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Volume 24 No. 115

Marketing and Sponsorship

MillerCoors today announced it is extending its commitment to NASCAR, signing a multiyear extension with Penske Racing that will see its Miller Lite continue to sponsor the No. 2 Dodge for 36 races. It also signed a five-year extension with NASCAR that will see the Coors Light brand remain the sport's official beer. MillerCoors VP/Media & Marketing Services Jackie Woodward said, "MillerCoors has been a prominent supporter of NASCAR and its fans for 40 years. It seemed like a good time for us to put this together. We have such a strong relationship with the Penske organization. Miller Lite will now be one of the few primary sponsors throughout the season." Woodward said that both brands will ramp up their activation in digital and social media in the coming years. She pointed to Miss Coors Light's Facebook page as an example of what she expects the company to do more of in the future (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

BACK IN THE BIG SHOW: YAHOO SPORTS’ Nick Bromberg reported NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler “will be back in the Sprint Cup Series for the Daytona 500.” Sadler, who race full-time on the Nationwide Series for Richard Childress Racing, will drive RCR's No. 33 at Daytona "with sponsorship from General Mills and Kroger.” The car “is locked into the race because that's the car that Clint Bowyer drove for RCR last year before moving on to Michael Waltrip Racing” (, 1/25). The No. 33 car “will also run four more Cup races with driver Brendan Gaughan and sponsorship from South Point Hotel & Casino,” the Las Vegas resort which is owned by Brendan's father Michael Gaughan. Brendan Gaughan previously “announced an 18-race Nationwide and Truck Series schedule with RCR” (AP, 1/25).

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE: Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. discussed his future in NASCAR and said, “In the perfect world, I may slow down and go run in the Nationwide Series and have some fun with that. I might run some trucks, I have never done that. They have a lot more relaxed schedule and the garage area is a lot more calm.” Earnhardt added, “I will probably drive way longer than I should, but I don’t think I will become an owner in the sport. The challenges with that are something that I don’t have interest in working on.” Earnhardt brought up a possible broadcasting career and said, “I don’t even know if I would be any good at it. I do want to have a reason to go to the track and be around the people that are there and build new relationships and be a part of the sport” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/25). 

Coca-Cola today announced that its “iconic polar bears will star in Super Bowl ads and also in a novel social-media campaign during the game,” according to Laura Petrecca of USA TODAY. The computer-animated bears will “appear in a video stream running throughout the game at, a site hosted within Facebook.” The bears, “appearing to watch the game, will respond in real time to the real game’s action.” Petrecca writes for instance if “a sexy ad airs, an adult bear would cover the eyes of a baby bear.” The characters will be “puppeted” by Coke controllers. The company will “also post witty Twitter updates from the bears and encourage viewers to upload photos to be incorporated into the live stream” (USA TODAY, 1/26).

MONKEY BUSINESS: FORBES' Jacquelyn Smith reported CareerBuilder is “advertising again in this year’s Super Bowl -- and the job site is returning with its chimpanzees.” CareerBuilder's 30-second spot, created by the company's in-house agency, features “the chimps creating chaos for the only human employee in the hypothetical firm while they’re on a business trip that has gone terribly wrong.” CareerBuilder VP/Marketing & Communications Cynthia McIntyre said that the company chose chimpanzees to depict the workplace “because they are the most human-like and best suited to convey humorous experiences commonly found at work.” CareerBuilder first introduced the chimps during their Super Bowl debut in ‘05, and they “appeared again in 2006 before the company switched to other creative concepts.” After a five-year hiatus, the chimps “went back to work at Yeknom Industries (monkey spelled backwards) in their 2011 Super Bowl spot.” The ads have “ranked high in likeability in USA Today’s Ad Meter; Ace Metrix, meanwhile, found they rank low on persuasion” (, 1/24).

MORE SNEAK PEAKS: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Rebecca Ford reported Go Daddy has "leaked" one of their latest Super Bowl ads. NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and musical act The Pussycat Dolls are included in the spot, which stars two men “who are transported to a place that looks a whole lot like heaven.” Patrick, clad in “a sparkling gold leotard, greets the men, and explains that this is GoDaddy's Internet Cloud.” The 30-second commercial “is a change from last year’s GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial, which featured Joan Rivers in short-shorts and a tiny tank top” (, 1/25). Meanwhile, AD AGE’s Ken Wheaton wrote “has released the ad it's running during the Super Bowl.” The spot, via DDB, Chicago, shows a man speaking with a car salesman when his “confidence,” a mini version of his head sprouting from his back, begins singing about how much he loves the car. Viewers who use Shazam "to tag the commercial will earn $1 for one of seven children's charities.” A spokesperson said that there “will be a prompt to use Shazam in the broadcast version.” There will also be “a media push before the game, including online advertising and advertising in the Shazam app itself” (, 1/25).

