SBJ/September 5 - 11, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

Browns’ top pick Edwards in midseason endorsement form

No one knows which NFL rookie will have the best season on the field, but it seems fairly certain that if Braylon Edwards, the No. 3 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns‚ produces on-field as well as he has already scored off it, he’ll be Rookie of the Year. The former Michigan wide receiver has cemented local deals with McDonald’s, Pepsi and Nike, all of which (especially Nike) don’t generally use NFL rookies in their marketing.

Supporting his new Pepsi affiliation, Edwards will have his image on 25 million cans and on life-size point-of-sale “standees” at convenience stores across northeast Ohio.

Besser
Stern Advertising, Cleveland, recently shot a TV spot for McDonald’s, touting its Quarter Pounder with Cheese, that features Edwards along with backup quarterback Charlie Frye in a McDonald’s drive-through. When Edwards is asked if he wants fries, he points to Frye as proof that he already has some, or at least one.

Meanwhile, Nike is using Edwards in an outdoor campaign that uses his image and the message “Welcome to the Dawg Pound.” Nike also will employ Edwards in a campaign for its Uprising retro jersey. And Edwards’ jersey, though not Edwards himself, is in one of the new TV ads for Campbell’s Chunky Soup brand.

On the broadcast side, Edwards will serve as a weekly correspondent for Sirius Satellite Radio and Fox Sports Net’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period.”

“Like [former Cleveland quarterbacks] Bernie Kosar or Brian Sipe, Braylon has the personality to be the face of the team in a town that’s desperate for a football star to latch onto,” said Reed Bergman of Playbook Marketing, which is handling marketing for Edwards, adding that local auto and telecom deals are pending.

MORE MEDALS FOR NFL: Activa Consumer Promotions, Houston, has no fewer than 11 collectible medallion promotions with NFL teams scheduled for this fall, along with a national NFL program in conjunction with USA Today.

Club promotions are being held with the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants and Jets in separate promos that will use a new product: mini die-cast footballs, with a lanyard to put them on, instead of the usual medallion collector’s album.

The USA Today promotion features the NFL’s “Road to 40” Super Bowl theme and will include 7-Eleven and Walgreens among its 7,500 to 8,000 points of distribution. The premiums have been effective circulation builders for newspapers, which sell the medallion sets over 20 to 30 days. Each medallion is available only with a coupon from that day’s paper.

Carl’s Jr. will give away a Chargers schedule poster through a license from Players Inc.
ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? San Diego-area Carl’s Jr. restaurants are leveraging the company’s Chargers sponsorship with a poster giveaway in September. Customers buying any combo meal get a 16-by-20 poster via a license from Players Inc. that includes action shots, the team schedule and five Carl’s Jr. food coupons. There is radio and point-of-sales support. Ostern Sports Marketing, Simsbury, Conn., handles for Carl’s Jr.

COMPUTER MALFUNCTION: Sources tell us that a proposed $50 million USOC sponsorship by CompUSA has been scuttled due to lack of support by the computer retailer’s vendors and the unwillingness of the USOC to allow pass-through rights — a combination that would doom almost any retailer sponsorship.

CompUSA was hoping for some rub-off from the fact that “USA” is an integral portion of its brand. The proposed Olympic deal would have been its largest sports sponsorship ever.

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

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