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SBD Global/August 1, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Subway Announces Former Brazilian Football Player Pelé As Brand Ambassador

Pelé interacts with children during a Subway event in New York.
Subway announced on Wednesday that former soccer star Pelé has signed a multiyear deal to serve as a worldwide brand ambassador and join the restaurant's deep roster of athlete endorsers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Subway CMO Tony Pace said that Pelé will be featured in ads both by himself and with other Subway athletes. He will appear in Subway campaigns in multiple markets before the end of the year. Pace had been pursuing a deal with Pelé for a long time, having met the football star while a sportswriter covering the North American Soccer League N.Y. Cosmos for the Morristown Daily Record. Pace said, “The funny thing about marketing is everybody thinks it happens in an instant, but it really doesn’t. When we were thinking about what we were going to do way back when in 2006 (when Pace joined Subway), we were actually thinking of doing something with Pelé then.” Subway believes Pelé, who won three World Cups with Brazil and the ’77 NASL championship with the Cosmos, still has widespread appeal. Pace said, “The great thing about accessibility of information in the digital and social age is people can say ‘Pelé? Hmm, who’s he?’ They can check it out pretty quickly online.” Pace added of the deal, "People might look at this from the outside and say, 'This is very different from what you’ve done,' and honestly that’s a good thing, because it shows another dimension of our brand." The deal was made through Pelé’s agency of record, Legends 10, after an introduction by MediaCom Sport. The Subway announcement comes as Pelé is making several high-profile appearances, including lighting the Empire State Building Thursday, in advance of the Cosmos' return to the pitch Saturday.
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