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Volume 24 No. 160

Marketing and Sponsorship

ESPN on Monday will "introduce a new multimedia advertising campaign for its marquee program, 'Monday Night Football,'" according to Jane Levere of the N.Y. TIMES. Created by Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y., the campaign features Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and players such as Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, Texans RB Arian Foster, Jets CB Darrelle Revis and Lions QB Matthew Stafford. All are used, in "humorous fashion, to illustrate the campaign's tagline, 'It all comes down to Monday night.'" "MNF" was promoted with the "Is it Monday yet?" tagline for the past six years. One factor behind the new message "could be the falloff in ratings" last year. Viewership for the program "dropped almost" 10% in '11 to an "average of 13.3 million viewers, after record viewership" of 14.7 million in '10 and 14.4 million in '09. ESPN Senior VP/Marketing Carol Kruse said, "All of our ad campaigns are designed to drive interest and viewership. We had an inordinate amount of lopsided games last year, but we feel on paper that we have a stronger schedule for this year." With the new ads, Kruse said ESPN is changing its focus to "what's unique and ownable about 'Monday Night Football.'" He said, "We're focusing more on the football, the impact of 'Monday Night Football' on fans, standings, fantasy football, the sport all over." Levere notes one spot shows Jones "sitting in his private suite in Cowboys Stadium using a remote to watch 'Monday Night Football' on the stadium's mammoth video screen." Other spots show Stafford "expecting to be named player of the week until he is outplayed on 'Monday Night Football,' and a fantasy football player who is unexpectedly defeated after a 'Monday Night Football' game." Spots will begin running across all ESPN channels and digital media on Monday. Ads will then start to run on Aug. 27 on other websites, "including as well as on bus shelters, sides of buses, commuter rail cards and billboards" in N.Y., L.A., Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas (N.Y. TIMES, 8/10).

As fans enter the PGA Championship, the first thing they see is not a golfer or the beach at Kiawah Island. It is the 6,000-square-foot teaching center sponsored by PGA of America corporate patron, Mercedes-Benz. The PGA Performance Center is on the left as fans enter The Ocean Course, next to the similarly-sized merchandise tent. Inside the performance center, which is free, are six sparkling new Mercedes-Benz automobiles and a host of PGA teaching pros who provide free putting tips. Adam Scott, one of Mercedes' brand ambassadors, made an appearance earlier this week. Mercedes also is providing complimentary parking for any ticket holder driving a Mercedes. Parking is normally $20 per car. Mercedes drivers are being issued a special hangtag at the PGA public parking lot entrance and they are then directed to park in the designated Mercedes lot.

In N.Y., James Covert cited sources as saying that Colorado-based ski brand Spyder “is on the block.” Sources said that the brand's private-equity Owner Apax Partners “is looking to reap as much as $150 million on a sale and has hired Blackstone Group to shop the label.” Sources also said that Apax, which bought Spyder in ‘04 for $100M, “has made at least one unsuccessful attempt to unload Spyder before.” The brand’s “high-tech racing gear has been worn" by U.S. Gold Medal-winning skiers Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso (N.Y. POST, 8/10).

TAIWAN LOVES LIN:’s Darren Rovell noted Maxxis Tires, a tire brand “whose global headquarters are based in Taiwan, announced Tuesday afternoon that it would become a sponsor” of the Rockets. The company said that it “will be guaranteed one minute of television exposure through courtside LED signage during Rockets home games and, as part of its contract, gets to sponsor a promotional night.” This past February Maxxis “signed a deal with the Knicks” when Rockets G Jeremy Lin was with the team (, 8/7).

SUPERMARKET SWEEP: Kroger on Thursday announced it has signed a deal with Texans RB Arian Foster in which he will serve as a brand ambassador and spokesperson for the grocery store chain and its charitable and educational programs. French/West/Vaughn, Foster’s marketing agency, brokered the Kroger partnership (Kroger).