Proctor & Gamble today announced it will give a $1,000 Visa card to each mother of approximately 800 U.S. Olympic athletes to help the defray the costs of their travel to the London Games. The $800,000 gift is part of the “Thank You, Mom” campaign that P&G launched worldwide last month. The company brought more than a dozen Olympic hopefuls and their mothers to N.Y. today to announce the gift and the company’s plan to offer a hospitality center for Team USA family members in London called the "P&G Family Home." P&G VP/North American Operations & Marketing Jodi Allen said, “We asked the U.S. Olympic Committee, ‘What’s the best way to thank moms?’ They said, ‘Help send them to London.’ That’s what we’re doing.” Both the $1,000 gifts and hospitality center build on what P&G did for moms as a USOC sponsor during the '10 Vancouver Games, when the company helped defray the costs of traveling to Vancouver for the mothers of some 300 U.S. Olympians and developed a "P&G Family Home" where they could watch the Olympics, eat meals and relax. With 800 Summer Olympians, the number of Team USA mothers in London is far greater than the number P&G supported in '10. The company also signed a worldwide Olympic sponsorship with the IOC since '10, and it is providing support to an additional 300 mothers of Olympic athletes worldwide, bringing its total support to at least 1,100 moms. Allen said that the company saw a good return on its Vancouver investment. The move helped improve consumer perception of P&G and its brands, and she said that was a major reason it opted to expand the program in '12. Allen: “We’ve never done anything of this magnitude in terms of reaching that number of moms” (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
MOM KNOWS BEST: Gold medal-winning U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte and U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber, along with several other Olympic hopefuls, were joined by their mothers this morning on NBC’s “Today” show for the formal announcement of P&G’s gifts and hospitality center. An Olympic-themed ad from P&G was shown, with NBC's Matt Lauer saying the ad is “thanking moms for the work they do for Olympic hopefuls. Wieber said her mother and her family “have made so many sacrifices just so that I can follow my dreams and reach my goals.” Lochte noted the mothers of athletes play a “big part” in their success. Ileana Lochte, Ryan’s mother, was tearing up when Ryan was talking about her and Lauer said, “You’re crying already. Imagine what’s going to happen in London. How are you going to survive?” Ileana replied, “I hide. Nobody ever sees me” (“Today,” NBC, 5/8).
CBS Sports “has kicked off its college football sales early, getting substantial price increases" for its schedule of SEC games, according to Jon Lafayette of BROADCASTING & CABLE. The net’s SEC package “has a limited number of high-rated games with top-ranked teams and the threat of a potential sellout is pushing agencies to do business now and pay CBS' price.” CBS will broadcast Super Bowl XLVII next February, and one ad buyer said that the net “might be leveraging that with sponsors that normally don't advertise in SEC games.” CBS Exec VP/Sports Sales & Marketing John Bogusz said, "It's May 4 and we've done a fair amount of business.” Lafayette reports The Home Depot “continues as presenting sponsor of SEC football and Dr Pepper will present the SEC Championship game.” Bogusz said, "Most of the incumbents are back." Lafayette notes automakers “have been active in buying college football, as have a number of regional fast-food players (Chick-fil-A, Sonic) and financial services and insurance marketers” (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 5/4).
The Univ. of Missouri is in the middle of a $400,000 advertising campaign "to celebrate the school’s impending move to the Southeastern Conference," according to Terez Paylor of the K.C. STAR. The school placed 16 billboards within the new SEC footprint of Georgia, Texas, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama, and MU AD for Strategic Communications Andrew Grinch said, “It’s all about getting Missouri’s name out there." Grinch: "Maybe a high schooler or elementary schooler thinks of Missouri because of a billboard they see in Atlanta. Years later, when they’re thinking about colleges, a seed has already been planted.” Grinch said that in addition to the billboards and running commercials, the school has also "used online advertising through ESPN, Yahoo, XBox Live and Facebook to get its brand out there.” He added, “Far and away, the billboards have gotten the most attention.” Paylor noted not all the billboards "are the same." As the school “has already built a brand in Missouri and Texas, all eight instate billboards and the one in Dallas say ‘A New Era Begins.’” The other message, “plastered on the seven billboards scattered throughout the Southeast,” reads “Proud to be SEC.” Grinch said that MU “did consult a Columbia-based media buying agency that advised the school on several facets of the ad campaign.” Grinch noted that the company “used data it gathered to help the school decide where it should place the billboards for maximum exposure” (K.C. STAR, 5/7).
Electronic Arts yesterday disclosed that it had "set aside $27 million for a ‘potential settlement of an ongoing’ lawsuit.” In L.A., Alex Pham noted EA did not identify the suit, "but the most likely case involves one lodged by former National Football League players whose likenesses were depicted in EA's Madden NFL football games” (LATIMES.com, 5/7). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ian Sheer reports EA posted a profit of $400M for Q1 '12, up from $151M a year earlier. Despite declines in "some games, others such as 'FIFA 12' performed well." EA indicated that the soccer videogame "generated $100 million in Internet-based sales of products like additional uniforms and other digital goods (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/8).
NOT IN MY HOUSE: In Baltimore, Lorraine Mirabella reported Under Armour is “accusing Beverly Hills sports drink maker Body Armor Nutrition LLC of trademark infringement for using a brand name and logo that confuses consumers.” UA filed the case in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on April 26, “seeking an injunction banning the California company from using the name Body Armor, a logo that resembles Under Armour's interlocking U and A, or the tagline Protect + Restore, which Under Armour says is similar to its tagline, Protect This House.” The lawsuit also “asks the court to order Body Armor to pay $100,000 in damages and to destroy all products, packaging and promotional materials bearing the Body Armor name or logo” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 5/7).
BORN TO BE SOMEBODY: Singer Justin Bieber was part of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s entourage during his fight against Miguel Cotto Saturday, and SI's Chris Mannix said of Mayweather, “He wanted Bieber because Bieber has 21.3 million Twitter followers and right when the pay-per-view went on the air, Bieber tweeted something about the Mayweather-Cotto fight." Mannix: "I’m guessing that Justin Bieber’s demographic is not following Floyd Mayweather on Twitter, so he reached a whole new demographic just by involving a kid like Justin Bieber in the show. It was an absolutely brilliant business decision” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 5/7). ESPN's Colin Cowherd said, "The reason MMA has now blown boxing out of the water is that MMA has put their arms around Hollywood and you’re seeing stars.” ESPN’s Michelle Beadle: “So now a 35-year-old has an 18-year-old Canadian pop star walk him into the ring. That’s like the new thing? That’s ridiculous” (“SportsNation,” ESPN2, 5/7).
SAM I AM: The Wood Brothers and NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne announced Saturday that they have added sponsorship from the Good Sam Club, which will allow the team to run four additional Sprint Cup races this season. Bayne now will drive the No. 21 Ford in 16 events this year (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/6).