Turner and CBS Sports today “will tip off a multimedia, marketing campaign to get everybody ready" for the NCAA men's basketball tournament, according to Mike Reynolds of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. The "Brackets Everywhere" campaign includes "TV, digital out-of-home billboards with live score updates, print ads in major publications, radio spots, and programming guide messaging. The TV ads will include "cameos from recognizable faces" like TBS' Conan O'Brien, actors Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, comedian Kevin Hart, musician Big Boi and various CNN anchors, among others. The spots will run across TBS, CBS, TNT and TruTV -- the four networks that televise the tournament -- as well as CNN, HLN, Airport Network, CBS Outernet Partners and across Turner Digital outlets. Turner and CBS will “back the initiative with mega brackets, standing as large as 50-feet by 32-feet in three locations: CNN Center in Atlanta on Mar. 6, Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles on Mar. 7 and Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal in New York on Mar. 12, which the media company teammates are dubbing National Bracket Day” (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 2/28 issue). AD AGE’s Jeanine Poggi noted the campaign is “centered on a fashion designer who decides the bracket design is the next big trend, ensuing a nationwide bracket craze.” The Black Keys will “serve as the musical backdrop for the tournament, which will use the band's song ‘Gold on the Ceiling’ in TV ads and around game coverage.” There will also be “significant branding presence throughout New Orleans," the site of the Final Four (ADAGE.com, 2/27).
Marketing and Sponsorship
EA Sports yesterday announced that former Baylor QB Robert Griffin III will be featured on the cover of the "NCAA Football 13" video game, which is slated for release on July 10. In addition to Griffin, a fellow Heisman Trophy winner will appear on the cover based on a fan vote. Starting March 12, fans can log onto the game franchise's Facebook page to vote on whether Marcus Allen, Doug Flutie, Eddie George, Desmond Howard, Barry Sanders, Herschel Walker, Charlie Ward or Andre Ware will appear alongside Griffin on the cover (EA Sports). The AP’s Stephen Hawkins notes Griffin was asked whether he would like to appear on the cover as a thrower or a runner.” He said, "Thrower. I'm a quarterback, not a running back" (AP, 2/28). Student newspaper the BAYLOR LARIAT's Tyler Alley reported EA Sports yesterday set up a pavilion on the Baylor campus displaying "NCAA Football 13" banners and a "rough, unofficial cover with Griffin on it.” Baylor AD Ian McCaw said that having Griffin on the cover “of a high-profile video game will help with recruitment and increase enrollment” (BAYLOR LARIAT, 2/28).
Capitalizing on the hype surrounding G Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have “signed a marketing deal for the rest of the season with Taiwan-based tire manufacturer Maxxis International,” according to Daniel Massey of CRAIN’S N.Y. BUSINESS. The agreement will make the tire maker “a fixture at Madison Square Garden for the next four months or so.” Maxxis' branding will appear on “courtside LED screens and the GardenVision scoreboard, among other places.” The company will also sponsor “a giveaway for fans attending an upcoming game.” It is the “first sponsorship deal the Knicks have signed" since Lin joined the starting lineup on Feb. 6 and led the team to seven consecutive wins. Maxxis is the team's “only Taiwan-based sponsor, though companies across Asia have expressed interest in marketing deals in the past few weeks.” Financial terms of the sponsorship were not disclosed. Phoenix Partners Group Exec Dir of Equity Research Robert Routh said that the cost of being associated with the Knicks “will rise as long as Mr. Lin plays well and the team continues to win.” The Knicks said that Linsanity has “also powered the Knicks' social media networks and merchandise sales.” The team's various digital platforms “have exploded with activity since Mr. Lin's sudden rise to stardom.” The team said that since Feb. 4, Web traffic on NYKnicks.com and KnicksNow.com has “increased more than 770% compared to the two weeks prior, reaching 13.4 million page views, a record number of page views for a two-week period and the highest week-to-week increase in history for the sites” (CRAIN’S N.Y. BUSINESS, 2/24 issue).
STORY TELLERS: United Entertainment Group Founder & CEO Jarrod Moses yesterday discussed the marketability of Lin, and Moses said, “If you’re going to do a deal with Jeremy Lin at this point, I would circle him with a story as opposed to just an endorsement deal. That way, you talk more about him as a human being and a success story than just the outcome of the season.” Moses said endorsements are still a “huge risk” and what Nike “does and most companies of that magnitude do is they have their A-list stars that they promote and create their brand story around and then they have their emerging” stars. Nike “looked at Jeremy Lin a couple of years ago and they placed a small wager on him and now they’re increasing their bet.” Moses: “It’s dangerous, but at the same time it’s a hedged risk” (Fox Business, 2/27).
In Boston, Sarah Coffey reported Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez and Eastern Bank “are teaming up for a second year in an endorsement agreement that includes a charitable partnership, personal appearances and promotions.” Eastern Bank first signed Gonzalez in ’11 after he “was traded to Boston.” The bank and NESN are creating a campaign featuring Gonzalez that includes “television, in-branch and online advertisements; a social media promotion on the bank’s Facebook page; personal appearances made by Gonzalez, and more” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/27).
COME FLY WITH ME: In Milwaukee, Don Walker reported Southwest Airlines “is the new official airline sponsor” of the Brewers. Terms of the deal were not released, but the partnership “includes in-stadium signage, a plan for a field-level interactive experience and a new ‘How Far Did It Fly’ feature during Brewers' home games” (JSONLINE, 2/27).
HAVE IT YOUR WAY: Burger King Corp. (BKC) yesterday announced a licensing agreement with franchisee Ron Devine and BK Racing LLC. As part of the agreement, BKC will sponsor the primary paint scheme on the No. 83 Sprint Cup car driven by Landon Cassill and No. 93 car driven by David Reutimann. The cars made their debut last night at the Daytona 500. The fast food restaurant chain will leverage the sponsorship both on and off the track, through select regional marketing programs and promotions (Burger King).
START SPREADING THE NEWS: In Portland, Allan Brettmann reported MMA apparel brand Respect Your Universe yesterday announced “it has raised $1.5 million in equity financing.” RYU intends to use the proceeds from the financing “to accelerate its investment in innovative product and marketing initiatives to drive brand awareness and revenue growth.” RYU is based in Portland and led “by a cadre of Nike alumni” (OREGONLIVE.com, 2/27).