NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya’s crash into a truck hauling a jet dryer during the Daytona 500 on Sunday “ended up giving Tide huge sums of money in free advertising,” according to Kristi Dosh of ESPN.com. Crews used the powdered detergent “to clean jet fuel leaked by the damaged dryer, giving the brand exposure for at least a half hour on national television.” Tide got the free advertising “without being a NASCAR sponsor.” NASCAR said that Tide is “not an official partner, and officials are not aware of any sponsorships with drivers, either, although parent company Procter & Gamble is involved with the sport.” While the Twitterverse was “abuzz with Tide mentions, the @Tide account remained silent, with its last tweet from the account coming hours [before] the race began.” Dosh noted, “To be fair, the account describes itself as being monitored by a ‘Tide expert on clean,’ who will help with stain removal tips, not company marketing.” Wasserman Media Senior VP/Properties & Media Tag Garson said that “all should not be lost for the company.” Garson: “You could very quickly turn this around and put newspaper ads together that are very creative” (ESPN.com, 2/28). USA TODAY’s Chad Leistikow notes the exposure could mean a “marketing windfall" for Tide, which "hasn’t been active in NASCAR’s premier series since the mid-2000s, though Darrell Waltrip and Ricky Rudd once helped make the ‘Tide Ride’ famous.” Ernest Industries Sports Marketing consultant Ernest Lupinacci said, “It was a two-hour product demo. The upside could be gigantic" (USA TODAY, 2/29). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “Long after I forget Matt Kenseth’s name, I’m going to remember that explosion, that fireball and the odd fact that they cleaned it up with Tide afterwards” (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/28). Tide on its Twitter feed now is making a contest out of the exposure. Yesterday it posted a picture from the incident with the text, "Let’s hear your best captions for this picture from Tide’s cleanup at #Daytona. We’ll pin our favorite!" (THE DAILY).
CLEANUP ON TURN 3: In Memphis, Kyle Veazey notes the truck Montoya rear-ended “bore the turquoise-and-yellow logo of ServiceMaster Clean, a division of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Company.” ServiceMaster CMO Jim Wassell said, “I was pinching myself. We didn’t hit anything, We were hit. We didn’t cause the accident. We were just the beneficiaries of a lot of air time on our brand.” The company had “10 or 15 minutes of the logo on Fox’s national broadcast” and around “1,000 or so media mentions by 8 a.m.” Veazey notes ServiceMaster in ’09 began a “sponsorship of the entire caution period” with NASCAR that runs through ’13 and “includes such branding at 21 of the tracks that host races” on the Sprint Cup Series (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 2/29).
New Era yesterday “began selling a licensed ‘Linsanity’ New York Knicks cap at its stores in Buffalo and Manhattan,” according to Stephen Watson of the BUFFALO NEWS. New Era said that it is "ordering another batch of stretch-fit caps for the Buffalo store after going through a few dozen caps by midafternoon ... and the company said the caps have sold well on its website, too.” New Era Corporate Communications Manager Dana Marciniak said, "It's nice to have a product you can turn around so fast for the fans and capitalize on these great sports moments." The company “got the idea to make the Lin-themed caps a couple of weeks ago, after noticing the outpouring of attention” Knicks G Jeremy Lin “had generated since breaking into the Knicks' starting lineup.” New Era, a licensed partner of the NBA, “swiftly received permission to produce the caps, which feature ‘Linsanity,’ the Knicks logo and Lin's No. 17.” New Era produced "three versions of the 39Thirty stretch-fit Lin caps," with "slight differences in color and style.” The caps also are “on sale on NBA.com and at Madison Square Garden.” Marciniak said that the company will come out with “59Fifty fitted Lin caps on March 25, and also is producing” women's "Linsanity" T-shirts (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/29).
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH? ESPN.com’s Lynn Hoppes wrote under the header, “Stop The Linsanity Insanity.” Hoppes, who is Asian, wrote, “Please don't automatically assume that every Asian-American is rooting for him to become a star and help the Knicks make the playoffs. And don't automatically assume that every Asian-American is offended by the jokes and comments about Lin.” He continued: “Stop making generalizations about Asian-Americans, that all of us are running outside to play basketball now, or that we're collecting every Lin item we can find” (ESPN.com, 2/27).
