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Volume 24 No. 113

Marketing and Sponsorship

Twenty-year-old Chris Gilmore of Orlando, Fla., Thursday night won $1M in 2K Sports' "MLB 2K12" Perfect Game Challenge, the third winner in the video game publisher's annual prize to promote its baseball title. Unlike the first two efforts, in which the $1M contest was a race to complete the first verified perfect game in the video game, 2K Sports this year expanded it into a tournament, with the finals held at the MLB Fan Cave in N.Y. Gilmore, a pitcher and physical therapy major at Brevard Community College, defeated Charlie Bates of Conway, Ark., 10-1 in a final game that will be shown May 24 on Spike TV. Model Kate Upton, who has appeared in several TV ads for "MLB 2K12," was on hand at the Fan Cave to present the check to Gilmore. "I was confident I could do this," Gilmore said. "Once I made it to New York (for the final tournament rounds), it was just a matter of winning three games." It is not known whether 2K Sports will revive the $1M contest next year, as its video game license with MLB is in its final season.

Red Bull this weekend will break a new 60-second ad that will run during NBA Playoff games on ESPN, ABC and TNT for the duration of the postseason. The “World of Red Bull” spot, which features Clippers F Blake Griffin and NASCAR driver Travis Pastrana, will debut during Fox’ “Family Guy” Sunday night. The spot was created internally by Red Bull and will air across TV, digital, social and console platforms as well. The “The World of Red Bull” ad features music from M83 and has a short narration from Pastrana. The footage is fast moving, jumping from Griffin playing with a basketball to skateboarders doing tricks on ramps and dancers practicing their routines. The spot also includes concert footage from rock band Dispatch was shown, followed by a slam dunk contest in an outdoor park and a dance competition.

IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti will have his traditional No. 10 changed to No. 50 for the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 in honor of Target's 50th anniversary this year. This season marks the 23rd year Target has been a sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing. The Target bullseye will replace the zero in the number on Franchitti's car. Both Franchitti and teammate Scott Dixon will also have the Target bullseye on the chest of their firesuits changed to the 50th anniversary logo for the month leading up to the race (Target Chip Ganassi Racing). The AP's Jenna Fryer noted Target's relationship with Ganassi began in '90 and is the "longest in company history" (AP, 5/10).

HOPING FOR A REBOUND:'s John Clark Jr. noted BP and Electricite de France SA are hoping their sponsorship deals with the London Games are an "opportunity to restore confidence in their brands." BP was responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, while Electricite de France ran the Japanese nuclear reactor that suffered a meltdown following last year's tsunami. Oxford Univ.'s Institute of Retail Management Academic Dir Jonathan Reynolds said, "The Olympics is rich in analogies and metaphors which can help businesses reestablish themselves. It is a large and specific event -- not just a general value halo effect -- and there are relatively few of those events around" (, 5/9).

HEADING TO THE 'POOL: EPL club Liverpool has "launched a new kit design for next season taking inspiration from their glory days from the 1970s and 80s." The team's crest "has a distinctly retro feel," but some fans "may feel aggrieved by the removal of the eternal flame which was added following the Hillsborough disaster of 1989." However, the jersey does include two "small flames either side of the number '96' on the back of the neck in rememberance of those who died." The kits are the team's first from Boston-based Warrior Sports (London TELEGRAPH, 5/11).