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Volume 24 No. 115

Marketing and Sponsorship

Heat F LeBron James will be “promoting the new Galaxy Note II as Samsung's latest celebrity spokesman,” according to Damon Poeter of In James’ current ad for Samsung, viewers "get a peek at a ‘day in the life’ of the NBA's top dog as James plays around on the Galaxy Note II with his family at breakfast, receives an encouraging text from Magic Johnson, video chats with young fans, and watches footage of a spectacular dunk with pals in the barbershop where his famously receding hairline is maintenanced by laughing staff” (, 10/31). DIME magazine’s Andrew Greif wrote the NBA’s opening night is “a chance to see what creative agencies have been working on with the NBA’s best for new ad campaigns.” One of the “best to debut in the last week is LeBron James’ spot for Samsung, where he spends a day in Miami prepping for ... Opening Night.” The ad concludes "as he preps for opening night and even introduces in a very meta moment the gold-trimmed LeBron X’s he was wearing specially for the first regular-season game since Miami’s NBA title last June” (, 10/31). 

INSIDE THE AD: The 90-second Samsung ad starring James aired during TNT's “NBA Tip-Off” pregame show and opens with James having breakfast with his two kids. One of the children uses a Samsung Galaxy Note II phone to draw funny hair on a picture of James on the phone. James then receives the text message from Johnson which reads, “Congrats, young fella. Nothing like the first one. Enjoy the big night!” James also uses the phone to video chat with some pre-school kids, take pictures with fans as he drives around the city and then actually make a phone call. In addition, James stops to get a haircut and chats with the patrons in the barber shop while posting a video from his phone before finally arriving at the arena for the game later that day. As he is walking to the locker room, he uses his phone to listen to music and then to send a tweet picture. The spot ends with the following on-screen, “The Next Big Thing is Here. Samsung Galaxy Note II” (THE DAILY).

PARTY TIME: In L.A., Matt Donnelly noted Samsung Tuesday night hosted an "after-party to celebrate the Heat's ring presentation at Miami's Soho House," where James "toasted his moment with close pals" (, 10/31).

Clippers F Blake Griffin will "soon be joining Jordan Brand," according to a source cited by's Jared Zwerling. Griffin, who signed with Nike during his rookie season in '09-10, was "wearing a royal blue version of the Jordan Brand Super Fly sneakers during the Clippers' season opener at home on Wednesday night." Jordan Brand "didn't specify if Griffin will be wearing the Super Fly sneakers this season or eventually his own signature shoe." Data from market research firm SportsOneSource indicates that Jordan Brand, a subsidiary of Nike, made up 71% market share of the U.S. basketball shoe market in '11 (, 10/31).'s Ken Berger noted Griffin "joins teammate Chris Paul in the Jordan Brand stable," which also includes Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, Heat G Ray Allen and Nets G Joe Johnson. Jordan Brand in October signed Thunder G Russell Westbrook (, 10/31). Heat G Dwyane Wade last month left Jordan Brand to sign a deal with Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning.

REAL MEN WEAR PINK:'s Jessica Camerato noted Celtics F Jeff Green and G Rajon Rondo during Tuesday night's Celtics-Heat game wore Nike Air Foamposite Ones "in a polarized pink colorway" in support of breast cancer awareness. Rondo had already received the shoes, however Green had to get his pair "overnighted to Miami in time for Tuesday's game against the Heat." Green said, "I have a couple friends who have cancer. This was my way of showing I support them and raise awareness toward it." Both players "wanted to take advantage of their only game during Breast Cancer Awareness month to sport the sneakers" (, 10/31).

NBA Commissioner David Stern has recently discussed placing sponsor ads on jerseys, and league execs would be “irresponsible if they didn't at least explore every credible new way to keep money flowing in,” according to former Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe in a special to the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Many fans may “view this change as apocalyptic and wonder if anything in the game they love remains sacred.” But Vandeweghe asks, “Why on earth didn't this happen sooner?" He writes, "As an executive charged with making a franchise into a successful business, I realized early on that total purity was an impossible ideal. ... That's not to say that putting logos on game uniforms is not fraught. If a small amount of mesh real estate proves wildly profitable, how much of a slippery slope are we on?” Vandeweghe: “Could this have a chilling effect on future naming-rights deals, a major source of revenue and funding for the building of any new arena? It could." But if team owners "feel these are risks worth taking, the dice are theirs to roll.” The smart thing would be to "very publicly tie the ads to lower prices for upper-deck seats to keep a broader base of fans engaged” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/1).

In Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote golfer Rory McIlroy is "threatening to take away" Tiger Woods' "death grip on Nike." Morrissey: "If he does, you won’t hear Nike talk about McIlroy’s ascent as it relates to Wood’s descent. You won’t hear Nike talk much about Woods’ sordid past, not when he has made -- and continues to make -- so much money for Phil Knight’s corporation." It would be "strictly about success and appeal, and right now the 23-year-old McIlroy has more of both than the 36-year-old Woods does." Woods’ consistency on the course "isn’t even close to what it used to be." Morrissey: "If you’re a global company looking to stay relevant, you’re constantly looking for fresh faces. Is there a fresher face than McIlroy’s boyish visage?" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/31).

RUNNER'S WORLD: With the ING N.Y. Marathon set to take place on Sunday as scheduled, several companies announced sponsorship of the event. Tata Consultancy Services was named a N.Y. Road Runners senior sponsor and the exclusive IT consulting sponsor for the marathon. This marks the third straight year Tata has sponsored all three major U.S. marathons, including the Boston Marathon and Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Tata will also be the inaugural presenting sponsor of the Marathon Lounge held at the Time Warner Center in N.Y., a new initiative that will be open to the public throughout the weekend. TCS is also presenting sponsor of the Blue Line Lounge, the VIP finish line hospitality event. Tata's expanded relationship with NYRR official sponsorship of the NYRR's Youth Jamboree and Mighty Milers Youth Programs. Meanwhile, Diamond Foods again will sponsor the final five miles of the marathon, with members of the Emerald Cheer Zone greeting runners at mile 22 of the race. Additionally, Poland Spring will be a marathon sponsor and has teamed with runner Josh Cox (THE DAILY).

QUARTERBACK PITCH: In DC, Dan Steinberg notes the "latest item" marketed by Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is the Limited Edition Assassin's Creed III "Griffin Bundle," which features Ubisoft's video game and a limited edition adidas CC Seduction shoe "designed in collaboration" with Griffin (, 10/31)'s Adario Strange noted Panthers QB Cam Newton on Monday was shown "holding up his own HTC smartphone" in a promotional video played during the launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform in S.F. (, 10/30).