SBD/August 12, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Most Stewart-Haas Racing Sponsors Withhold Comment Following Tony Stewart Incident

    Stewart could begin to lose sponsors even without any criminal charges

    NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing yesterday said it is in "close communication" with its 17 official partners and sponsors, and most are "refraining from commenting beyond offering condolences to the family of Kevin Ward Jr.," according to Max Willens of AD AGE. A Bad Boy Buggies spokesperson said that the brand still "is committed" to driver Tony Stewart. Animal rescue firm Code 3 Associates also said it will "remain firmly in support" of the race team. SHR Exec VP Brett Frood said of sponsors, "While they are all thinking about the family and friends of Kevin Ward Jr., they also care about the emotional well-being of Tony, and they are very supportive of him during this difficult time" (ADAGE.com, 8/11). Marketing firm Leverage Agency Founder & CEO Ben Sturner said that it is "likely only a matter of time" before sponsors "start jumping ship, even if Stewart is never criminally prosecuted." Sturner said that while "expressions of loyalty from Stewart’s impressive array of blue-chip sponsors must be comforting ... many would ultimately leave." But Sturner said he thinks they will "wait a bit." He said "blue-chip sponsors are going to have real issues." Sturner even "expects some sponsors to invoke 'morals clauses' likely contained in their endorsement agreements" (N.Y. POST, 8/12).

    RETURN TIMETABLE: USA TODAY's Gluck & Ryan report a timeline for Stewart's return to racing "remains unknown." SHR Dir of Communications Mike Arning said that Stewart's sprint car schedule was "indefinitely suspended and he was mulling whether he would return" for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan Int'l Speedway on Sunday. Arning said, "The decision ... will be Tony's, and he will have as much time as he needs to make that decision" (USA TODAY, 8/12). In L.A., Jim Peltz writes "a lot is riding" on whether Stewart decides to race Sunday, as he is in 21st place in the standings and "is in danger of missing" the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Also, if Stewart "misses more NASCAR races, it could mean continuing reduced exposure for his main sponsors." ExxonMobil spokesperson Christian Flathman in an e-mail wrote it is "ultimately a decision for Stewart-Haas Racing" (L.A. TIMES, 8/12).

    TIME TO STAY OFF THE DIRT? In N.Y., Viv Bernstein notes the accident on Saturday night was the "third serious sprint car crash for Stewart in about a year." Although the three sprint car accidents were "very different, they raise the question of whether Stewart should be racing in that series, if his presence affects other drivers who may become more aggressive to try to beat the Nascar star in their midst." Bernstein: "After Saturday night, it would not be surprising if he stepped away, at least for a while, and reassessed his involvement" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, NASCAR
  • Barbasol To Title Sponsor New PGA Tour Event In '15 Opposite British Open

    Barbasol will title sponsor a new PGA Tour event in '15 that will be played opposite the British Open. A four-year deal was announced yesterday for the Barbasol Championship, which will be played at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National near Opelika, Ala. The tournament will take place July 13-19 and will be included in the season-long race for the FedExCup (PGA Tour). In Birmingham, Mike Cason notes it will be the first PGA Tour event in Alabama "since the PGA Championship was held at Shoal Creek in Birmingham" in '90. Alabama Tourism Dir Lee Sentell said that the state will "provide $200,000 to $250,000 to help stage the event." PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Andy Pazder said that it is "possible the Barbasol Championship could move to one of the other RTJ courses during the initial four-year run." Pazder said that about 70 PGA Tour players "usually play in the British Open, which would leave 130 available for the Barbasol Championship." The Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., had been held opposite the British Open in recent years, but the event moved to November as part of the new wraparound PGA Tour schedule (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 8/12). Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said that the city "wouldn’t have to contribute anything toward the tournament, but that it would encourage residents to get involved." Meanwhile, Auburn Mayor Bill Ham said that Auburn Univ. would "have an opportunity to be involved in the tournament" (OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS, 8/12).

    KICKING THE TIRES: Bridgestone yesterday announced a deal with the PGA Tour to title sponsor the inaugural America's Golf Cup, a team format event featuring PGA Tour players alongside members of PGA Tour Latinoamerica. The first iteration of the event will be held at Pilar Golf Club in Buenos Aires in October. Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar will represent the U.S., while Angel Cabrera and Andres Romero have agreed to represent Argentina. The unofficial money event will feature a purse of $600,000 (PGA Tour).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, PGA Tour, Barbasol
  • Manning Brothers Reprise Role As Rappers In New DirecTV Fantasy Football Spot

    Giants QB Eli Manning and Broncos QB Peyton Manning, are "at it again, rapping for DirecTV and their new Fantasy Zone channel, which, you guessed it, is dedicated exclusively to fantasy football," according to Bernie Augustine of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Dressed like they "stole their clothes from Eminem's closet -- Peyton in a white t-shirt, ripped jeans and a chain and Eli in camo pants, a grey long-sleeve T, dog tags and a tilted cap -- the quarterback brothers unleash a stream of nonsensical lyrics that can't help but make viewers laugh." Their father, Archie Manning, makes an appearance "in outer space," while Pro Football HOFer Joe Namath "makes a cameo ... playing to his lady-killing persona with somebody's mom" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/12). The AP's Arnie Stapleton noted the Manning brothers' fantasy "includes an 'end zone that ends in a waterfall,' and 'a shower that showers you with tiny footballs.'" It "finishes with Eli auto-tuning in outer space with a winged horse" and Archie. The brothers appeared in a similar ad in '13, and Broncos CB Chris Harris said, "The song is better. But I think the last commercial was funnier." Broncos S Rahim Moore added of Peyton, "He's got a little skills in his raps" (AP, 8/11).

