The NHL labor dispute has "claimed a major marketing casualty," as sponsor Kraft Canada is "cancelling its Kraft Hockeyville program for 2013," according to Susan Krashinsky of the GLOBE & MAIL. Kraft today announced a "new promotional program, and will be giving [C]$1-million to Hockey Canada-affiliated minor hockey associations across the country." Kraft Canada Dir of Corporate Affairs Kathy Murphy in an e-mail wrote, "We're re-investing our sponsorship dollars to recognize the game is going on -- from Victoria to St. John's." The Kraft Hockeyville program runs every year in partnership with the CBC and "encourages Canadians to compete to win prize money for their communities." That money is "used to upgrade a local hockey arena." S&E Sponsorship Group CEO Brian Cooper said, "The frustration levels among sponsors are nearing the tipping point." He added, "The league's been very good about keeping them informed. That works really well in the first six weeks. But more than two months since the lockout began, sponsors are tired of hearing the same message that nothing's changed" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/20).
Marketing and Sponsorship
The NFL is using its Thanksgiving Week games to promote the league’s six-year-old Play 60 youth anti-obesity initiative. At every game this week, Play 60 branding will be featured on NFL fields and there will be banners on the sidelines and goal posts. Pregame activities will include Play 60 kids leading the home teams onto the fields. Sponsor activation includes Xbox leveraging its Kinect for Xbox 360 through in-stadium branding at venues in Detroit, Dallas and New Jersey, while giving consoles to youths who excelled in each team’s local Play 60 program. Quaker Oats, the official hot cereal sponsor of the NFL, continues to leverage its Play 60 Super Bowl contest, which offers the winner the opportunity to run the game ball onto the field prior to Super Bowl XLVII. The Dairy Management Inc. consortium will highlight its in-school programs. Halftime of each game will include a 90-second Play 60 spot featuring Kenny Chesney, who will be part of the Cowboys' annual Salvation Army halftime show. Detroit’s United Way Thanksgiving show will have a performance by Kid Rock. In New Jersey, where the Jets host the Patriots, first responders to Hurricane Sandy will be honored. Around 75,000 fans will be given a Jets scarf and attached hang tags will facilitate a promotion through which 100 fans will get to be on field for the halftime performance, said Jets Senior VP/Corporate Sales, Marketing & Stadium Development Marc Riccio. At halftime, Lenny Kravitz will perform three songs live on NBC, including his “Like A Jet,” which is part of league sponsor Pepsi’s NFL Anthem marketing program. Three-ounce cans of Pepsi Next will be sampled outside MetLife Stadium.
TAKING A SHOT: In Boston, Fee & Raposa reported Patriots WR Wes Welker’s new ad campaign for SK Energy Shots “debuts on the radio and on outdoor ads … just days after the FDA warned consumers about illness and deaths possibly linked to three top-selling energy drinks.” But Welker and SK Founder Chris Clarke insisted that the drink -- which was “not singled out by the FDA -- contains no harmful ingredients” (BOSTON HERALD, 11/19).
THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS: In DC, Sarah Kogod noted Reebok last Thursday unveiled Wizards G John Wall’s latest commercial. Wall in the spot says, “What does it take to make it? It takes support. It takes staying grounded. It takes inspiration, hard work, drive. What does it take to make it? I’ll let you know when I get there” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/16). In Akron, Jason Lloyd wrote as Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving “inches tantalizingly closer to that elite class of players in the NBA, he is also creeping toward another elite, equally lucrative status within the league: A star endorser.” The reigning Rookie of the Year “now has endorsements with Nike, Pepsi Max, Foot Locker, Skullcandy and EA Sports.” He has a “memorabilia and trading card deal with Panini, local sponsorships with a window company and a car dealer in Northeast Ohio and a few more agreements nearing completion.” Irving’s popularity has “exploded in recent months” (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/18).
With an agreement "announced Friday to sell its Cole Haan subsidiary, Nike is poised to move on to bigger and better things," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. It can probably "be summed up in terms of geography: China, Europe and Brazil." Analysts said that given the "challenges the company faces in the year ahead as well as opportunities down the road, Nike's focus is likely to be on those three key geographies." Nike also is selling Cole Haan "because the dress shoe company was never quite a comfortable fit with the sporting good company." The analysts said that with cash "freed from the Umbro and Cole Haan sales, Nike will be able to spend it in areas that make more sense." But that likely "would not include another acquisition." Cole Haan is being sold to Apax Partners for $570M, which is around $70M more "than the amount bandied about in the financial media." Nike purchased Cole Haan for $95M in '88. Susquehanna Int'l Group athletic footwear analyst Christopher Svezia said that China "undoubtedly is commanding Nike executives' attention for slowing sales and growing inventory in an important region for future growth." Nike has "its sights set on Brazil: the 2014 World Cup in 12 Brazilian cities and the 2016 Olympic Games" in Rio. Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand said, "The big question is why (Nike) ever thought it would be a good idea to own a brown shoe company" (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/17).