SBJ/Jan. 20-26, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • That new pitchman in the Advil TV spot? He’s a keeper

    Terry Lefton
    NNHL players are rarely used as endorsers in national campaigns, with goaltenders, who suffer from the same “Who’s under the helmet?” anonymity as NFL players, even less so. So when a goaltender lands a national endorsement deal, it’s well worth noting.

    Pfizer’s Advil brand of ibuprofen pain reliever has followed up its NHL league sponsorship by signing New York Rangers goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist to a multiyear endorsement contract. Grey Advertising recently shot a TV ad at the New York Rangers’ practice facility in Tarrytown, N.Y. The 31-year-old Lundqvist next month will play for the Swedish Olympic hockey team, one of the favorites to win the gold medal. There is scant word on creative details, but we’re told that it will show a new side of Lundqvist and that the ads will air by the end of February.

    Henrik Lundqvist, the man behind the mask
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    Lundqvist ranks third among NHL players in awareness among consumers tested for The Davie-Brown Index of celebrities. About 18 percent of U.S. consumers are aware of him, putting him on a par with sports personalities like Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein and Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim. The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin (25 percent awareness) and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (22 percent) are the top-ranked NHL players. Lundqvist’s Davie-Brown score for “appeal” is on par with San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, while his “endorsement” score is in the same neighborhood as the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and NBA hall of famer and broadcaster Charles Barkley.
     
    Advil signed a North American deal as the NHL’s official pain reliever last year, gaining with it a presence on league-controlled broadcast and digital assets, as well as on NBC and NBC Sports Network NHL telecasts.

    IMG
    handles marketing for Lundqvist, who has done an ESPN “SportsCenter” ad and also has deals with Fathead, Bauer and Procter & Gamble in Sweden.

    > BEER ON ICE: Labatt is another brand attempting to leverage the Olympic hockeytournament in Sochi. The brewer is leveraging its sponsorship with USA Hockey via historic logos on packaging across millions of cans of Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light beer in 15 Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic and New
    England states starting later this month.

    Support comes via retail display, related hockey gear for trade incentives and retail promotions. On the grassroots side, Labatt has also increased its pond hockey tournament from one to 13 local events, encompassing more than 2,000 players. Its USA Hockey-sanctioned adult recreation tournaments encompass 12 indoor sites. Labatt has NHL team deals with the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York
    Labatt is leveraging its sponsorship with USA Hockey as Sochi approaches.
    Islanders.
     
    Peter Stern’s New York-based Strategic agency handles.

    > COMINGS & GOINGS: Marco Gentile has joined the Baltimore Orioles as vice president of corporate partnerships, where he will oversee team sponsorships. Gentile had been with the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards as director of corporate sponsorships since 2007. This is Gentile’s second tour of duty with the Orioles; he was with the O’s from 1996 to 2007, last serving as national account sales manager for corporate sponsorship sales.

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

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