The U.S. Army has decided not to renew its sponsorship with Stewart-Haas Racing's No. 39 car driven by Ryan Newman in '13. The Army cited reallocation of its marketing budget as the reason it will not have a presence in NASCAR next season (NASCAR). The AP's Jenna Fryer notes the U.S. Army has been a "longtime sponsor in NASCAR, and has been with Ryan Newman at SHR since 2009 when the team was formed." The decision comes as U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Jackson Kingston (R-Ga.) "are pushing an amendment that would prohibit military sponsorship of sports." The bill "has made it through the House Appropriations Committee" (AP, 7/10). NASCAR.com's Matthew Dillner wrote on his Twitter account, "Sad to see Army leave NASCAR. The program has brought great exposure to what our armed forces do for us. Also, racing builds moral w troops." Speedway Media's Mary Jo Buchanan: "Sad to see the US Army leave Stewart Haas Racing as 2013 sponsor. Seems to me they are losing a great recruiting tool."
Marketing and Sponsorship
Ralph Lauren and the USOC today unveiled the official Team USA Opening Ceremony uniforms, which will feature navy and white with red accents. The women will wear a white blouse with a navy blazer that features a USOC patch and Ralph Lauren’s Big Pony logo at the crest and a cotton scarf with red, white and blue stripes. The women will also wear a cream-colored, knee-length skirt. The men’s uniform consists of a club-collar sport shirt made of white cotton with a red and navy necktie. The men will also wear a tailored, double-breasted blazer with peak lapels also featuring the USOC patch and Big Pony logo at the crest. The men will wear cuffed, cream-colored, flat-front pants (USOC).
WILL BERETS BE A HIT AGAIN? Ralph Lauren Senior VP/Marketing, Advertising & Communications David Lauren unveiled the uniforms on NBC's "Today" this morning along with U.S. women's soccer team D Heather Mitts and fencer Tim Morehouse. Lauren said, "Ralph Lauren has always been inspired by the Olympics. We've had this special opportunity to work with the team, to look into their archives, very inspired by the 1948 Games, which is the last time that America competed in England and of course, ‘Chariots of Fire’ has always been inspiring, some real old world elegance brought up to time.” Lauren: “We tried to create something that was very elegant, something that would be comfortable for the athletes. We're dressing basically 1,000 people representing America (and) will be walking together.” NBC's Natalie Morales said, “We love the berets. Tell us about the berets. You trying to go back to Salt Lake City?” Lauren: “The berets, the last time we did it, were so popular. ... The last time they were great collector's items and they’re really fun. People just like something that’s just the perfect souvenir” (“Today,” NBC, 7/10).
HISTORY REPEATING: YAHOO SPORTS' Maggie Hendricks writes the outfits are "not all that different from the 2008 version." Hendricks: "If Ralph Lauren is trying to create a certain look for Team USA, it's working. Besides the change in colors in hats, it's hard to tell from a distance ... the outfits are any different from the previous Summer Olympics" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/10).
The IOC issued a "public backing" of TOP sponsors McDonald's and Coca-Cola today, a day after IOC President Jacques Rogge "was quoted as saying there was a ‘question mark’ over their sponsorship due to obesity concerns,” according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Rogge in a statement said, "I would like to clarify comments attributed to me in several media reports regarding Coca-Cola's and McDonald's Olympic sponsorship. The IOC hugely values the long-term sponsorship and support of both McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Through the years we have personally witnessed the positive impact that they make as TOP sponsors." Rogge yesterday had been quoted in the British press saying the "growing trend on obesity" drew into question the sponsorships. However, today he said that the IOC was “proud to be associated with them” (REUTERS, 7/10). A FINANCIAL TIMES’ editorial states banning McDonald’s and Coca-Cola from Olympic sponsorship "is not the answer.” While it is “not the IOC’s responsibility to solve the problem of global obesity, it could do more to contribute to the battle of the bulge.” It should “start by being far more demanding of its sponsors in all sectors.” The committee should “set higher hurdles for sponsors to demonstrate concrete commitment to behaviour underpinning Olympic values.” This could apply “as much to Rio Tinto on the environment as Coca-Cola on healthier lifestyles.” Real people and real projects “should be the foundation of any sponsorship bid” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/10).
Chrysler has "injected humor and hip-hop into its first commercial for the all-new Dodge Dart compact car, which is scheduled to debut" tonight during MLB's All-Star Game on Fox, according to Brent Snavely of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The 90-second commercial "provides a tongue-in-cheek inside look into the coffee-fueled, intense and sometimes frustrating process of designing a new car." Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois said that the company's goal is "to use the commercial to further redefine the personality of Dodge brand while also telling a detailed story about the new car." Snavely reports the soundtrack for the commercial "comes from the Jay-Z and Kanye West song 'No Church in the Wild,' and includes a cameo appearance" by Patriots QB Tom Brady. Francois said that Brady "will appear in future commercials about the Dart and other Dodge commercials." Francois: "The idea was not to have an endorser, but to have a cameo. ... So you will see a glimpse of him in other commercials" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/10).
