SBJ/January 7-13, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

McDonald’s supersizes a new NCAA tournament promotion

Terry Lefton
With the help of pass-through rights from top-tier NCAA corporate champion Coca-Cola, McDonald’s is staging what is believed to be the company’s largest college sports promotion ever.

While we realize folks at the Golden Arches have generally stuck with pro properties for national promotions, this spring they’ll be depending on the power of March Madness and the Final Four to build restaurant traffic from March 12 through April 1. During that time, about 21 million “Win at the Buzzer” scratch-and-win game pieces will offer instant-win prizes including food, cash and other gifts supplied by NCAA corporate sponsors, including LG. Support for the program includes packaging on McDonald’s Angus burger, with game pieces also on packaging for the Egg McMuffin and large french fries. Media support includes TV, radio and point-of-sale.

Coke previously has passed through its NCAA rights to Papa John’s and more recently Domino’s Pizza. The fact that McDonald’s is now getting NCAA rights on the cheap tells us a lot about the amount of media support behind the program and the influence Coke has with the NCAA, even in the last year of its current deal.

Tom Shine has quietly left Reebok for XIX Entertainment.
Photo by: GORT PRODUCTIONS
> SHINE ON: Recently we’ve noted some of the country’s biggest brands, and those most heavily invested in sports marketing, attempting to further their marketing ROI by combining sports and entertainment marketing investments. From Coke’s Olympic “Move to the Beat” music platform to Pepsi’s current “NFL Anthems” campaign, the new programs just seem to make sense, especially when big brand expenditures for music and sports programs are easily into seven figures. We’ll have to wait and see if Pepsi’s Super Bowl tie is as impressive as Coke’s Olympic overture. However, we do have news of one sports marketer’s job change that underscores our contention that integration is more important than ever.

Longtime apparel and athletic footwear marketer Tom Shine, who has been senior vice president at AdidasReebok brand for the past 11 years and one of the footwear/apparel company’s most senior sports marketing execs, quietly left the company late last month to join Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment in a senior position. Shine’s title was still undetermined at press time, but he will report directly to Fuller.

“The [entertainment and athlete] talent that we’ve got under contract is huge,” said Shine, who will remain based in Indianapolis, home of Logo Athletic, the now-defunct licensed sports apparel company he founded in 1968. “The idea is to build them as brands, and bring some of the ones with marketing savvy from entertainment to sports, along with combining those disciplines.’’

Fuller and XIX Entertainment made their mark with “American Idol” and the rest of the global “Idol” franchise, which debuted in the U.K. under the name “Pop Idol” in 2001. However, Fuller’s group also represents some global sports stars already trying to make the jump into entertainment, including David Beckham — Fuller is credited as being a central figure in bringing Beckham to the U.S. — as well as top F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and tennis star Andy Murray. Fuller’s entertainment clients include Steven Tyler, Carrie Underwood and The Spice Girls, and his company has a joint venture with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

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

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