    STRONG SEQUEL: ADWEEK's Gabriel Beltrone wrote the ad "leans hard into its own stupidity, delivering a 3-minute blitz that builds from a football filled with nachos to an auto-tuned Eli Manning floating in space," and includes a cameo from Jets RB Chris Johnson. Beltrone: "Extra points to the broadcast brand's agency, Grey New York, for not dropping the ball on the sequel" (ADWEEK.com, 8/11). CBSSPORTS.com's Will Brinson wrote there is "no shortage of amusement or randomness in this ad." Most of it is "silly stuff with the Manning brothers pretending to be rappers," but there could be a "five-picture still photo shoot of that and it'd be amusing" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/11). In Chicago, Phillip Thompson wrote the "only thing the Mannings are missing in their latest rap video for DirecTV is the brothers joyriding in a stripped down Maybach. But there is a Pegasus, so ..." (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 8/11). BLEACHER REPORT's Dan Carson wrote, "This isn’t madness -- this is Manning" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 8/11). In DC, Cindy Boren wrote the ad is "utterly spectacular" and "just what mid-August needed." It is "a little more surreal and slickly produced than last year's summer blockbuster classic" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/11).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, DirecTV, NFL
  • Toyota To Pull Superimposed On-Field Ads After Backlash From 49ers Fans

    Giant red letters showing "Toyota Red Zone" were superimposed on the field

    Toyota "won't show the 'Toyota Red Zone' anymore" during NFL preseason broadcasts, according to Susanna Kim of ABC NEWS. Toyota, the 49ers' exclusive auto partner, had its ad superimposed in "giant red letters showing 'Toyota Red Zone'" during Thursday's 49ers-Ravens game. Toyota spokesperson Sona Iliffe-Moon said, "We've heard fan feedback and it's not our intention to distract from the joy of the game. ... During the remainder of the 49ers' pre-season games, fans and viewers should no longer see the Toyota Red Zone once the ball is snapped." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that superimposed on-field advertising would "take place during the pre-season only" (ABCNEWS.com, 8/9). ADWEEK's Sam Thielman noted the Northern California Toyota Dealers Association "created the scaled back campaign as part of its multiyear deal" with the 49ers and Levi's Stadium. The car dealers "also set up a Toyota Plaza inside the new stadium and committed to supporting the 49ers’ community outreach programs." Meanwhile, NFL Network "plans to continue allowing red-zone advertising throughout the preseason but not during the regular season" (ADWEEK.com, 8/11).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, San Francisco 49ers, Toyota, NFL
  • LaMarcus Aldridge Says Endorsements Are "Difficult" To Land Playing In The Northwest

    Aldridge expects to re-up with Nike when his deal expires in September

    Trail Blazers C LaMarcus Aldridge is fulfilling his role as a spokesperson for Vita Coco, and although it may not be the "sexiest endorsement product in the world," the coconut water is still a "national brand, and Aldridge is happy to have the work," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. A "recent photo shoot was part of Vita Coco's Athlete Program" and features Aldridge, Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig, Chargers LB Manti Te'o, Falcons WR Julio Jones and Bengals RB Giovani Bernard. All the athletes have "yearlong deals that will feature them on outdoor billboards and in print, digital and in-store marketing programs." Aldridge said, "I think it's maybe more difficult (in the Northwest) to find different avenues to market and things like that. But I think eventually you find opportunities. I mean, they wanted somebody in the Northwest. And it just worked out for us, (and) the same way with Nike." Aldridge said that his deal with Nike "expires in September but he was likely to re-up." Aldridge: "I've been with them over a decade. I don't see that changing" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/9).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, Nike
  • Marketplace Roundup

    In New Jersey, Eliot Shorr-Parks noted Eagles RB LeSean McCoy is featured in a new ad for Bounce dryer sheets in which he "holds a fake press conference admitting to using PEDs -- 'Potential Enhancing Dryer Sheets.'" The spot "comes after McCoy tweeted out a video of him effortlessly throwing a 45-pound weight over his head like a frisbee." Bragging about "going for 2,000 rushing yards might also be part of the ad campaign" (NJ.com, 8/11).

    RATED PG-13: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell cited sources as saying that Pacers F Paul George "applied for and was granted the right to switch from No. 24 to No. 13." Because George applied for the change "before the March deadline, he doesn't have to pay for the remaining old No. 24s on the market." But sources said that he "still elected to do so." George had been "dropping hints of the change to fans" over the last month, having "tweeted trece, which means 13 in Spanish, seven times." George finished the '13-14 NBA season 15th in jersey sales (ESPN.com, 8/11).

    GETTING THEIR KICKS: FC Dallas announced a deal with Chase, making the bank a signature partner, focusing on the FC Dallas youth and college prep programs. The deal marks Chase's first sports sponsorship in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, and its first with an MLS club. The team held its first community clinic on Saturday (FC Dallas).

    CORKED BAT: The Mariners announced a partnership with MLB licensee Wine By Design and will release the Seattle Mariners Wine Collection. Wine By Design partnered with Washington-based Maryhilll Winery to produce '11 Columbia River Valley Red and White wines, which can be purchased at MLB.com and at Seattle-area retailers (Mariners).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
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