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Volume 24 No. 160

Marketing and Sponsorship

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials yesterday signed a deal making Crown Royal the title sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 beginning next year, and the pact is "financially bigger than any other current NASCAR title sponsorship agreement," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the deal is "worth about $15 million over five years." Sources added that Crown Royal "will pay $1.5 million annually for the deal and spend another $1.5 million annually to promote the race." The name of the Brickyard 400 next year will be changed to Crown Royal Presents "Your Hero Here" 400 at the Brickyard. The new moniker is "part of the whiskey maker's promotion honoring the U.S. military and public servants such as police officers and firefighters." IMS President & CEO Jeff Belskus is "working on a plan to reverse the attendance slide" for the race, and sources said that Crown Royal "will play a big part in that effort starting later this summer when it jumps in to help promote ticket renewals for 2012." Crown Royal next spring and summer is "expected to help market the race in Indiana, in as many as seven key regional markets, and with a national ad campaign" (, 7/28).

Many runners are “experimenting with running barefoot or with so-called barefoot shoes,” and New Balance is “making a case to runners” with a new campaign to promote its NB Minimus collection, according to Andrew Adam Newman of the N.Y. TIMES. In one new spot, an actor “running on a trail in the woods at night comes upon a clearing with a strip of glowing coals.” After giving a “watch-this nod to a raccoon, his first step is accompanied by a sizzling sound and the actor yelping, followed by a silent step as he smiles, a pattern that repeats for several steps before the camera reveals that his left foot is bare while the right is shod in an NB Minimus shoe.” The commercial “closes with the hissing sound of the runner lowering his bare foot into a bucket of water, a close-up of the shoe, and the tagline” for the campaign: “Like barefoot only better.” In another spot, the “same single-shoe-wearing actor trots into a convenience store, where a store clerk first chides him for his prohibited bare foot, then admires the sneaker on the other.” The spots, via Arnold Worldwide, Boston, are scheduled to begin appearing today “on networks including ESPN, Comedy Central and the Discovery Channel.” Newman notes the increases in retail sales of running shoes for the first half of the year “come not from traditional models” but rather “a new crop of pared-down running shoes, whose sales are up 283 percent.” The NB Minimus line -- like “the similarly stripped down Nike Free Run, Saucony Kinvara, and Brooks Green Silence -- looks like a standard running shoe.” But rather than the “typical half-inch, the Minimus rises only one-sixth of an inch at the heel, and the shoes are considerably lighter than most running shoes.” However, New Balance is “cautioning runners with stickers on the boxes of NB Minimus shoes that the ‘product increases the strain on the foot, calf, and Achilles’ tendon’ and ‘should be introduced slowly into a running exercise routine,’ starting with only ‘10 percent of overall running workouts and very gradually increasing time and distance’” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/28).

Golfer Greg Norman said he hopes “by the end of this week we hopefully would have locked down everything and are moving forward” toward a new title sponsor of the Shark Shootout. Norman, appearing on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive," said the business model for sponsorship packages "has changed" in recent years. Norman: "The PGA Tour has been fantastically helpful in this regard. NBC has been great, and Golf Channel. Everybody who is behind the scenes completely understands the dynamics of the economic situation that’s impacting the game of golf.” He added, “It’s been hard work, guys, I tell you. I sympathize and empathize with every tournament director out there who has to go through this. It's not easy because the game of golf is in a tough place in the United States. The United States is in a tough place from an economic … and from a confidence standpoint as a nation.” Norman noted there is "no confidence in the country from the CEO of major corporations who’ve got trillions in cash sitting on the side. They’re not going to invest until they get confidence to what’s coming out of the White House and what direction the country is really going from an economic standpoint” ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 7/27). In Florida, Greg Hardwig noted the Shark Shootout "has been without a title sponsor since Bank of America/Merrill Lynch decided it would not renew in January, after five years in that role." Franklin Templeton had been the event's "only other title sponsor." The tournament is scheduled to take place Dec. 9-11 in Naples, Fla. (, 7/27).

Volkswagen Group Motorsport Dir Wolfgang Duerheimer said that the carmaker “could consider a move into Formula One in 2018.” Duerheimer: "I could imagine involvement in Formula One in 2018, when the company is at the forefront of the industry. We have enough brands that could do that." Volkswagen's stable of brands includes Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Skoda (REUTERS, 7/28).

DRIVEN: CAMPAIGN LIVE’s Matt Williams notes Spanish bank Santander “is introducing the new strapline ‘driven to do better,’ and will feature its brand ambassadors and Formula 1 drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, more prominently in its advertising.” The bank also “has appointed Euro RSCG London to its agency roster, just seven months after retaining Engine” to its US$57M account following a review (, 7/28).

ROUNDUP: Promotional merchandise company idegy has named Aquarius Sports & Entertainment as its first sports marketing agency of record. The Columbus-based company will also serve as the preferred promotional merchandise company for Aquarius (idegy)....Vancouver-based GLG Life Tech Corp. signed a two-year agreement with the China Olympic swimming team to serve as its exclusive tea drink sponsor (, 7/26).

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