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Volume 24 No. 160

Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike today begins the "next phase of its current ‘Just Do It’ campaign with a focus on action sports like skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing,” according to Tanzina Vega of the N.Y. TIMES. The new campaign, "The Chosen," is Nike’s "largest effort at moving into action sports," and will feature athletes like skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, surfer Laura Enever and snowboarder Danny Kass. Action sports is a $390M business for Nike, and company execs "hope that figure doubles over the next five years.” For the last few years, Nike "has been on a steady mission to penetrate the market by creating sub-brands like Nike 6.0 and buying smaller brands like Hurley.” Nike began “teasing the campaign in early May with a 30-second version” of a commercial online. After watching the clip, viewers “could respond to a Facebook page" for the campaign debut today, "when a three-minute and 30-second version of the commercial will be shown followed by a 23-minute behind-the-scenes film.” The spot, via 72andSunny, L.A., "shows athletes performing at night in locations like Whistler, British Columbia; Bali, Indonesia; and New York City.” The campaign also features a contest "in which athletes can submit videos showing themselves in action.” Those videos “will run on the campaign’s Facebook page, and visitors to the page will be able to vote on which video they like best.” Contest winners will be chosen at the Nike-owned U.S. Open of Surfing. In addition, Nike will release a 90-second 3D version of the commercial "that will be shown on the Fourth of July weekend in movie theaters" before films like "Transformers 3" and during Heat-Mavericks NBA Finals Game Three on Sunday. Vega notes the campaign is "tied to the debut of a sneaker called the Braata LF Mid Premium shoe, a skating shoe reminiscent of the Nike Dunk” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2).
Nike released a 30-second trailer for the short film in April:

OH YES IT'S LADIES' NIGHT: WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY's Jessica Iredale reports Nike is "ramping up its investment in its Make Yourself girl power campaign, which launched last year." Nike has hired photographer Annie Leibovitz to "shoot the next installment of ads, which feature seven female athletes recruited from a broad spectrum of sports to make up the Make Yourself team." The effort is the first time Nike and Leibovitz have worked together. Enever, tennis players Maria Sharapova and Li Na, track stars Allyson Felix and Perri Shakes-Drayton, U.S. soccer G Hope Solo and dancer Sofia Boutella "appear in individual and group portraits, one of which features the women in the Nike Victory Bra series, with Leibovitz’s typical cinematic touches." The ads will break in the August and September issues of Seventeen, InStyle and Glamour, "with an emphasis on digital components as well." Nike Dir of Media Relations Derek Kent said, "What we wanted to do was really put a spotlight on women’s training and all the extra effort they have to do to be the best in their respective sports" (, 6/2).

The Heat are three wins away from their second NBA title, and it is "hard to deny" that LeBron James' decision to join the franchise last summer "has been a success" both on and off the court, according to Harvey Araton of the N.Y. TIMES. NBA TV ratings "have soared on the backs of James and the Heat," and his No. 6 jersey is the "leader in league merchandising sales." Fenway Sports Management President Sam Kennedy, whose Boston-based firm became a corporate partner of James' in April, noted that the Heat star has 6.7 million "likes" on his Facebook page. By comparison, FSM-owned EPL club Liverpool has 5.6 million, and the Red Sox have 2.5 million. The partnership began "not long before James and the Heat knocked the Celtics out of the playoffs in the second round," and in effect, James "won on the court, and off, adding to the notion that he is now unstoppable." Kennedy: "The local media and fans were very resentful. Listen, I grew up in Boston as a Red Sox and Celtics fan, and the irony of the partnership was not lost on us. But this was an opportunity to partner with one of the most powerful athletes and one with incredible reach, globally." Araton notes while it is "likely that more or even most fans will root" for the Mavericks to beat the Heat in the NBA Finals, James "has no doubt impressed younger fans with his audacity and defiance." Still, there "is a cost for James in all of this." A recent survey from Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling revealed that "support for James has steadily eroded in the Cleveland area since last summer, even among African-Americans." The latest poll shows that 49% "had an unfavorable view of James," compared with 23% favorable (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2).

GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT: In Ft. Lauderdale, Doreen Hemlock notes TV viewers are likely to see more commercials featuring James and Heat G Dwyane Wade "during the next two weeks of the NBA Finals -- and not only during the games themselves." Sports marketers said that companies "score extra points when celebrities in their ads are hot, and that means a chance to cash in for ... other businesses that feature the Heat stars in their ads by airing those commercials more often on different channels." During Tuesday's Mavericks-Heat Game One, James appeared in ads for Sprite and McDonald's, while T-Mobile ran a spot with Wade. Hemlock notes South Florida companies are "boosting local ads with Heat stars too." The Warren Henry Automotive Group said yesterday that it is "stepping up ads" with Heat F Chris Bosh on local TV (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/2).

