SBJ/December 19-25, 2011/Year End

Worth another look

Fans grill jersey sponsor
Photo by: Getty Images

The MLS Philadelphia Union received some push-back when it served up Bimbo Bakeries as the team’s jersey sponsor. The company is pronounced BEEM-bo, but the common mispronunciation of Bimbo caused an initial stir, especially among female fans.
However, team officials were confident that time, and a little marketing, would correct the confusion. Said Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz: “In the focus groups and discussions I’ve had with women, the vast majority of them think it’s just the coolest thing. They think it’s fun.”

Stuck on you

“What we’ve found is that with the colleges, you have a mass of people who are emotionally connected with their school. And the [do-it-yourselfers] have a strong emotional connection to duct tape. With two highly emotional items, you’ve got lightning in a bottle.”
So said Robert Cuthbertson, the category manager for the Duck brand, while outlining plans for college-themed duct tape.
And how did the Duck brand celebrate the product launch? With none other than a fashion show featuring cheerleading outfits made from duct tape.

Body paint doesn’t ring this Bell
Vancouver Whitecaps jersey sponsor Bell Canada blasted a team marketing video that featured a female model with a Whitecaps jersey painted onto her body, including the Bell logo across her chest. Said a Bell spokeswoman: “We understand that they’re an exuberant new team eager to get the word out, but this marketing effort clearly didn’t fit with Bell’s expectations.”
To which Kim Jackman, Whitecaps director of marketing, replied: “You could look in a Victoria’s Secret catalog … and see more exposed people.”

Upon further review
The CFL Toronto Argonauts replaced a controversial ad for the team’s season home opener after a Toronto City Council member complained the ad might be interpreted as encouraging domestic violence. Posters appearing on Toronto Transit Commission subway cars and stations featured a picture of a tough-looking player with the words, “Home is where the heart is. It’s also where we hurt people.”

One ‘bum’ deal

United Kingdom female beach volleyball players Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney rented out their bikinis in an advertising deal that encouraged spectators to photograph their behinds. The QR code, when photographed on a smartphone, took the user to a website sponsored by betting firm Betfair.

Kids, cover your eyes!
The NLL Boston Blazers’ halftime show during a January game at TD Garden featured scantily clad dancers competing to see who could give the team’s mascot, Scorch, the best lap dance. The racy stunt made the rounds on YouTube and outraged many fans, forcing the team to issue an apology.

‘Kegasus’ horses around

The Maryland Jockey Club unveiled a marketing campaign for the Preakness Stakes centered around Kegasus, a centaur with a nipple ring, body hair and a beer gut. The campaign sought to reassure young people that infield festivities would be rowdy. The campaign drew criticism for being tasteless and encouraging binge drinking, but the jockey club said Kegasus could deliver young people to the race. Indeed that proved to be the case, as the event enjoyed strong ticket sales.

College donor wants a refund
Robert Burton gave the University of Connecticut $3 million to build the Burton Family Football Complex, but this year asked for his money back and requested that the family’s name be removed from the building. Burton cited disagreements with the school’s athletic director over the decision to hire Paul Pasqualoni as UConn’s football coach. Burton, however, dropped his request a couple of weeks later and was back in the fold.

No donation on beer pong night
The independent CanAm League Newark Bears scrapped plans to donate $2,000 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, as the team had planned to announce the donation on the same night it was holding a beer pong tournament promotion.

Team hits targets, exec gets inked
Photo by: Carl Manteau / Lake Erie Monsters

Jeff Bowler, director of ticket sales for the Lake Erie Monsters, got an ambigram tattoo after his sales team hit certain goals. A three-month sales campaign put the Monsters among the leaders in new business in the 30-team American Hockey League.

Not so Spartan effort
Victoria’s Secret created a Michigan State T-shirt complete with a Spartan logo as part of its Pink Collegiate Collection. However, the front read “Spartans: Hail to the victors,” which is the University of Michigan fight song. The shirt quickly disappeared from the Victoria’s Secret website.

Stealing gnome
Photo by: Milwaukee Brewers

A “Where’s Bernie?” promotion by the Milwaukee Brewers to bring attention to Milwaukee County Parks and the team’s Spring Madness ticket sale turned sour when an undetermined number of collectors grabbed more than their share of the Bernie Brewer lawn ornaments and, in some cases, put them up for bid on Craigslist and eBay.
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