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Volume 24 No. 112

Marketing and Sponsorship

Ram Truck yesterday announced that for the third consecutive year it will serve as the the exclusive automotive partner and official truck of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Ram also is launching TV, print and digital campaigns in conjunction with the '12 Derby. The brand's 60-second "Giants" and "Tommy and the Ram" spots will run on NBC as part of the net's Derby coverage on Saturday. An additional 30-second Ram spot produced by NBC Sports will also air. A full-page ad will run in USA Today tomorrow as part of the race preview and a three-page spread will run in the SI post-Derby issue. Print ads will also run in other publications, including Athlon Sports and Bloodhorse. Digital advertising includes placements on,,,, and the Kentucky Derby sites. At the track, a "Horsemen's Lounge" has been created for the owners and jockeys. Ram Country logos also will be featured on select barn stable rooftops, fencing, fence posts and the veterinarian building located on the Churchill Downs backside (Ram Truck). USA TODAY's Chris Woodyard wrote if Ram "has its way, the image of the brand will be hard to escape around the racing complex." Ram will "show up in vehicle displays, work trucks, gate crew staff uniforms, posters and track-side signage throughout the grounds" (, 5/2). A Ram Truck spokesperson indicated that five of the company's pickups "will serve as work vehicles maintaining the track during the race events." A rep from the company "will present the winning trophy to the owner and jockey of the American Turf Stakes on Kentucky Oaks day" (, 5/1).

The El Paso City Council Tuesday "unanimously approved" a $500,000 deal making the city a sponsor of the June 16 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Andy Lee bout at Sun Bowl Stadium, according to Aileen Flores of the EL PASO TIMES. The city will pay fight promoter Top Rank a $350,000 sponsorship fee "and a $150,000 event expense support fee allowing the city to be promoted worldwide.” The city of El Paso will have ads “placed in the ring, two corner pads, ring mat and overhead lighting truss; the banner identification will be displayed throughout the stadium, live mentions will be made by the ring announcer and $25,000 in tickets will be available for use in sponsor packages.” El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau GM Bill Blaziek said that if ticket sales exceed $2M, the city “will be entitled to part of the revenues” (EL PASO TIMES, 5/2).

Prince Sports' move to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday marks the "latest step in the company’s years-long fight to stay afloat in the sporting goods business," according to Ed Beeson of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. The company’s story lately "turned to struggle, even as it introduced new technologies, such as its O3 racquets, that helped it recapture some past glory." Princeton Tennis Program Exec Dir Gwen Guidice said of Prince, "It’s been in a state of flux for the past 10 years." Beeson noted the company in late '10 "started to look for parties interested in licensing certain its businesses, and eventually buyers," Prince learned in late March that N.Y.-based Authentic Brands Group "bought $65 million of the company’s secured debt, and had an interest in acquiring the company." Prince said in its filing that as part of its bankruptcy plan, Authentic Brands Group "will extinguish the debt in exchange for total ownership" (, 5/2). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Benoit & Gleason noted Prince "pioneered oversize and long tennis rackets and has sponsored some of the sport's best-known athletes, including Jennifer Capriati and Maria Sharapova." Prince "currently sponsors Gaël Monfils, who is ranked No. 14 on the men's tour, and Vera Zvonareva, the No. 10 woman." The company "blamed increased competition amid the economic downturn for the start of its financial woes" (, 5/1).'s Steve Tignor noted the two-decade rise of Babolat "from string maker to racquet-making titan was the biggest" of Prince's new competitors. The company was also "hurt by the recession and flat tennis-equipment sales across the board." Prince "put money into developing its EXO3 technology and continued to try to sell its frames at high prices." But having its "most famous endorser, Maria Sharapova, defect from an EXO3 Black to a Head frame in 2010 didn’t help." Tignor wrote it is "all a shame, because from start to finish Prince was an innovator." Prince leaves "a legacy of quality." The company was "proud that they continued to put money into R&D, into trying to make their racquets better." At the same time, though, many consumers "were drawn to the updated vintage frames that have been issued by Dunlop and Wilson in recent years" (, 5/1).

ADWEEK's Tim Peterson reported headphone maker Skullcandy yesterday "launched the first in a series of ‘Take a Supermodel to Work’ videos” for its latest campaign. The initial ad features model Kate Upton “visiting and training" with Thunder F Kevin Durant and G James Harden. The videos “stem from a partnership with IMG Models and Funny or Die’s production arm Gifted Youth.” Skullcandy VP/Global Marketing & Creative Nate Morley said that the company on Monday will “unveil a new look and feel aimed at positioning the company as a ‘performance lifestyle audio brand.’” The new positioning “is a big deal,” for Skullcandy, which “organized a focus group composed of its sponsored athletes," including snowboarder Devun Walsh, skateboarder Theotis Beasley and surfer Kolohe Andino (, 5/1).

CHILLED OUT: Jagermeister today announced it will debut an ad campaign called "Stronger Bond," aimed at the 21-29 year-old male demo. The TV spot features ESPN NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson, boxing trainer Freddie Roach, NASCAR pit crew member Mike Lingerfelt and surfer Nathan Fletcher. Through their media buyer, CrossMedia, Jagermeister will have product integration across numerous cable networks, including FX, Spike, Comedy Central, ESPN, Discovery and Fox Sports (Jagermeister).

NOTES: EPL club Liverpool yesterday announced that Turkish menswear brand Ramsey will be providing the team's formal suits for the FA Cup final and the '12-13 EPL season. The two-year deal will have Ramsey provide products to the team, including suits, shirts, ties and belts (Liverpool)....Golfer Rory McIlroy and Gold Medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White spent yesterday "shooting a commercial for St. Jude's Hospital." The spot also "involved a 7-year-old who is fighting a serious illness" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/3)....adidas plans to “cut the number of its Reebok stores in India by about one-third as it restructures operations in the country after discovering ‘irregularities’ at Rebook India” (REUTERS, 5/3).