SBJ/June 17-23, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketers hail ‘sense’ of USAA deal with Griffin

USAA, the insurance brand that serves military members and their families, has signed Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to an endorsement deal.

Griffin, whose parents were in the Army, is the first active NFL player signed by USAA, which is in its third year of a four-year NFL league deal. USAA, the NFL’s official military appreciation sponsor, also has marketing ties to former Dallas Cowboys and Navy quarterback Roger Staubach.

“He [Griffin] was at the top of our list,” said Don Clark, USAA executive director of marketing. “Obviously, his military ties are strong and impressive, and they’re something that will further solidify our relationship with the NFL. As the son of two Army sergeants, he understands the military lifestyle along with our core values of discipline and dedication.”

USAA will use Griffin to buttress its NFL ties and amp up its message of military appreciation with a multimedia campaign. Shooting is expected to begin this week. His parents are part of the deal as well and will be used in the marketing.

“Everyone in marketing, especially sports marketing, talks about authenticity,” said David Abrutyn, senior vice president/global head of consulting at IMG, USAA’s sports agency. “This fit is so apparent, you really don’t have to explain it.”

“This deal made so much sense, we had been thinking about it for a year,” said Mark Heligman at CAA Sports, which represents Griffin.

Griffin’s other endorsements are with Adidas, Gatorade, Nissan, Subway, EvoShield and Peach State Sports.

Meanwhile, USAA has NFL team sponsorships with Denver, San Diego, Washington and Seattle, and is looking to add a few more before this season. Clark added that USAA’s NFL ties have helped increase brand awareness and escalated positive perception of the company.

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