SBD/June 26, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Adidas Pulling Ads Featuring Suspended Suárez For Remainder Of World Cup

adidas' status as chief World Cup sponsor allows access other brands do not have
adidas, following FIFA's decision today to suspend Uruguay F Luis Suárez for nine int'l matches and four months of int'l football activities for biting Italy D Giorgio Chiellini, "says it has pulled all advertising" featuring him during the World Cup, but is "keeping him under contract," according to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell. adidas said, "We will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players" (TWITTER.com, 6/26). Suarez also has a deal with 888 Poker, and CNBC's Sharon Epperson asked, "What's going to happen to the endorsements that he does have?" CNBC contributor Nathan Bachrach said, "It's hard to imagine that this guy keeps any endorsements at this point." Noting Suarez has been involved in two other biting incidents in his career, Bacharch said, "As they say, the guy's got a history." CNBC's Kelly Evans: "I don't think it's one that any company really wants to be associated with" ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 6/25). Meanwhile, the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sara Germano writes adidas' promotional materials for its Battle Pack collection of soccer cleats "can only be called unfortunate" in light of this week's biting incident. adidas "unveiled the materials earlier this spring" ahead of the World Cup. One image "includes Suárez baring his teeth" (WSJ.com, 6/25).

GOING ALL IN: MASHABLE's Sam Laird wrote adidas at its FIFA World Cup HQs in Rio de Janeiro "is pulling out all the stops to extend its brand reach, imprint the three stripes in consumers' minds and generally make Brazil 2014 a [smashing] success." Its efforts "start at Adidas Posto, a temporary command center and workspace the company has set up" at its HQs. During the World Cup, "social, digital, PR, marketing and event managers" from several countries will "all run operations from the temporary mothership." The facility's epicenter "is a centrally located room full of desks, TVs and more gadgets than you can count." There, digital-content teams "from around the world tune in to every game -- Photoshop and Twitter at the ready -- to fire appropriate reactions out to fans." It is "all in the name of Adidas." adidas North America Soccer Senior Brand Communications & Digital Marketing Manager Pashington Obeng: "The big questions are what content we have to celebrate our key players, whether it's for a goal or a hat-trick or any other cool events that we know our fans are looking for." Laird noted this means "leveraging Adidas' status as a chief World Cup sponsor to provide content from vantage points to which other brands aren't allowed access." They "include views from the pitch, the tunnel and team locker rooms." Another key element "is finding creative ways to promote the players and teams that Adidas sponsors." adidas endorsers "have been performing well in this World Cup." As of last night, the company's "signature F50 cleat was used to score more goals (33) than any other boot worn by players" (MASHABLE.com, 6/25).
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