SBJ/Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Brand Affinity, GMR team on athlete marketing

Brand Affinity Technologies and GMR Marketing have signed a multiyear partnership agreement in which they will work together on athlete-related endorsement and marketing efforts.

The pact, formalizing more than a year of occasional collaboration, will give GMR Marketing preferred access to BAT’s online endorsement platform involving more than 3,700 celebrities and athletes, real-time research and analytics, and new products, such as BAT’s interactive celebrity application Fantapper.

In turn, BAT will be GMR Marketing’s preferred outlet for any digital celebrity-related work coming out of the agency.

“We’re each going to do what we do best,” said Ryan Steelberg, president and chief executive for Irvine, Calif.-based BAT. “They’re going to handle overall marketing campaign management, and we’re going to stay laser-focused on the athlete and celebrity endorsement pieces of those campaigns. But it’s going to be a very effective partnership, and we think there are real gains to be had by being collaborative like this.”

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the transaction-based deal involves designating BAT as a preferred vendor of GMR and the establishment of pre-set fees for GMR Marketing to access BAT products and services. The deal is non-exclusive, and BAT may work with other traditional agencies, but it will primarily deal with GMR Marketing.

“Celebrity endorsements do still work, but it has to be the right talent against the right brand,” said Craig Connelly, president of Milwaukee-based GMR Marketing. “Working with BAT is going to make us a lot smarter and enable us to make much more informed, quantifiable decisions about those endorsements. It’s going to make us a better agency and should be seamless to our clients.”

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