American Airlines yesterday announced “a Facebook contest and free airline tickets” as promos around the NBA Finals in order to “build the buzz around its name on the two arenas hosting the basketball championships,” according to Doreen Hemlock of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The airline has launched the "All American Airlines Shoot Out," which is a social media game that “can be played on Facebook and Internet-ready mobile devices that allows users to shoot baskets for either” the Mavericks or the Heat. A total of “10,000 single-use discount codes will be given to fans who register, including 100 codes worth 50 percent off their next flight to or from Dallas or Miami.” American is also “launching promotions during the games and official watch parties.” The AAdvantage "Around the World" promotion will take place during Game Two in Miami tonight and Game Three in Dallas on Sunday. One fan “will have a chance to win AAdvantage frequent-flyer miles by making a variety of shots” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/2). American Airlines spokesperson Tim Smith said that the “free publicity before millions of TV viewers means American won't create any new or special national advertising around this year's Finals.” USA TODAY’s Michael McCarthy notes “it gets all the free advertising it needs just from the game telecasts on ESPN/ABC” (USA TODAY, 6/2). Navigate Marketing Analytics Dir Matt Balvanz said that the NBA Finals could give American Airlines around $3.5M “of exposure for each game in the series" (, 6/1).

Four NASCAR drivers will appear in the June 26 episode of A&E's "The Glades," and NASCAR Managing Dir of Entertainment Marketing & Business Development Zane Stoddard indicated that it is "part of a year-long initiative to maximize exposure on original and reality programming,” according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. In this Sunday's Sprint Cup Series STP 400, Tony Stewart "will drive a Chevrolet promoting the second season premiere of 'The Glades' that night." Stewart will "make his acting debut" in the June 26 episode, alongside drivers Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano. In the past year, NASCAR content also has been featured on "Undercover Boss," "Breaking In," "Necessary Roughness," "American Pickers" and Cartoon Network. While NASCAR “has movie projects in the pipeline,” Stoddard said that TV "offers more immediacy and is less speculative than a big-budget film.” Ryan notes TV product placement “offers NASCAR a shot at broadening and diversifying a fan base that has grayed in recent years.” Similarly, A&E Senior VP/Marketing Guy Slattery “hopes NASCAR will help boost 'The Glades' audience, which is 56% female.” The network will "spend more than six figures to sponsor Stewart at Kansas" this weekend, and Stewart-Haas Racing "will promote the show through social media sites and Stewart's Eldora Speedway." Slattery: “If it brings a few more guys to the show, it’ll be a bigger success” (USA TODAY, 6/2). Stewart said that he "has not seen any advance previews of the episode, nor would he disclose the plot of the show in which the drivers appeared." Stewart: “It will be a lot of fun come June 26 to see if we’re ever asked again to act in a TV series. ... Acting is the hardest part of it, having to remember lines, and it’s not just stuff that would roll off your tongue. You actually have to memorize lines and try to remember what you’re supposed to say. That’s the hard part" (K.C. STAR, 5/31).

Student group asks OSU not to
consolidate licensing with Cowboys
In Columbus, Marla Matzer Rose notes the Ohio State Chapter of Students Against Sweatshops “wrote to OSU President E. Gordon Gee this week, urging him to ‘reject any attempt to consolidate licensing with the Cowboys because the deal will inevitably cripple our university's ability to enforce our labor code of conduct.’" The Cowboys' new Silver Star Merchandising arm is among the companies vying for the university’s apparel license. The student group “pointed to a recent report by the Worker Rights Consortium, a labor-rights monitoring group, that said an Indonesian factory working for the Cowboys ... ‘illegally withheld from its workers the equivalent of more than half a year's wages.’" OSU Dir of Trademark & Licensing Rick Van Brimmer yesterday “stressed that no decision has been made on a deal and reiterated that his department's search process has been ‘open, competitive and transparent’” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 6/2).

WHEELS & DEALS: In K.C., Randy Covitz notes NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer for the Sprint Cup Series STP 400 on Sunday “will carry the black, silver and green colors of American Ethanol on his No. 33 Chevrolet." The wall at Kansas Speedway also has been "painted green between turns two and three for the weekend races to draw attention to the use of ethanol.” In addition, about “1,100 corn farmers will be at Kansas Speedway to support Bowyer” (K.C. STAR, 6/2)....In Daytona Beach, Godwin Kelly reports NASCAR driver Brian Vickers skydived yesterday at Daytona Int'l Speedway in the “latest move in the track's marketing blitz to promote” the Coke Zero 400 on July 2. Vickers said, "Speedways are pushing to promote events more than they ever have, and drivers are kicking in more, too” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 6/2).

JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER: In Green Bay, Kelcie McCrae notes dairy company Kemps and the Packers “kicked off National Dairy Month on Wednesday" by introducing at Lambeau Field Touchdown Sundae, a “vanilla-flavored ice cream with caramel ribbons and chocolate-covered footballs filled with caramel." Each container “will feature the Packers logo as well as Kemps’ logo.” It will be available “at participating Wisconsin stores through the end of this year” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 6/2).

FLIGHT OF FANCY: Gold Medal-winning figure skater Kim Yu-na has signed a deal with Korean Air in which Kim will receive "free first-class travel on all its routes." The airline "joins a sponsorship portfolio including Nike, Hyundai and Kookmin Bank that contributed to annual earnings of US$9.7 million last year" according to Forbes' calculation (, 6/2).

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