SBJ/December 10-16, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

LeadDog expands Hispanic practice with acquisition of BRC

Terry Lefton
LeadDog Marketing is expanding its Hispanic practice through the acquisition of Brad Rothenberg’s BRC Group, San Francisco, and with it, BRC’s Alianza de Futbol Hispano property, which calls itself the largest grassroots soccer program in the United States, with 10 stops across the country.

Rothenberg and BRC partner Richard Copeland founded the agency in 2003. They will now be on the management committee within LeadDog leading that agency’s Hispanic efforts. “LeadDog gives us resources we just don’t have, and they are just fanatical event operators,” Rothenberg said.

Said LeadDog founder Dan Mannix, “Alianza is a great property that will grow, and we already have a 40-person multicultural/Hispanic staff that BRC will complement nicely. Obviously we get a presence in San Francisco with this, and we are expanding our Hispanic offerings even more.”

LeadDog, New York, continues to grow in all aspects. Mannix said the agency should close its 2012 books with around 150 employees and 25 percent growth to around $30 million in billings. NASCAR, Rodale and WWE are among the biggest sports clients.
 
> TECH TOUCHDOWN: Lenovo, the NFL’s official personal computer as of this season, is turning to the Web for some activation with new endorsers Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins’ rookie quarterback sensation, along with Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte.

The Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III is starring in fantasy football-themed online vignettes for Lenovo that are tied to a sweepstakes.
Photo by: JOE SCARBOROUGH
A digital media campaign will direct consumers to the Funny Or Die website for a series of “fantasy coach” vignettes in which the players appear in uniform. Seeking fantasy points, the “coach” asks RG III to take a page out of Greg Schiano’s playbook and fake a kneel down at the end of a game, instead running for a touchdown. Similarly, the quarterback is asked to bounce a pass off his center and catch it “to get fantasy points for passing and receiving.” Lenovo products are integrated within the production, but in keeping with the mores of digital marketing, there’s no overt selling message.

“We use our NFL rights to demonstrate our ties and authenticity, and at the same time be a little different because we don’t have the media spend of some of the large league partners,” said David Rabin, Lenovo executive director of North American marketing.

An accompanying sweepstakes overlay offers a top prize composed of nearly every NFL event. The winner gets trips to the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Combine, NFL draft, training camp and a season-ticket package to their favorite team.

Eventually, Lenovo will build a technology demonstration platform within the NFL, a la IBM, the league’s last technology sponsor. As a sponsor that signed a month or so before the season began, the sponsorship has been leveraged though heavy hospitality with the Carolina Panthers, the Redskins and the Bears, where Lenovo has complemented with local sponsorships. Lenovo has buys across the NFL’s prime-time games on NFL Network, NBC and ESPN, and we’ve also seen Lenovo/NFL end caps at top consumer electronics retailer Best Buy.

So how about an early evaluation on the efficacy of those expensive NFL marketing rights?

“For consumers and business customers, the NFL had added a lot of credibility and we’ve been able to reach new consumer and business segments,” Rabin said. “Over time, [NFL rights] will increase sales for us and increase the premium that we can charge for our products.”

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