HOLLYWOOD SWINGIN': Relativity Media formally announced that it will promote the upcoming film “Act of Valor” during the Super Bowl. Four 30-second unique "Act of Valor" commercials, featuring exclusive content, will run throughout the program -- two spots that will air during the pregame coverage, one during the fourth quarter of the game broadcast and one during the postgame show (Relativity).

DOT COM BUST? AD AGE’s Peter Daboll wrote it is “time to start wondering which internet company will turn a huge marketing investment into a colossal fail during the big game.” It has become “something of an annual ritual over the last 10 years: an upstart web player throws away a massive marketing investment on an ad that will be forgotten or else remembered for the wrong thing, rather than the desired product, service or idea.” Last year's Groupon Super Bowl "debacle was just the latest installment.” The fact is that there were “zero dot com ads in Ace Metrix' top 10 most effective Super Bowl ads list last year, while 6 of the 10 least effective Super Bowl ads were from internet companies: two from, one from, one from Living Social, one from, and that aforementioned misfire from Groupon” (, 1/24).

Nike yesterday "unveiled its new 'platinum' line that will be worn by nine powerhouse" men’s and women’s college basketball teams for one game each this season, according to Rachel Cohen of the AP. Like the "gaudy outfits that have become so popular in college football, these take liberties with the programs’ standard color schemes." The jerseys and shorts are "trimmed in some, but not necessarily all, of the school’s official hues." The team names are in a "reflective silver material, while the back of the jersey features a large school logo in contrasting shades of gray." Above the number is a star "for each of the program’s national championships; the player’s name is below." The teams selected to wear the jerseys -- including the men's teams at Arizona, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina and Syracuse and the women's teams at Baylor and UConn -- have won NCAA titles wearing Nike gear. North Carolina G Kendall Marshall indicated that it is "interesting that all the teams using the Hyper Elite Platinum uniforms will wear them against schools sponsored by Adidas or Under Armour" (AP, 1/25). UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma said, "I haven't seen them in person, although I have seen renderings of them. From what people are telling me, they are unbelievable. I've been getting messages from other coaches and players, anyone who has seen them. They say they have never seen anything like them" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/26).

WEIGHING IN ON JERSEYS:'s Paul Lukas wrote Nike is "calling this the Hyper Elite Platinum series, with 'platinum' supposedly referring to the color of the uniforms." Lukas: "Can't blame 'em for trying to come up with a snazzy-sounding name, but come on -- they're gray" (, 1/25).'s Matt Norlander wrote the uniforms are "not even that ugly," but they are just "boring-looking, nondescript from the past half-decade of altering team jerseys up and down the grayscale" (, 1/25). YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Eisenberg wrote the "only good thing about Nike unveiling unsightly gray jerseys on Wednesday" is that each team is "only required to wear them once." New jerseys "always inspire their share of grumbling, but the release of these has been especially polarizing" (, 1/25). In Tucson, Patrick Finley writes the unveiling of Arizona's jersey "left me feeling, well, gray." Finley: "There was no hint of navy, anywhere. Yup, Arizona's new uniform featured neither the proper school name nor the school's colors" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 1/26).

Nike continues to “stoke anticipation” of its upcoming debut as the NFL’s uniform provider next season with a promotional video, “Nike Football Epic Transformation” narrated by Pro Football HOFer Michael Irvin, according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Irvin in the video says, “Friday nights and Saturday afternoons don’t lie, change is good. And we’re bringing all the change we’ve got to Sundays.” The NFL’s Nike jerseys "will be unveiled in April" and the NFL Draft “could be the coming out party for Nike’s new line.” The “conservative nature of the NFL suggests the change will not be revolutionary,” but Nike “clearly wants to put its stamp on the look of the league, as it has on college football in recent years” (, 1/25). Meanwhile, Steelers President Art Rooney II said that fans should not “expect any visible changes to the Steelers uniforms, even though Nike will take over for Reebok.” Rooney: "There will be some changes that won't be noticeable to the fans in terms of the materials used and stuff like that" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/26).

HOT ON THE MARKET: In New Jersey, Eliot Caroom noted the change from Reebok to Nike “has led to a dwindling inventory for fans -- causing upheaval for both retailers and customers.” An informal survey of New Jersey stores Tuesday found “short supplies” of both Giants WR Victor Cruz and DE Jason Pierre-Paul jerseys at Modell’s and “none at Sports Authority stores.” The Sports Authority District Manager Tyler Reed said that Reebok “bought jerseys for each team conservatively so it wouldn’t lose money on the tail end of its contract.” Reed: "Reebok has to buy the jerseys from overseas, and they order blanks from overseas and they put the screen print on them with the names and numbers. Once their blanks were done, they’re not going to go and buy more." Retail managers “agreed Cruz is the biggest draw.” Modell's CEO Mitchell Modell said, "It’s the single hottest item we’ve had since the Razor Scooter." Stores are also “slashing prices on Jets gear to clear their inventory of Reebok jerseys as well” (, 1/25).

Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada has become a "go-to sponsor for golf marketing properties ranging from players to tournaments," but the question looms as to whether the bank can continue "to open its vault," according to Robert Thompson of GOLF WORLD. RBC this year takes over as the title sponsor of the Heritage event in Hilton Head, and RBC Chief Brand & Communications Officer Jim Little confirmed that the bank has "agreed to new terms on the Canadian Open." Both tournament sponsorships end in '17.  However, whether such "big-ticket buys will allow the company, which spends upwards of $20 million on golf annually, to continue paying a cadre of players endorsement deals remains unclear." Golfers Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples and Ernie Els have signed endorsement deals with RBC, which has also "replaced Royal Bank of Scotland as an 'official patron' of the PGA of America." Thompson notes RBC "faces tough decisions in 2012." Sources said that RBC's player deals, which "typically start at between $150,000 to $500,000 per golfer annually, are up for negotiations." Some players like Donald, who is currently the world's No. 1-ranked player, "are likely to cost significantly more this time around." Donald was ranked No. 29 when he signed with RBC. However, it is "not all about keeping down costs," as it also is "about smart investing." Little said that sponsoring a European Tour event, with its media buy "linked to Golf Channel, could also be a possibility" (GOLF WORLD, 1/30 issue).

RETURNING TO HIS ROOTS: GOLFWEEK's Forecaddie notes golfer Anthony Kim's bag sponsorship with RBC "wasn't renewed, and he has yet to find a new bag sponsor." At the PGA Tour Humana Challenge last week, his "large white staff bag had been replaced by an Oklahoma stand bag." Kim has has "fallen to 96th in the world and hasn't won since 2010" (GOLFWEEK, 1/27 issue).

Procter & Gamble's Pantene brand today announced 11 Olympic athletes it will feature in its advertising in the run up to the London Games. The brand is in 180 countries and the athletes come from key markets such as China, Russia, Brazil, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. The women will be featured in outdoor advertising worldwide in the months leading up to the Games. There also will be a digital campaign and POS advertising. Those campaigns will begin in April. "Healthy is the new beautiful" is the theme of the campaign and it will use the brand's tagline, "Hair so healthy it shines." P&G VP & Brand Franchise Leader of Global Haircare Hanneke Faber said, "We looked for athletes in their sport that really damaged their hair because we think Pantene can solve the problem. There's great global diversity that represent sports where they're torturing their hair." U.S. consumers will see Gold Medal-winning swimmer Natalie Coughlin alongside the brand's marquee ambassador, actress Eva Mendes. Faber said, "This is the first time a big global beauty brand is linking up with the Games. It's usually a manly thing or a credit card but beauty brands have never gotten involved in a big way. We think that's a milestone."

Jaqueline Carvalho
Natalie Coughlin
Gisela Dulko
Paola Espinosa
Evgeniya Kanaeva
Rhythmic Gymnastics
Wu Minxia
Victoria Pendleton
Great Britain
Annamay Pierse
Aya Terakawa
* Additional athletes will be named at a later time’s Amanda Rykoff wrote many women tennis players have delved into the fashion world and noted part of the “success of the Maria Sharapova Collection involves delivering the star's on-court looks to her fans.” Because this “requires lots of advance planning, the process starts about 18 months in advance of the event.” Sharapova last year sat down with Nike designers “to come up with a design for her 2012 dress.” Rykoff noted it is a “highly collaborative process.” The team “looks for innovative ways to combine Sharapova's fashion-forward designs with high performance fabrics and silhouettes, with a particular attention to detail.” The tennis star “has designed looks for several up-and-coming players” and this season Sofia Arvidsson, Kai-Chen Chang, Indy De Vroome, Andrea Hlavackova, Madison Keys and Anastasia Pivovarova “sport Sharapova's designs” (, 1/24).

CAR & DRIVER: The MLS Dynamo will announce today that Mazda has signed a long-term sponsorship agreement to be designated the official vehicle of the club and a founding partner of BBVA Compass Stadium, which will open May 12. As part of the agreement, there will be a preferred Mazda parking area for select fans at the new venue. Mazda is also the first of 10 founding partners for BBVA Compass Stadium. This is the first sports sponsorship deal for Mazda in the Houston market (THE DAILY).

: DKNY has expanded its partnership with the NHL Rangers, debuting the DKNY logo on the team’s home ice at Madison Square Garden this week. DKNY is the first fashion brand to ever have a logo featured on the Rangers’ ice at the Garden (MSG).