Tennis player Andy Murray is “going to become the battleground for an increasingly powerful struggle between the big sports management companies eager for his blessing,” according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. Murray’s contract with XIX Entertainment expires at the end of the year, and the “big boys are sniffing around.” XIX Entertainment Owner Simon Fuller was seated next to Murray’s mother Judy from the Wimbledon quarterfinals “onwards,” and that position “smacks of a significant strategic offensive.” Murray recently signed a US$1.55M deal “to wear Rado watches,” but it is “believed in the marketing world that not enough has been done to encourage more leading companies to get involved with a player who was on almost every front page across the weekend and again yesterday morning.” It is “understood that IMG and Lagardère have made significant pitches to the Murrays in recent months and that XIX knows this and is concerned that it may soon lose its only tennis asset” (LONDON TIMES, 7/10).
SILVER LINING FOR SPONSORS: MARKETING magazine’s Noelle McElhatton writes the fact Murray did not win the Wimbledon final “should not cause Adidas’ marketers any sleepless nights -- this is one cloud that has a silver lining.” Murray following the match “stunned the Centre Court crowd when he cried bitter tears of disappointment" after losing to Roger Federer.” With that “outpouring of passion, Murray delivered a more valuable form of gold to his sponsor: authenticity” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 7/10).
The NFLPA early tomorrow morning plans to launch a website called NFLPA Shop where fans can buy NFL player merchandise and autographed items. 49ers TE Vernon Davis, Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew and Ravens WR Torrey Smith are among the players expected to promote the website, Shop.NFLPA.com, via their Twitter accounts. The site is scheduled to launch after midnight ET and will feature products including apparel, headwear, gifts, novelties, home decor and collectibles. NFLPA Shop will also supply the new Nike jerseys debuting this year. “We are going to launch the first place to provide an online store where people can buy specific player merchandise on demand,” said NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah. Licensing company Dreams Inc. approached the NFLPA’s marketing and licensing arm, NFL Players Inc., about the new venture, Atallah said. The company, which was acquired last month by Fanatics Inc., developed and will operate the website. Because Dreams/Fanatics is an authorized licensed retailer of the league, its products can be sold on the NFLPA Shop site. The revenue generated by the venture will be split between the licensee, NFL Players and the individual player represented. It is a way for NFL players to generate more revenue for themselves, and players who want to can also provide autographed items for sale on the website, Atallah said. The NFLPA is not investing any financial resources in the site beyond staff time to promote it, Atallah said. He added that the NFL is aware of the venture and that it does not violate any agreement with the league.
Heat G Mario Chalmers appeared on Fox Business’ “Varney & Company” to promote his new signature Spalding shoe called “The Thread” due out in October. Chalmers said Spalding is “still working” on his logo, but noted it will be Spalding’s first-ever shoe. Chalmers: “It’s going to be a catch, but with Spalding we got something new going and hopefully we take over the market” (“Varney & Company,” Fox Business, 7/9). ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak said to Chalmers, “Your teammates have criticized you a little bit for your shoes, I have heard. ... Can you tell what the deal is there?” Chalmers said, “It’s just a new basketball shoe that we’re coming out with, and anytime somebody sees something different, they’re going to make fun of it. That’s just the thing, LeBron and them are always talking about my shoes” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 7/10).
IN THE COURTS: COURTHOUSE NEWS’ Joe Harris reported Rawlings has sued Wilson, claiming that the glove Wilson made for Reds 2B Brandon Phillips "violates Rawlings' Gold Glove trademark.” Rawlings claimed Wilson this year started a promotion in which Phillips' glove sports a “metallic gold-colored webbing, stitching and lettering that was manufactured by Wilson." Rawlings is seeking “damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution and false advertising.” Harris noted Wilson is “the lone defendant,” as Phillips is “not a party to the complaint” (COURTHOUSENEWS.com, 7/6).
A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME...: MARKETING magazine’s Shearman & Reynolds report LOCOG and Twitter “remain in talks about the enforcement of digital advertising guidelines during the Olympic Games, with 'confusion' prevailing little more than two weeks before the start of what has been billed the world's first 'social Olympics.’” LOCOG earlier this year “was in talks with Twitter to ensure that the microblogging platform would not be used for ambush marketing during London 2012.” Sources said that the negotiations are “ongoing, as the two work out 'line by line' how to police social-media marketing and protect the Olympics' official sponsors.” It is “understood that non-sponsors will not be allowed to buy promoted Twitter ads based on Games-related tags such as #London2012” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 7/10).
INSPIRATION MESSAGE: Subway has signed paralyzed former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand "to appear in television commercials" with NFL Giants DE Justin Tuck. The ads "were filmed two weeks ago and will air this fall." Subway CMO Tony Pace said, "Eric's training is intense and his goal of walking again is clearly the most important goal. We believe his inspirational story resonates with our fans." Tuck appeared in commercials for the restaurant chain last year (AP, 7/9).