SBJ/April 14-20, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

The jerky boys: Oberto lines up sports talent for new TV ad

Beef jerky is the last product we’d expect to adopt a “good for you” positioning, but that’s the proposition behind Seattle-based Oberto Beef Jerky, which markets itself as being “all natural” with “no preservatives” and “no artificial ingredients.”
  
Backing that message in a new TV ad stating that Oberto’s jerky is “What your stomach really wants” is a beefy collection of sports talent. The spot includes Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman; U.S. men’s national team captain and Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey; snowboarder Louie Vito; and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who provides the voice and personality of the athletes’ stomachs, which are clamoring for some Oberto’s jerky. The shoot was done recently in Los Angeles, and we are told it should be ready in time to air during the NBA playoffs, which begin Saturday.

Headline Media Management of New York represents Smith.

> LESS IS MORE: As consumers shun the traditional advertising that supports conventional media, every brand is turning to content creation to retain viewer attention span. An interesting test of this approach will be the handful of New York Mets games being sold on the team’s

Clint Dempsey, Brian Urlacher, and Louie Vito are all on board with Oberto’s jerky.

SportsNet New York RSN as being “limited commercial interruption telecasts.”
  
Yes that’s a mouthful, so SNY marketers are working on a sexier name. What it means is that in three or four broadcasts, SNY’s network commercial breaks will be replaced by sponsored content, mostly live and created by SNY in cooperation with some of the team’s and RSN’s largest corporate sponsors. The local commercial breaks will remain in place for the affiliates.
  
Citi and Verizon have signed on already, but the first “limited commercial” game won’t be until May, at the earliest.

During spring training, Comcast SportsNet Chicago broadcast two contests, a Cubs game and a White Sox game, without commercials, substituting features that included miked-up coaches and White Sox catcher Josh Phegley providing a behind-the-plate view by wearing a GoPro camera.

SNY President Steve Raab said the content being developed for his RSN will include live interviews and behind-the-scenes features. Just how overt the branding will be within these segments is also to be determined.

It’s an intriguing test, but not necessarily an easy sales proposition. Despite all the buzz surrounding content development by brands, we’ve always observed that marketers duplicate more than they originate.
  
“This is a place advertisers say they want to be, but many have a hard time pulling the trigger,” Raab acknowledged. “So much of advertising is numbers-driven, so it takes a leap of faith and a degree of comfort and trust to take a new approach. So you’ve seen us with early commitments from partners who know and trust us.”

SNY Chief Revenue Officer Brian Erdlen noted that among those advertisers picking up more traditional offerings is first-timer Coldwell Banker and 3M.

Also, Unilever’s Good Humor brand is the new official ice cream for the Mets, with an integrated package that includes SNY ads, title rights to the Citi Field Fan Fest area, signage and “scooping rights” at Citi Field concessions. Other new national advertisers on Mets SNY broadcasts include Ace Hardware, Cooper Tire, and Nestlé for its San Pellegrino and Nestea brands.

The Guinness International Champions Cup has signed MasterCard, Pepsi and Chevrolet.

> REBOOT: MasterCard, Pepsi and Chevrolet are in as sponsors of the Guinness International Champions Cup soccer tournament this summer, running July 24 to Aug. 4, just after the FIFA World Cup. “We’re looking for the World Cup halo, and we have some players that will be coming here to play immediately after they finish up in Brazil,” said Peter Murray, CEO at Insignia Sports & Entertainment, which is handling sales for the Champions Cup.

Among the eight participating teams are Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and AS Roma, as the tournament expands from six U.S. market last year to 12 this year, including the Big House at the University of Michigan and both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in New York.

Domestic television is via Fox Sports and FS1. International distribution will see the tourney televised in more than 150 countries.

> CARDED: Consensus NBA lottery pick Dante Exum has signed an exclusive trading card deal with Panini, the NBA’s sole trading card licensee. The 18-year-old Exum, a member of the Australian national team, will be featured on packaging, participate in social media and marketing initiatives, and sign memorabilia for Panini Authentic.
Exum’s first NBA trading cards and autographed cards will arrive at retail in October with the release of ’14-15 NBA Hoops Basketball.

Exum is represented by Rob Pelinka at Landmark Sports.

> COMINGS & GOINGS: At Madison Square Garden, former SportsBusiness Journal, NASCAR and Nets/Barclays Center marketer Amos Varon has been promoted from senior director of sales of sports and entertainment partnerships to vice president, sports and entertainment. He will be selling sports at the arena, along with bookings, productions and events at the renovated Forum in Los Angeles, The Chicago Theatre, and the Beacon Theatre and Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

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


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