Joe Gibbs Racing next week plans to announce that NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth will “take over the No. 20 team driven by Joey Logano with Home Depot as his primary sponsor” beginning with the '13 season, according to sources cited by David Newton of ESPN.com. Kenseth announced in June he was "leaving Roush Fenway Racing after the season." He confirmed then that he “had a deal with another team, but wasn't allowed to name that team.” Meanwhile, Logano is “a candidate for the No. 22 Cup team at Penske Racing.” That ride became available after Penske parted ways with A.J. Allmendinger following his positive drug test. Logano recently said that he was “not [interested] in a part-time Cup ride and full-time Nationwide Series ride that was one of his options at JGR” (ESPN.com, 8/28).
NAPA KNOW-HOW: NAPA on Friday will become the third team sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the last year to announce a full-season sponsorship renewal. Sources familiar with the brand's decision said it has agreed to a three-year deal with Michael Waltrip Racing as the primary sponsor for all 36 Sprint Cup races on the No. 56 car. The agreement is valued at approximately $16M a year. MWR is expected to announce the deal and an extension of its contract with driver Martin Truex Jr. during a press conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NAPA follows Miller Lite and 3M as the third full-season sponsor to retain all 36 races after its current contract ended, bucking a trend of giving up full-season primary sponsorships that has taken place over the last decade in NASCAR. The number of full-season sponsors dropped from seven to five this year after UPS opted to decrease the number of races it sponsored at RFR from 36 to fewer than 10 races, and The Home Depot sold off 10 of its races to Dollar General on JGR's No. 20 car. Lowe's and Menard's join NAPA, 3M and Miller Lite as the last five full-season primary sponsors in the sport (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
Marriott is launching a "Greatness on the Road" player of the week award to support the second year of its NFL corporate sponsorship. The program for Marriott’s Courtyard brand, the league’s official hotel, will be supported with an ad buy across NFL Network’s expanded Thursday night TV package. Associated marketing efforts include a guest road warrior of the week, to be awarded with frequency/loyalty points; an appearance on Courtyard’s Facebook page; and a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl XLVII, where the final '12 Greatness on the Road winner will be named at the NFL Honors show. An additional Facebook sweepstakes offers a top prize of trips and tickets to each of the winner’s favorite NFL team’s '13 regular-season road games, an instant-win scratch-off game at Courtyards and a special Courtyard NFL Fan Package for weekends during the season. IMG Consulting handles marketing for Marriott (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY).
COMPANIES PREPPING FOR KICKOFF: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott notes several marketers are prepping their NFL-based ad campaigns, and P&G's Tide brand will mark its first year as the league's official laundry detergent by launching "national elements like a video series online and in social media, and local elements like Tide bottles decorated in team colors.” The campaign will be “centered on team colors, with ads proclaiming, ‘They’re not just colors. They’re your Sunday best’ and, ‘When colors mean this much, you can only trust them to Tide.’” P&G North American Fabric Care Marketing Dir Sundar Raman said that all 32 teams are "taking part in the agreement.” Saints QB Drew Brees will serve as a spokesperson for the campaign. Meanwhile, Elliott reports GM is “planning a season-long campaign for 2012-13 with the theme ‘never say never.’” The effort will include ticket giveaways; a weekly contest; a two-day event next week in Times Square; “ads on television, in print and online; and outreach on Twitter and other social media, with posts from players" including Panthers QB Cam Newton. Additionally, New Era for the first time is making caps worn on-field by NFL players, and to "usher in the five-year agreement, New Era will introduce a tongue-in-cheek campaign by the Brooklyn Brothers agency that is centered on a mythical Laboratory of Headwear Science and Capology." The lab creates caps for players like Bills DT Marcell Dareus and Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones (N.Y. TIMES, 8/29).
Unilever has tapped Pro Football HOFer John Elway and former NFLer Doug Flutie "as the next pitchmen for its Dove products for men in a TV and online push set to kick off this weekend and coincide with the college football season,” according to Frank Quaratiello of the BOSTON HERALD. Flutie in his TV ads talks about “coaching his daughter’s soccer team, the advantages of being shorter than the traditional quarterback and about playing football with his brother Darren, without ever mentioning the Dove products.” Unilever VP/Marketing for Skincare Robert Candelino said, “Doug Flutie was a no-brainer, a perfect fit. He may be retired, but to our core (customer), he’s every bit as relevant.” Candelino “didn’t disclose how much Unilever is spending on the ad campaign, which kicks off Saturday." However, he said that it is a "major initiative that will be ‘everywhere’ from TV to mobile phones and tablets.” The campaign also includes “a partnership with Microsoft’s Xbox” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/29).
Arizona Beverages is “limbering up to launch a new, caffeinated cold drink in a can -- and is angling to score another hit by slapping Joe DiMaggio’s image on it,” according to James Covert of the N.Y. POST. The New York-based iced tea company has created a “lightly carbonated espresso drink” that will be called “Joltin’ Joe.” The 15.5-ounce beverage is “slated to hit stores next week” across N.Y. DiMaggio is pictured “wearing a cap that says ‘USA’ instead of a Yankees cap.” The product is scheduled to be “rolled out nationwide by the middle of September,” and comes 71 years after DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Moda Licensing President & CEO Michelle Alfandari, whose company is a partner in Joe DiMaggio, LLC, said, “We felt the Joe DiMaggio brand seamlessly extended into coffee and energy” (N.Y. POST, 8/29).
Basketball HOFer Scottie Pippen has "put a halt to his personal holdout over the licensing of his digital likeness and will now appear" in "NBA 2K13" along with the rest of the '92 Dream Team when the video game is released Oct. 2, according to Jon Robinson of ESPN.com. 2K Sports said in a statement, "Feedback on forums, social media and community interactions were the driving force in influencing Pippen to sign a deal." Pippen posted on his Twitter feed, "Joining @2KSports Dream Team in #NBA2K13 after hearing fans & family say I had to be a part of it" (ESPN.com, 8/28).
FEMALE FLAIR: YAHOO SPORTS’ Sean Leahy reported female hockey players Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero appear in EA Sports' "NHL 13," set to be released Sept. 11. It will mark the “first time female athletes have been playable characters in the NHL series.” The pair, along with former NHLers Jari Kurri, Dominik Hasek and Doug Gilmour, will “join the nine legends from last year's game" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/28). Wickenheiser said, "You know, what's great is that females are 50 per cent of the population that play video games nowadays, and 50 per cent of the population, or more than that, so I think it's a natural fit. I think women's sport has really grown" (CP, 8/28).