NO MORE STREAKING: On Long Island, Neil Best noted Lin “does not appear on the back page of Tuesday's Newsday, ending a 23-day streak in which he was included in some form on the cover of the sports section” (NEWSDAY.com, 2/28).
The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am "remains one of the most important events on the PGA Tour, with so many corporate heavyweights that are valuable to tour affairs," and the amateur partners of golfer Ryan Palmer and Jason Bohn are the latest example of that, according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. PGA Tour officials were “looking for a couple of players to be partners with two important clients" -- FedEx Exec VP/Market Development Mike Glenn and Comcast Chair & CEO Brian Roberts -- and the Tour picked two “personable characters" in Palmer and Bohn. FedEx at the time was "in the final stages of renewing its sponsorship" of the FedEx Cup. Palmer said, “They said they wanted us to play with clients, but they didn't tell us who. We got there and found out we were playing with two of the biggest check-writers in the business." Bohn took the “unusual step of emailing their amateurs and inviting them to play a practice round on Wednesday.” Palmer said, "We had a little game with them. We made sure we kept it small. We can't afford what they can. We had lunch in the Tap Room afterward and we hit it off" (AP, 2/28).
FINCHEM MAKING POSITIVE MOVES: ESPN.com's Bob Harig noted nothing is "guaranteed in these economic times," but Commissioner Tim Finchem "again checked off a big item on his to-do list for which PGA Tour players should be grateful." He has "got the network television contract done through 2021, and the FedEx deal secured -- with the possibility of future increases -- through 2017." Although there are "title sponsorships to be renewed, Finchem has kept the tour fully scheduled, either getting current sponsors to come back or filling holes with new ones." It has been an "impressive run, one not to be undersold." Harig wrote, "Now comes another necessary step: improving the FedEx Cup" (ESPN.com, 2/28).
With Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth not fully sponsored for the entire Sprint Cup season, ESPN's Brad Daugherty noted it is "going to be interesting to see if it does help" in the sponsorship search. Daugherty said, “I don’t think it’s going to be a huge shot in the arm." He cited '11 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne going "throughout the season very sparsely funded in his Nationwide program, and they have nothing really for him this year.” Despite Kenseth being a two-time Daytona winner now, it "seems like it’s a very difficult time over there in that Roush camp trying to keep sponsorship” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 2/28).
SPANISH THAI: In Bangkok, Pitsinee Jitpleecheep reported Thai Beverage, the brewer of Chang beer, is spending US$33M to “boost the brand through a deal” with La Liga clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The company Monday signed “a three-year marketing pact with the clubs worth a combined" US$16.5M to "help raise the profile of Chang Export brand, Chang soda and Chang drinking water in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia.” Through the deal, Chang will be allowed “to use the logos of both clubs and images of their footballers on product packaging and in advertisements.” ThaiBev will spend another US$16.5M “on marketing activity for Chang products in the next three years and to bring Spanish football clubs to play" in Thailand. Chang beer also continues to be the jersey sponsor for EPL club Everton (BANGKOKPOST.com, 2/28).
BROADENING HORIZONS: MARKETING magazine’s Gemma Charles reported Under Armour “is preparing to launch its first major European marketing push as it attempts to grow brand awareness outside the US.” The brand “plans to air a branded-content series" on MTV in Europe called "New Battles, New Armour" in the coming weeks. It will “feature Under Armour’s brand ambassadors,” including Welsh rugby player Jamie Roberts and EPL club Queens Park Rangers F Bobby Zamora. They “will be shown training with unexpected partners, such as a Shaolin warrior monk.” Charles noted a “social-media push will support the series.” The brand aims to “gain recognition in the UK when it becomes the kit supplier” for EPL club Tottenham Hotspur next season (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 2/28).
WON'T BACK DOWN: The Indian government “has now stepped in by asking the [IOC] to drop Dow Chemicals as sponsor of this year's London Games for the company's link to the Bhopal Gas tragedy.” The sports ministry “has sent a ‘strongly-worded letter’ to the IOC on Friday seeking Dow's removal as an Olympic sponsor” (PRESS TRUST OF INDIA, 2/27).