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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

While the U.S. men's basketball team is playing at the London Games, Jordan Brand "will include spontaneous real-time comments about the game in its promoted tweets," according to Joan Voight of The Twitter ads "will also contain pre-planned brand content and links." The effort, by digital agency 140 Proof, is part of Jordan Brand's "inspirational #riseabove marketing campaign." During the London Games, the brand's promoted tweets "will be updated within seconds with timely comments that Nike first posts to its regular Twitter following." The campaign is "aimed at a broad audience of sport enthusiasts far beyond Nike's pool of Twitter followers." By tapping into real-time action, Jordan Brand "hopes to prompt non-followers caught up in Olympic fever to retweet and share its promoted tweets, thus amplifying the buzz" around the campaign. Jordan Brand earlier this month "began a series of promoted tweets that tout the brand's #riseabove short film series and introduce an Instagram crowdsourced #riseabove photo contest." The Twitter ads "appear on the Twitter feeds of people who follow basketball and Olympics-related accounts." In addition to, 140 Proof is "placing the promoted tweets on the leading online and mobile apps that people use to access their Twitter feeds, such as TweetCaster and Echofon." The agency in the past "has also targeted and delivered social ads tied to live sports events for ESPN and GM" (, 7/16). Marketing agency 140 Proof co-Founder John Moonigian III said, "When people who are simultaneously watching sports and tweeting, see a promoted tweet about the real-time game or score, then it's not an ad anymore, but an information tool. To identify our target, we focus on what accounts people follow on Twitter, rather than what they post. That's because a lot more people read content on Twitter than post content" (, 7/17).

Seven weeks in advance of the Baltimore Grand Prix, race organizers yesterday “announced several sponsors at a promotional event" that launched their first marketing campaign, according to Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore SUN. Sunoco, Dr Pepper and Giant Food were announced “as the first sponsors of the second running of the Baltimore Grand Prix.” Organizers declined to disclose dollar figures, but said the multiyear sponsorships were "significant." Columbia, Md.-based Grant Capital Management President & CEO J.P. Grant, who is heading race operator Race On LLC, said that Giant Food “will place Grand Prix promotional displays at its area grocery stores.” Under the deal, Dr Pepper Ten will be named “the official soft drink of the Grand Prix; Sunoco will be the official fuel partner and Giant will be the official grocery store.” Grant said that he “expected to announce additional sponsorships soon.” However, race organizers said that they “do not expect to land a ‘title sponsor,’ which could bring in more than $1 million for an event.” They also have said that they are “prepared to lose money on this year's race but pledged that no vendor or taxpayer would go unpaid” (, 7/16).

Civil liberties campaigners “have urged police not to crack down hard on small traders suspected of breaching strict rules on the use of Olympic logos and words,” according to Rosa Silverman of the London TELEGRAPH. The restrictions mean that “only official sponsors are allowed to display images of the Olympic rings,” or use the phrases “London 2012” and “Olympics.” But critics have “branded the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 that brought in the ban as ‘chilling.’” Former U.K. Labor Sports Minister Richard Caborn, who “took the legislation through Parliament, defended the Act as both necessary and successful, and pointed out that no-one had yet been prosecuted over it” (London TELEGRAPH, 7/17). The AP’s Jill Lawless writes, "The guardians of the games are vigilant about protecting the integrity -- and the commercial clout -- of the Olympic brand.” But they “can't stop the irreverent spirit of artists and craftspeople, who have responded to the games with a cheeky mix of celebration, skepticism and satire.” T-shirts for sale in London street markets show “a masked and hooded youth sneaking off with one of the five Olympic rings.” Another T-shirt “depicts The Beatles crossing a London street in the famous photo from the cover of ‘Abbey Road,’ the Olympic rings tucked under their arms” (AP, 7/17).

The DESERET NEWS notes the Big Sky Conference yesterday “unveiled its new logo and branding campaign.” The conference for the past year “has been working with SME, Inc., on a rebrand, a process that will continue through 2013-14 when the league celebrates its 50th anniversary, and the 25th anniversary of sponsoring women's sports.” The Big Sky “now includes 11 full members in nine states, plus two football affiliate members.” The new logo features “the color of the sky (two blues and white), the sky element itself as well as a visual progression within the logo from the ocean up to the mountains, then down to the plains.” This marks the “first time the 49-year-old league has undergone a rebranding campaign” (DESERET NEWS, 7/17).

NEW DEAL: New Mexico State Univ. is the latest school to outsource its ticketing sales and marketing. The Aggies have struck a deal with The Aspire Group to handle ticket sales and service beginning this month. A manager and three full-time sales consultants will work out of a fan relationship center on NMSU's campus in Las Cruces. The focus of the fan relationship center will be connecting and communicating with the fans to maximize revenue and attendance frequency, the agency said (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).

PIZZA PIZZA: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl officials yesterday announced “a new two-year agreement with Little Caesars Pizza to extend the title sponsorship of the bowl through the 2013 bowl game.” The pizza chain has been the bowl's sponsor since ’09 (, 7/16).

adidas yesterday released its newest TV spot featuring Redskins first-round draft pick QB Robert Griffin III. The spot, which promotes the brand’s adiZero 5 line, elicited several reactions on Twitter. Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews wrote, “How cool is @RGIII's new commercial? Can we get the season going now?” South Florida Sun-Sentinel writer Dieter Kurtenbach wrote, "This is going to sell some shoes." The official Bleacher Report feed tweeted, "RGIII's new adidas commercial is legit." AFL Georgia Force Dir of Player Personnel Chris Steuber wrote, "#Adidas‬ decided to showcase ‪#RG3‬ as a running QB in his new commercial. Mike Vick experience without roller coaster." DC-area sports blog Mr. Irrelevant wrote, @RGIII's new adidas commercial is very Last Boy Scout-y (that's a compliment)" (THE DAILY).

LESSON LEARNED: AD AGE’s Rupal Parekh wrote of the heightened criticism over Ralph Lauren manufacturing Team USA uniforms in China, "There is a lesson here that brands must learn to be more mindful of their decisions, and how to explain them, in the face of potential backlash.” Brands that “tout themselves as American-made or pride themselves on their American craftmanship must be especially vigilant about making sure their claims are true” (, 7/16). In Boston, John Powers writes, "What's puzzling about the Congressionally-stoked uproar about American athletes wearing Chinese-made parade uniforms is that the USOC didn’t make domestic production a condition of Ralph Lauren getting the contract, which took effect in 2008 and runs through the 2020 Games.” If the company “will make the 2014 winter apparel here, as it has promised to do, there’s no reason why it couldn’t have been done this time.” Parekh: “Not that homemade duds are a US Olympic tradition.” Canadian firm Roots “was the outfitter for 2002, when the Games were held in Salt Lake” (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/17).