SBJ/October 1-7, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marathon starts campaign; NFL effort targets women

Terry Lefton
The ING New York City Marathon breaks a campaign this week with the somewhat chauvinistic tag line “Everything Else Is a Warm-up.”

Developed by agency Doublespace, the campaign is designed to promote awareness and increase tune-in during a time when the Nov. 4 marathon is in the first year of a new five-year TV deal with ESPN that will give it more national exposure, via 3 1/2 hours of live race coverage from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Marathoners featured in the campaign are Meb Keflezighi, Firehiwot Dado and Amanda McGrory. Actor Edward Norton also is in the 30-second TV ad.

Ronnie Tucker, vice president of marketing and digital for New York Road Runners, parent of the ING New York City Marathon, said that according to recent research from Nielsen, “We have permission to be America’s marathon. The audience finds us compelling because while they know they can’t play in the Super Bowl, there’s a possibility they could run in the New York marathon if they got up off the couch.”

The $3 million-plus campaign’s media mix includes TV, radio, digital, out-of-home and print — The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and running publications, as well as the programs for the Chicago and Berlin marathons. Wonder how those races will feel about being called “a warm-up” in their own programs?

> LOUNGE LIZARDS: Continuing to bolster marketing support behind licensed product for female fans, the NFL and its licensees are supporting a series of “style lounges” at nine NFL stadiums this year.

The NFL and its licensees plan a series of “style lounges” at nine stadiums this year.
Photo by: NFL
Designed as a combination pop-up store and an experiential marketing play, the 40-by-60-foot customized tents will include photo booths, DJs spinning music, manicurists applying nail polish in team colors, and a “boutique retail environment” featuring a variety of NFL-licensed women’s merchandise such as performance apparel from Nike, apparel from the likes of 5th & Ocean, jewelry from LogoArt, cowboy hats from Little Earth, cowboy boots from Old Pro Leather and the aforementioned nail polish in team colors from KE Specialties.

Niceties largely unknown at licensed-product retailers but commonplace in department stores, like fitting rooms and mirrors, will help make buyers feel more at home and perhaps decide if “that jersey makes me look fat.”

The pop-up retail experience debuts outside the FedEx Great Hall (formerly the Coca-Cola Great Hall) at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on Sunday and will make additional appearances throughout the season at NFL venues in Indianapolis, Detroit, New Orleans, Kansas City, St. Louis, San Diego and Washington. In Baltimore, it will be installed in the Ravens’ locker room as part of the team’s sixth annual Purple Evening for female fans, which offers on-field football drills, football 101 and autograph sessions. All the other installations are on game days.

Eventive Marketing is staging the lounges for the NFL and its licensees.

“This is part retail and part marketing, so we’re looking for sales, of course, along with awareness of our products for women and media impressions,” said Tracey Bleczinski, vice president of consumer products at the NFL, adding that the program was tested at a New York Jets game last year. “We’re changing that NFL retail experience for our female fans so they can see licensed products in new ways and shop in an environment more like a department store.”

This is the third consecutive season that the NFL has bolstered marketing behind licensed products for women. Bleczinski would not say what percentage of NFL licensed sales women’s products represent — we’d be stunned if it was close to 20 percent — but noted it was the league’s fastest-growing consumer product category and product awareness was skyrocketing.

> COMINGS & GOINGS: Ben LaMarca leaves Source CommunicationsSource1 Sports unit, where he’d been a managing partner since September 2011, to put out his own shingle as The Calibrate Group, which will focus on how marketers can tap into the fan experience, and sponsor activation. … Former NFLer Eric Petrosinelli joins GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships, New York City, as a senior vice president. He’d been running his own consultancy, Five Star Sports, for the past eight years. … Meanwhile, leaving GroupM ESP after four years is Seth Jacobs, senior vice president, to join CAA Sports Corporate Consulting, a unit former GroupM ESP CEO Greg Luckman has headed since September 2011. Jacobs also worked with Luckman at Momentum.

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

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