SBJ/May 16 - 22, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

GM renews with NFL, secures a role in Detroit Super Bowl

General Motors has agreed to terms to extend its NFL corporate sponsorship, a development that will ensure that GM vehicles are on the sideline and awarded to the MVP of next year’s Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit.

Sources said that details on the NFL’s biggest offseason renewal, which should be a four- or five-year extension, were to be completed at last week’s NFL Sponsor Summit in Florida. What is known is that the pending extension includes support for automotive brands other than Cadillac, which has thus far been the focus of the sponsorship, and a large advertising buy on the NFL Network.

GM has been an NFL corporate sponsor since 2001.

BUILT FOR SPEED:

Sharapova, here making a Colgate-Palmolive ad for Europe, will be on a U.S. spot soon.
The debut earlier this month of Colgate-Palmolive’s initial television spot with endorser Maria Sharapova for its Lady Speed Stick, Palmolive and Soft & Gentle deodorant brands in six European markets presages a move into the United States expected before the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29.

Creative for the U.S. ads has not been determined, but one intriguing concept making the rounds at Colgate-Palmolive’s agency, Young & Rubicam, has Sharapova sharing the stage with fellow Speed Stick endorser Alex Rodriguez, reminiscent of Gatorade’s 1999 ad with Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm. With the demand on Rodriguez’s time during the baseball season, however, we’re told that ad isn’t likely to be shot until after the current MLB season.

As for the rationale behind using Sharapova? “Her appeal for us is one of ‘modern femininity,’” said Mary-Ann Somers, Colgate-Palmolive’s worldwide director for antiperspirants. “It’s the idea of strength and confidence with grace.”

Colgate-Palmolive is the latest deal secured by IMG since Sharapova’s Wimbledon win last July, joining Motorola, Canon, Tag Heuer, Sega and Parlux, which is launching a Sharapova fragrance during the U.S. Open. A Canon TV ad breaks soon in the United States.

TITLE RIGHTS FOR WOMEN’S TOUR: The Women’s Senior Golf Tour hopes to follow the men’s golf tour by dropping “Senior” from its name by next year. Also on the marketing agenda, said Therese Byrne, chief marketing officer at the Jane Blalock Co., which manages the tour, is building the tour from its quartet of events to as many as 12 events over the next five years, and finding a tour title sponsor willing to pay an asking price of $3 million a year.

HERE & THERE: Woody Thompson has been elevated to executive vice president at Octagon, heading its Norwalk, Conn.-based corporate consulting group, with clients including Viagra, MasterCard and Nextel. … At MLB, Jeremy Cohen has been promoted from senior account executive to director, overseeing marketing partnerships in the corporate sales and marketing division. … Eric Handler departs CSTV for the YES Network in New York in a similar role as director of communications. … Peter Caparis has departed Scott Boras’ Impact Marketing and put out his own shingle in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., as the Caparis Group. His first client is the Boys Club. … Becky Collet, longtime assistant to David D’Alessandro, to Boston University as associate director of athletics. Collet will try to raise the visibility of the athletic programs in concert with the traditional sports information department.

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

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