SBJ/July 22-28, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

NFL’s pre-camp commercial filming season is in full swing

Terry Lefton
Knowing the NFL calendar as we do, we can confirm that while training camps open in late July, the season of NFL commercial shoots has been under way since June.

That portion of the NFL season continued in full swing last week, with NFL sponsor Gillette filming its latest round of commercials at a Los Angeles studio with Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews will be buttressed by an impressive addition of NFL talent: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (whom Matthews is replacing in the Campbell’s Chunky Soup campaign) along with Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin and New England wide receiver Danny Amendola.

An interesting subplot will play itself out with this campaign, since it’s the first work on Gillette by Grey Advertising since the agency wrestled the account from BBDO, New York, which had it since 1966. Procter & Gamble spends more than $125 million in measured media supporting the Gillette brand domestically.

Robert Griffin III, Subway’s “lead NFL guy,” shot spots in Brooklyn.
Photo by: SUBWAY
Meanwhile, Subway shot Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in Brooklyn for spots likely to debut on preseason NFL games. “Robert is our lead NFL guy now, and very quickly, he has established a connection and credibility with a younger audience we’re going after,” said Paul Bamundo, Subway’s director of sports marketing and partnerships. He gave no specifics on the creative.
 
> RUNNING AWAY: Whereas regular readers of this space have known this since late last year, for those who care about formalities, sources tell us that ING officially informed the New York Road Runners last week that it is exiting as title sponsor of the New York City Marathon after a 10-year, er, run. Still, the ING nameplate will remain on the event this year. Following a tumultuous year in which the NYC Marathon was canceled in the aftermath of the damage from Hurricane Sandy, you might think sales prospects for a new title partner were slim.

However, we continue to hear that there are a surprising number of potential sponsors kicking the tires of a new title deal, to which the NYRR has affixed an asking price of $10 million per year for a deal that would span a decade. One brand we keep hearing being mentioned in relation to this is BMW, which, we’re told, is seeking distinction in the crowded luxury auto segment and certain that many of its affluent customers are runners, or at least running aficionados. However, some parties in the burgeoning health care segment have also expressed, we’re told.

Talks on the NYRR’s biggest-ever sponsorship deal continue as the association continues to recast its sponsorship offerings after longtime sales chief Ann Wells Crandall left for a job with Pac-12 Properties and was replaced by John Gassner. Under the new regime, NYRR is looking to sell five, low-seven-figure “Founding Partner” sponsorships, and its current roster of 40 to 50 sponsors will be winnowed to a more manageable number. The NYRR also hired Rob Prazmark’s 21 Marketing, Greenwich, Conn., as a sales consultant early this year.
 
> TENNIS CHANNEL 2: FanVision has sold its first tennis deal, affiliating with the USTA to make its handheld video system available during the U.S. Open, an event that attracts around 700,000 people. “It’s our first tennis deal and at the Open, there are so many concurrent matches, we think it’s a unique application that fits the sport, so we are having conversations with the other majors,” said Peter Murray, a principal at Insignia, the New York-based sports marketing agency partly owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who also owns FanVision.
 
> COMINGS & GOINGS: Donna Goldsmith to LeadDog Marketing, New York City, as managing director of business operations. The former WWE and NBA marketer was last with Think Geek and the 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee. … Clara Lefton to Comcast’s Front Row Marketing Services, Philadelphia, as a market and strategy analyst, reporting to Mark Wise, Front Row’s director of strategy and insights. She’s spent the last 23 years as this writer’s loving daughter, a position in which she’ll continue. … Paul Volen, former executive at Turner Sports and the PGA Tour, to vice president, business operations for Fanatics. Volen will be responsible for new business and strategic initiatives and report to Fanatics President Jamie Davis.

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

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