina noted Nike, which signed Browns QB Johnny Manziel to a deal in early March, "put out its own message on Thursday regarding the pre-draft talk surrounding" him. The message is "aimed at people who like to bring up Manziel's supposed shortcomings" (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/8). CBSSPORTS.com's Will Brinson wrote Nike with the creative tried to "remind you that there are 'no sure things' in the NFL Draft" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/8).

GOLDEN GLOVE: Wilson Sporting Goods yesterday announced that it has signed Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney to an endorsement deal. Clowney will promote the company's new line of GST football gloves and protective gear, as well as other products such as footballs and mouth guards. He will be featured on marketing materials including digital, in-store and product packaging. Wilson in conjunction with the NFL Draft is launching a microsite, WilsonMoreWork.com, through which they will give away a pair of gloves autographed by Clowney (Wilson). The Wilson deal comes on the heels of Clowney signing with Puma. See the agency contacts and endorsement portfolios for Clowney and Manziel (THE DAILY).

PERSONAL TOUCH: In N.Y., Ken Belson went behind the scenes last night and reports NFL Senior VP/Consumer Products Leo Kane and Nike two years ago "decided to personalize" the jerseys players received when they walked on stage after being drafted so that they could "admire their last names on them." However, the decision to do so "created a logistical challenge: how to personalize a jersey moments after a player is drafted and before he walked on stage." The answer "was a mix of preparation, practice and sleight of hand, helped by the wonders of television." Behind the curtains "stage right, Nike has a work space about the size of a kitchen in a Manhattan apartment." It "takes about two minutes to personalize each jersey." Each player also "receives a New Era cap when he exits the green room on the other end of the stage" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).
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