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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

TD Ameritrade today announced a media buy with NBC and sponsorship of the USOC for the '12 London Games. The deal makes TD Ameritrade the USOC's first official online brokerage. Sources valued the deal, which is primarily a media buy, at more than $20M. It is the first of three deals NBC and the USOC hope to cut together in the banking category. Last fall, the broadcaster and Olympic organization partnered together for the first time on a joint-marketing effort in the banking category. They planned to sell packages that included media and rights to the USOC's five-ring logo in the online brokerage, private wealth management and retail banking categories. TD Ameritrade's media buyer, MediaVest, worked on the sale with NBC and Rob Prazmark's 21 Marketing, which is under contract to represent the USOC in the joint-marketing effort. The deal builds on the NBC ad sales team's recent momentum around the London Games. It recently closed the auto category by signing an exclusive domestic advertising deal with GM and exclusive foreign automotive deal with BMW. TD Ameritrade told associates of the deal yesterday. The company's former CEO, Joe Moglia, was a finalist for the USOC CEO job last year, but sources said he had nothing to do with the deal.

Panini America has signed Thunder F Kevin Durant to an exclusive multiyear deal for trading cards and memorabilia. He will be featured in Panini's Absolute Memorabilia card line, to be released in March. Durant, along with Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Wizards G John Wall, will be part of the forthcoming launch of Panini Authentic, a line of signed memorabilia. Durant, who did a recent signing of cards, basketballs and Nike shoes for Panini, will also be included in the company's advertising. Meanwhile, Panini will have Lakers F Ron Artest and Spurs G Tony Parker make appearances at L.A.-area Walmart locations during All-Star Game festivities this weekend.

Nike confirmed that it hired ESPN "College GameDay" hosts Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit to "serve as emcees at Nike events," according to Alan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike Senior Manager for Global Public Affairs Erin Dobson said that Fowler, Corso and Herbstreit “are the only broadcasters with whom the company has such a relationship.” Dobson in an e-mail said, "We use them to M.C. events. They are savvy and knowledgeable about sport and are talented presenters." Dobson added that Nike “produces hundreds of events a year.” Brettman notes one such event “occurred last December at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to introduce a line of Nike football products,” with the net's Desmond Howard serving as emcee. Football HOFer and CBS’ Dan Fouts also served as emcee last month at a Nike-sponsored event in Scottsdale, Ariz. Dobson said that Corso, Fowler and Herbstreit “are the only broadcasters with whom the company has public appearance agreements.” ESPN officials “did not respond to repeated requests for comment” (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/17).

WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE? Author David Cay Johnston in an opinion piece for wrote the “payments that Disney lets some of its ESPN on-air reporters take can be described in one word: corrupt.” Fowler, Herbstreit and Corso, along with "GameDay" correspondent Erin Andrews, who has an endorsement deal with Reebok, "are doing work that is entirely assailable every time footwear comes up, whether in reports about those ethically challenged deals footwear companies make with supposedly amateur college teams or during color commentary on whose feet slipped on wet turf.” Johnston asks, “What ethical standards, if any, does Disney CEO Bob Iger apply to Disney journalists? … What distinctions does it draw between ‘reporters’ and ‘personalities’ who appear side-by-side covering the same games, the same events, the teams, all influencing public perceptions?” Johnston: “Iger can do nothing. He can look the other way. But if Iger does nothing his inaction will only arouse suspicions about every journalistic enterprise Disney is engaged in” (, 2/16).

MEDIABISTRO’s Bob Marshall reported adidas is “turning to the folks at Stardust to create animated shorts" featuring Magic C Dwight Howard and Bulls G Derrick Rose. The two new spots feature Howard and Rose “immersed in a mix of cell animation and live-action footage.” The spots are directed by Stardust’s Jake Banks and are “inspired by techniques used on A-Ha’s breakthrough music video” for “Take on Me” (, 2/14).

