The BBC’s Tom Burridge reported Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson has “recently signed a sponsorship deal with Nike,” which is “designing a line of clothing, marketed around Shawn.” The company will “use the virtual imaging of her movements to help them make the clothes.” Burridge wrote Nike is “actually taking a risk” with Johnson, who “might not even compete” at the ’12 London Games due to an injury. Still, with “her profile, her youth, her good looks and her success as an athlete, Shawn Johnson is hot property in the world of sports marketing” (BBC.co.uk, 6/3).
PLAN B: The AP’s Barry Wilner noted marketing partners for the NFL and NFLPA “aren’t panicking,” or even “fleeing.” They are “making contingency plans, of course, because the time when sponsors and advertisers must make decisions on how loyal they can be to pro football is rapidly approaching.” However, NFL Players, the marketing arm for the union, said that it “has not lost any marketing partners.” NFL Players President Keith Gordon “believes the worth of its players to advertisers and sponsors could actually grow should the lockout continue into the fall” (AP, 6/4).
TRYING A NEW STRATEGY: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports Under Armour has "tabbed Omnicom Media Group’s Optimum Sports to plan and execute its media buying, along with some strategic and activation assignments.” It marks the “first time Under Armour, which passed $1 billion in revenue last year, has used an outside media agency,” as its “previous media planning and buying for its brand campaigns was handled in-house.” Optimum’s first assignment “will be to fashion a media plan for a back-to-school campaign.” Under Armour joins a roster at Optimum Sports including State Farm and Gatorade. Sources said that Optimum “won an agency shootout that also included Interpublic Group’s Initiative Media” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/6 issue).
SURF & TURF: In San Diego, Mary Kenney noted surfer Kelly Slater has “been hired as a pitchman for Daphne’s California Greek, a San Diego-based restaurant chain that emerged from bankruptcy and is now trying to draw more customers with healthier food.” Slater will “create a surf team that represents the company and he’ll serve as a consultant on Daphne’s menu.” Slater said, “My menu contributions will result from working with the internal team at Daphne’s California Greek and just throwing ideas out there to see what makes sense and then formulating as we need to get it right” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/5).