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Volume 24 No. 157

Marketing and Sponsorship

NHL sponsors and other marketers are “evaluating their plans for the stunted season” after the end of the lockout, according to Krashinsky & O’Kane of the GLOBE & MAIL. Kraft Foods in November cancelled its Hockeyville promotion, but the company “brought in a new partnership this year with TSN called Kraft Hockey Goes On, which will reward hockey volunteers.” With the return of the season, Kraft will be “advertising on CBC’s 'Hockey Night in Canada' -- though without the Hockeyville promotion, there will mostly be standard brand ads, not ones that are hockey-related.” The priority will be to “promote Hockey Goes On, to spend money on consumer research to find out how consumers feel about the NHL and how to approach them and, once the season is over, to compare the results of the new promotion with Hockeyville.” If the replacement program is “successful, it will determine where Kraft invests in the future.” There are “two years left in Kraft’s sponsorship agreement with the NHL.” Meanwhile, NHL corporate partner MolsonCoors is now "hauling out the NHL-branded beer merchandise that has been gathering dust, waiting for promotions that were put on hold." MolsonCoors Canada Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Ferg Devins said that the company's new ad campaign "will not specifically comment on hockey’s return or the delayed season." Elsewhere, Scotiabank's ad spending will be "redirected back to hockey games, but the company has no plans to change its ads -- it will continue with the community message, where consumer goodwill is not in question." Scotiabank Senior VP & Head of Marketing Duncan Hannay said that the bank "does not plan on shifting to a more NHL-focused messaging plan" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/7).

THE SWEATER SONG: Merchandise website spokesperson Wayne Woodward said, “We expect NHL jerseys and gear sales to pick up right away.”’s Emily Jane Fox reported the site's sales “fell 60% during the Christmas period from last year.” Woodward: “We won’t make up for the lost Christmas sales revenue, but there should be a nice sales uptick when players hit the ice again” (, 1/6).

FROM RUSSIA, NO LOVE? In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa reported equipment manufacturer reps “tried to keep business flowing during the lockout by visiting NHL clients overseas.” A source said that the reps were “not made welcome in several KHL cities” (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/6).

In N.Y., Natalie Kitroeff wrote the Victoria's Secret store at Cowboys Stadium is "emblematic of a broader marketing effort by the NFL to engage female fans, who make up a rising share of the league’s base." Nielson data shows that the NFL in recent years has "surpassed" the NBA and MLB in the share of its regular-season viewers who are female. More women last year "watched the Super Bowl -- 43 million -- than the Grammy Awards or the Academy Awards." The NFL's marketing includes "overt gestures, like the ubiquitous pink lining the field and accenting uniforms to commemorate breast cancer awareness month in October." But the league also has "made more subtle changes in how it reaches its female audience." Long gone are "the days of 'pink it and shrink it,' the decades-old approach to women’s NFL apparel." Spokeswomen such as tennis player Serena Williams have "appeared in Vogue and Cosmopolitan wearing the new gear, sandwiched between ads for high-end perfume and designer jeans." NFL TV commercials this season have "also featured women in prominent roles" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/6).

WARM IT UP, CHRIS: AD WEEK's Sam Thielman wrote Clippers G Chris Paul's recent State Farm commercial provides "yet another example of how much fun Paul can be." Paul represents Nike's Jordan brand, "among other endorsements, and he's easy to watch -- to the extent that one wonders if he'll eventually try his hand at something beyond commercials." The State Farm spot is a "very slick ad -- it's a good example of how to pack a lot of story and branding into a single minute, with a controlling pun (assist vs. assist), a linear progression the audience can follow (the two characters aging simultaneously), and a quality punch line" (, 1/3).

PORTLANDIA: MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph reported Nike has "taken management of its social media marketing in-house and away from its digital advertising agencies in an effort to get closer to its fans." The company’s internal social media teams now will "manage all online communities from its Portland, Oregon headquarters after previously outsourcing the responsibility to agencies such as AKQA, Wieden & Kennedy, Mindshare and R/GA." The move follows a review by Nike Global Dir of Social Media Marketing Musa Tariq, who "pushed for the brand to assume full control of its social media offering following his arrival from Burberry last October" (, 1/3).