The PGA Tour on Friday announced that AT&T “will take over as the title sponsor of the Byron Nelson Championship in 2015, the year after the event's contract with current sponsor HP expires,” according to Will Gray of GOLFCHANNEL.com. The move to AT&T “will mark the third shift in title sponsors in the last eight years for the Dallas, Tex.-based event, and fifth change since 2000.” The announcement means that AT&T's "already large presence in the game of golf will continue to grow.” AT&T, which is headquartered in Dallas, remains a “main corporate sponsor at The Masters in addition to serving as title sponsor for three other events, two on the PGA Tour and one on the Champions Tour.” The company’s “future sponsorship role with the AT&T National, however, remains in doubt after Friday's announcement” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 11/30). The AP noted the title sponsorship deal for the AT&T National event “expires in 2014.” Tiger Woods Foundation President Greg McLaughlin, whose group organizes the AT&T National, was “optimistic AT&T would stay on as title sponsor after 2014.” McLaughlin said, “We're hopeful they're going to want to continue with the event. I know they like DC, and they like the event" (AP, 12/1). Salesmanship Club President Charley Spradley, whose group oversees the Nelson tournament, said that “extending the title sponsorship agreement through 2016 helps secure the event's future" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 11/30). ESPN DALLAS’ Richard Durrett noted AT&T also “is the title sponsor on the PGA Tour at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am” (ESPNDALLAS.com, 11/30).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Mercedes-Benz last week in New Orleans' French Quarter shot a "60-second Super Bowl commercial to air during the game's fourth quarter," according to Dave Walker of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. The spot "will introduce the new CLA sedan" and features singer Usher, model Kate Upton and "another famous face to be revealed during the commercial." The spot, via Merkley+Partners, N.Y., is directed by Dante Ariola. Mercedes-Benz USA President & CEO Steve Cannon made the decision "to shoot and set part of the spot" in New Orleans. Cannon said, "I said to [Saints & Hornets Owner] Tom Benson when we met on this whole stadium deal that we were going to be a member of the community. We were going to do our best not to just show up and slap logos around and use the Superdome for a backdrop for our marketing." Cannon added, "This is just another opportunity. We could've shot this probably easier in LA, but we decided ... let’s be authentic, let’s bring a couple of jobs down there. It brings money in and it brings attention, and attention helps" (NOLA.com, 11/30).
MAKING ITS DEBUT: ADWEEK's Christopher Heine reports Lincoln has bought an ad during Super Bowl XLVII, the auto maker's "first-ever commercial during the game." Ford Motor Company reps "have been tight-lipped" about the ad. But marketing execs said it will be "extremely social." The ad is part of an "integrated campaign" called "Introducing the Lincoln Motor Company," which will debut tonight during CBS' primetime programming (ADWEEK.com, 12/3).
As Nike introduces Lakers G Kobe Bryant’s Kobe 8 shoe, “people either love the low-top look or hate it,” according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Consumers “love the fact that it's a ‘system’ that comes with four midsole options,” or they “hate it, dismissing it as a gimmick.” Fans can “begin designing and saving their Kobe 8 on NIKEID” tomorrow and “can actually order their designs on Dec. 20, the same day the Kobe 8s hit retail (priced at $140).” Bryant said, “I think this version is lighter and more comfortable. The mesh allows for us to use a lighter material, but also provides me and consumers with the strength and stability that we need.” With regard to the mixed Twitter reaction on the shoe's design, Bryant said, “I'd rather do something that moves people than be right down the middle. You don't get anywhere with a blah, vanilla product. It's like good art. You like it or you don't. I'm fine with that” (ESPN.com, 11/30).
MAYBE IT WAS THE ROSES: In N.Y., Ben Strauss wrote a TV commercial featuring Bulls G Derrick Rose as part of adidas' "The Return" campaign that shows Rose's recovery from last season's ACL injury “teases viewers, almost like a parlor trick.” The scene in the commercial “in which Rose returns to the court was filmed at the United Center,” and has a “surreal quality: part simulation, part dream.” But when the ad ends, "fantasy’s narrative gives way to the incomplete story arc of reality.” The Bulls are “a .500 team, and Rose remains months from a return to the court.” Reggie Rose, Derrick Rose’s brother and manager, said, “I can see how it can be mind-boggling for fans to go from seeing the commercial and he’s back, and then the game is back and he’s not.” Strauss wrote, “Until Rose returns, his career, his team -- and, yes, his sponsor -- are in limbo, hoping to follow the script that has been written.” Reggie Rose said of adidas' series of online videos featuring Derrick Rose, “You have to keep the athlete relevant. We can’t be asking, Whatever happened to Derrick Rose?” Strauss noted the campaign has been “a hit, drawing attention on local and national NBA shows and digitally.” The videos have “more than five million views on YouTube, and according to Twitter, the hashtag #thereturn has been used more than 200,000 times since Aug. 1” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/2).