SBJ/December 3 - 9, 2001/Marketingsponsorship

McDonald’s bobblehead promo is first thing shaking for Iverson-Reebok

An Allen Iverson bobblehead doll premium for the 300-plus Philadelphia-area McDonald's restaurants is the first manifestation of a deal under which Reebok now controls all of the reigning NBA MVP's marketing rights, including sneaker and apparel exclusivity.

The "lifetime" Reebok/Iverson deal was announced last week. Sources at the league and at McDonald's franchises said the bobblehead promotion will break in mid-January and conclude before the Feb. 10 NBA All-Star Game in Philadelphia. Three Iverson bobbleheads will be offered for $4.99 apiece with the purchase of any Coca-Cola beverage at McDonald's.

As Iverson's new marketing partner, Reebok gets some incremental exposure: Iverson as a bobblehead will be wearing his newest Reebok kicks, and Reebok will get some exposure on the boxes that contain the bobbleheads. As a charity spin-off, Iverson and McDonald's will refurbish outdoor basketball courts in New York, Philadelphia and Washington. The self-liquidating premium program gets more than $1 million in TV, radio and print advertising support.

Alliance Marketing Partners in Conshohocken, Pa., which recently did a Donovan McNabb doll promo, will handle the promotion for local McDonald's franchises.

The last Iverson bobblehead promotion caused as big a stir as any. The 76ers gave away 5,000 at a game against the Los Angeles Clippers last Feb. 16, causing some adults to "rent" children for the night to secure the coveted dolls. Last week, one of those dolls was fetching upwards of $200 on eBay.

MASTERCARD'S CUP PLANS: With the World Cup draw being held this week in Korea, sponsors trotting out their marketing plans. MasterCard says it will have 2 million to 3 million cards bearing World Cup marks this year. For the 1998 World Cup in France, there were around 1.5 million World Cup affinity cards.

"Priceless" World Cup ads will be seen around the world. Five ads already are being shown around the world, although if one is shown in the United States, it most likely will be in Spanish.

John Stuart, MasterCard's new senior vice president of global sponsorships and event marketing, said he also expects to top most other numbers from the last World Cup, in which MasterCard issuers in 71 countries leveraged with World Cup programs costing $81 million.

Stuart said MasterCard has an extension of its FIFA deal through 2006 all but finished and expects to sign it at the tourney.

GILLETTE BACK FOR MILLION: Gillette, a longtime proponent of million-dollar sports promos, got out of that business a few years back when the field started getting cluttered. Nonetheless, it will leverage its global World Cup sponsorship with a promo that will afford fans in more than 50 countries the opportunity to kick a ball at a target in a soccer goal for a cool million. The shot is set for June 29 in Yokohama, Japan, the day before the World Cup final.

SME: THE SEQUEL: SME is born again. The marketing, branding and design firm behind some of the best-selling sports logos of the halcyon sports licensing days of the '90s will relaunch early next year in New York under Ed O'Hara, an original SME partner. SME Branding was acquired by SFX/Clear Channel in 1999, when the holding company was building a sports empire. SME extricated itself from the SFX/Clear Channel Tower of Babel in July of this year, leaving with rights to the name, no noncompete clause and its intellectual property archives. The new SME, O'Hara promised, will be more about brand marketing while continuing its design expertise.

New SME clients: the Washington Capitals, the Minnesota Wild and the Major Indoor Soccer League.

COMINGS & GOINGS: Paul Kayaian to vice president of sales at Octagon Marketing. The ex-NBA, NFL, Starter and XFL marketer will be based in a new Manhattan Octagon office and report to fellow recent hire Paul Slagle, who is senior vice president of sales. Octagon represents properties that include the Gravity Games, Gorge Games and USA Track & Field. ... Errin Cecil Smith returns to sneaker/apparel marketer And 1 as director of PR. She left several years back as marketing director. ... Former NFL Properties marketer Eric Petrosinelli moved to New York-based Smartix as executive vice president of business development. ... Mike Kelly, Yahoo!'s director of marketing, is stationed in New York City as part of a move to establish more of an East Coast presence for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-headquartered portal.

Terry Lefton can be reached at tlefton@amcity.com.

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