SBJ/November 14-20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

LRMR offers small firms a big name

LRMR Marketing & Branding has struck a promotional deal with lip balm brand Carmex to run a fan contest on LeBronJames.com, a template for future digital-only marketing deals between the Miami Heat superstar and smaller companies.

LeBron James’ agency is signing digital deals that don’t require his personal involvement in promotion.
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In the Carmex pact, fans are encouraged to “Share Your Game,” writing on LeBronJames.com how the product aids them in their daily lives. The promotion, running until April, carries a heavy social media component, as those fan-submitted entries are also distributed on Twitter and Facebook. Fans are then eligible for a variety of weekly prizes, including Nike.com and NBA.com gift cards and cash. A $4,000 grand prize, given as a cashier’s check, is touted as something that “can be used for airfare to Miami, hotel and game tickets.”

James, a longtime user of Carmex, approved the deal, but he is not personally involved in the promotional effort. LRMR is in the midst of signing several similar marketing deals around LeBronJames.com that carry a far lower price tag than a traditional multimillion-dollar endorsement pact based around James himself.

“This is the kind of deal that not only makes sense for a smaller company like Carmex, but also to create a two-way conversation with the fan,” said Maverick Carter, LRMR chief executive. “We think this is a different kind of strategy that is going to be very important for us going forward.”

The value of the deal was not revealed, but Carmex is spending a six-figure sum on the LeBronJames.com effort, according to industry sources.

Lip balm brand Carmex is running a fan contest on LeBronJames.com.
The digital-only marketing concept has been in the works for many months, predating LRMR’s formal alignment with Fenway Sports Management that was announced in April.

But more recently, the Boston agency, which has done extensive work on its own within digitally based sports marketing, has aided LRMR in refining and developing the effort.
Carmex became interested in working with James in some capacity after discovering that not only is he a regular user of the product, but he also makes it a standard part of a his pregame routine — something that is most widely known for his powder toss.

“We knew that we wanted to be aligned with LeBron somehow given his use of Carmex,” said Patrick Hodgdon, community specialist for Minneapolis-based Bolin Marketing, which works with Carmex on their promotional outreach. “So we were very pleased to have the opportunity to get in at this smaller level. It’s sort of a classic crawl, walk, run approach where we get started at this level and try to build from there.”
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