Since the NFL lockout began just over two weeks ago, some networks "have been preparing contingency plans to air alternative programming in case games are canceled this fall," and advertisers also are "forging new plans and considering buying commercial time on other marquee programming should the work stoppage continue into the football season," according to Lauren Schuker of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Some advertisers "already have bought commercials on Viacom Inc. television networks as a backup." SMGx Senior VP & Dir Sam Armando: "Football is so important to networks and buyers that they can't afford not to plan ahead." While advertisers "haven't yet changed their usual May schedule for buying NFL ads," execs said that the "uncertainty has heated up the advertising market for other programming that draws large audiences." Golf, college football and primetime dramas are "among the areas attracting extra interest." MTV Music & Entertainment Head of Sales Jeff Lucas: "We have talked to all our clients, and they're nervous." Schuker notes some cable channels are taking an "aggressive approach." Spike TV is "considering developing several alternatives in case games are canceled on rival broadcast and cable channels." Spike President Kevin Kay said that the net is "contemplating booking a live boxing match on a Sunday night in the fall to capitalize on a possible NFL work stoppage." Spike also is "considering pushing up the start dates of its regular television series, such as football comedy 'Blue Mountain State,' which would begin in September rather than October." MTV's Lucas said that a "number of companies have already committed to advertising agreements on shows across the Viacom networks whether or not the work stoppage continues" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/28).
ON A WING AND A PRAYER: In Minneapolis, Mike Hughlett reported Buffalo Wild Wings "has taken to Facebook with a petition to end the lockout that threatens to wipe out some if not all of the upcoming football season." Buffalo Wild Wings is "running TV ads during the NCAA basketball tournament directing viewers to the e-petition," an effort dubbed "Save Our Season." The company's Facebook page reads, "We're not taking sides. We just want a football season. So join the movement to help us insure there is one" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/27).
Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen has "enough sizzle to captivate fans in Pittsburgh and around the country," as well as "enough marketability to singlehandedly sell scores of tickets and T-shirts," according to the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW's Rob Biertempfel, who wrote under the header, "McCutchen Takes Over As Face Of Pirates' Franchise." With his "outgoing personality and quick smile, McCutchen figures prominently in the team's marketing plan." His No. 22 jersey "flew off the racks last year at local stores." Taryn Orth, the assistant manager at The Pittsburgh Fan apparel store across from PNC Park, indicated that the late Roberto Clemente "is the best seller among Pirates merchandise." But McCutchen still "makes the cash register ring." Orth noted the store carries T-shirts of 3B Pedro Alvarez and C Ryan Doumit, but "those don't sell as well." Orth: "McCutchen is pretty much it." SI.com's Will Carroll: "He's a legitimate 30 (homer)-30 (steals) threat for the next decade. If you're a 12-year-old kid in Pittsburgh, whose jersey would you buy?" Biertempfel noted McCutchen apparel "was most popular early last season at Pirates Clubhouse Stores." However, while Pirates Exec VP & CMO Lou DePaoli acknowledged McCutchen's popularity, he "said the team won't market just one player." DePaoli: "Baseball is such a team game that we're never going to put all our eggs in one basket. It's not Player X. It's Players A, B, C, D and E. We market everybody equally as a group" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/27).
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT: SI.com's Ton Verducci examined the list of MLB's top-selling jerseys for '10 and noted "only two of the top 20 replicas are for players with West Coast teams" -- Giants P Tim Lincecum at No. 10 and C Buster Posey at No. 19. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies "account for half of the top 18 jerseys." Verducci: "I'll repeat what I've been saying: baseball is a top-heavy game. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are the engine to the business of baseball, and the other 27 clubs are boxcars along for the ride" (SI.com, 3/25).
In Honolulu, Ann Miller noted this is the second year of Kia's sponsorship deal with Michelle Wie, and the automaker is "happy about its investment" in the golfer. Kia VP/Marketing & Communications Michael Sprague, speaking at this past weekend's LPGA Kia Classic in California, said, "We featured her in one of our commercials, which was initially targeted just for sports networks. It was so popular online and through social media we actually put it on general market television, targeted it at young people. The feedback has just been great." Sprague added, "She's young, she's youthful, she's vibrant. As a brand, that's how we're trying to position ourselves -- to the young, sporty dynamic and she fits all that" (Honolulu STAR-ADVERTISER, 3/27).
UNDERNEATH IT ALL: ESPN’s “PTI” on Friday included a discussion about Broncos QB Tim Tebow’s commercial for Jockey, which is set to debut today. ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "The most famous Jockey underwear model was the ridiculously handsome Jim Palmer, and his posters in the '70s and '80s were quite scandalous. Tebow's not a scandalous guy. He'll probably wear underpants underneath his underpants. I just think we haven't seen anything yet. All we've seen is him in a T-shirt." ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "When you got a lockout coming up and no salary, I'm going to give Mr. Tebow an 'A' for being smart. It doesn't matter what the endorsement is" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/25).
HAIR APPARENT: Garnier Fructis has signed Lightning C Steven Stamkos to be a spokesperson for the brand in Canada. The promotion featuring Stamkos will be launched in April and will include TV, magazine, online and in-store components. Garnier Fructis is using the TV spot to announce a contest that has a grand prize of a trip for four to Tampa to meet Stamkos and attend a Lightning game (Garnier Fructis).
AD AGE's E.J. Schultz reported MillerCoors CMO Andy England last week "brashly
predicted that not only will Coors Light surpass Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser this
year, but that Miller Lite will leave Bud in the dust in 2012." England was speaking
at a "pep-rally-like convention for distributors" in San Antonio that was attended
by around 4,000 people, including Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and NASCAR driver
and Miller Lite endorser Brad Keselowski. Meanwhile, rapper Ice Cube will "appear
in ads by Chicago-based multicultural agency Commonground, in which he stares
down Coors Light bottles in a battle of who's cooler" (ADAGE.com,
SHIPMENTS OF BEER BARRELS IN '10
AROUND THE WORLD: In N.Y., Stefan Bondy reported the "big wheels
are in motion to transform" Nets G Deron Williams "into a global figure, his name
known around the world, turning him into the first sports star in Brooklyn since
Jackie Robinson." Williams' face will "sprout up in ads from Manhattan to Brooklyn,
pushing the team's future -- and season tickets -- at the $800 million Barclays
Center in Brooklyn." Williams is a free agent after the '11-12 NBA season, so
"everything is contingent on him committing to the Nets" for the '12-13 season
-- when the team moves to Brooklyn -- and beyond. Bondy noted the Nets are "talking
as if this is a foregone conclusion and they are marketing him as such." But Williams
"isn't ready to commit to anything or to entertain a deal until he has a better
feel for his new home" (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 3/27).
WHEELS & DEALS: In Charlotte, Jim Utter reported one of the
two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams co-owned by Titans WR Randy Moss "might
be shutting down for the season." The No. 25 Toyota entry driven by Tayler Malsam
reportedly "closed its doors Wednesday." Team co-Owner David Dollar in a statement
said, "We have an entry filed for the April 2 race at Martinsville Speedway and
are currently evaluating our options for that event" (CHARLOTTE
OBSERVER, 3/26)....Izod IndyCar Series team Newman/Haas Racing on Saturday
announced that the Telemundo Communications Group has developed a marketing partnership
with the team's No. 02 car driven by Oriol Servia for the '11 season. Servia drove
the Telemundo car in yesterday's IndyCar race in St. Petersburg (THE DAILY).