DON'T GIMME SHELTER: AD AGE's Nat Ives noted Lakers G Kobe Bryant last fall appeared in a "violent commercial" for Activision's "Call of Duty: Black Ops" video game, but NBA Commissioner David Stern indicated that the ad posed for the league a "chance not to interfere." Stern, speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' TV & Everything Video Forum, said, "There's a lot we do that can be viewed as intrusive to protect our brand. I mean, that's the deal. But we look for places not to be intrusive. This was one where we saw it on the fringes and we didn't reach out and grab it" (, 2/16).

YOU CAN GO LOWER: MEDIAPOST’s Tanya Irwin noted Basketball HOFer Karem Abdul-Jabbar made a “cameo appearance in a Priceline TV spot" that debuted Monday. William Shatner, Priceline's celebrity spokesperson, stars in the spots along with actress Naomi Pryce "as his sidekick.” Priceline spokesperson Brian Ek said the spot is a spoof on Shatner and Pryce "using different disguises as part of their negotiations." Ek: "Having little Naomi disguise herself as Kareem, we thought was pretty funny." The ad was created by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, California (MARKETING DAILY, 2/16 issue ).

SWISS MISTER: IMG Senior VP Tony Godsick, who has represented tennis player Roger Federer since ’05, indicated that he "always underlines" Federer’s Swiss nationality, which Godsick "believes is priceless when it comes to selling his image abroad.” Godsick: “Roger is a global icon and we see to it that his brand develops internationally. What makes him so attractive for all the big companies is the fact that he is Swiss. Switzerland is a small country with which one associates loyalty, luxury, precision and perfection. Now, whether he’s in France, Asia, the United States or elsewhere, he’s welcomed as though he were at home” (, 2/14).

TOO EARLY FOR A WISH LIST? JS International has signed a license agreement with golfer Colin Montgomerie to create a range of golfing gifts and accessories that will be launched throughout Europe, with it initially coming out in the U.K. in time for Christmas. IMG Licensing, which brokered the deal, also is looking to extend Montgomerie’s brand into other licensing categories such as food, beverage and apparel (IMG).

NOTES: In San Antonio, Tim Griffin reported Spurs G Manu Ginobili “filmed a commercial for Gillette in Spanish targeted to consumers back in his home country of Argentina.” The spot is titled “The Manu Ginobili Manifesto” (, 2/14)….Mutual of Omaha named swimmers Dagny Knutson, Ryan Lochte, Josh Schneider, Eric Shanteau, Dana Vollmer and Dave Walters to its Gold Medal Team (Mutual of Omaha).

USA TODAY’s Robert Klemko notes 2K Sports is "using Facebook to build one of the Internet's fastest-growing gaming communities" around its NBA video game franchise. “NBA2K” is “second to FIFA's 1.9 million fans” with more than 800,000 "likes" on Facebook, about “600,000 more than it had at this time a year ago.” GamrReview reports "NBA 2K11" has sold 1.71 million U.S. copies for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and “is on pace to become the best-selling basketball game in the history of the systems by the end of this month.” The October release of the Michael Jordan-themed game “fueled the Facebook fan surge” (USA TODAY, 2/17).

HOT ON THE MARKET: In Calgary, Sean Myers noted the NHL said that 15,000 Heritage Classic jerseys “have already been sold with expectations for a busy week ahead,” and retailers in the city also “report brisk sales” of merchandise for Sunday's Canadiens-Flames outdoor game. Calgary-based Jersey City has “sold a lot of the limited edition Calgary jerseys in the store along with all the other memorabilia including T-shirts, caps, scarves and toques” (CALGARY HERALD, 2/15).

GEOGRAPHY REPORT: In California, Jeff Miller noted Nike is "marketing a T-shirt that reads 'The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles,'" a play on the Angels' name. Miller wrote the slogan is "so six years ago," and wondered, "Who, exactly, is going to buy this shirt?" But he added, "We're guessing these shirts will pop up -- especially during interleague time -- around Chavez Ravine" (, 2/15).

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