UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is “incensed that the promotion won't let him wear new sponsor Reebok into the cage” for his Jan. 26 fight against Glover Teixeira as part of UFC on FOX 6, according to Steven Marrocco of MMAJUNKIE.com. Jackson said, "I see other fighters sponsored by Nike. Why can't I have Reebok?" The UFC has confirmed that Jackson's "next appearance would be his last” with the promotion. Jackson said that Reebok “would stick by him despite the ban, but surmised that the UFC's decision was illegal.” Reebok confirmed Jackson's sponsorship, and the UFC said that it was “open to establishing a relationship" with the brand. The UFC in ‘09 “instituted a policy to charge a fee for companies seeking to sponsor fighters.” A source said that companies are now “required to pay between $50,000 and $250,000 for the privilege, depending on the size of the company.” Companies may also “ink partnership deals with the UFC that offer more exposure inside the octagon.” Sources said that there are “no apparel companies on the UFC's list of exclusive sponsors” (MMAJUNKIE.com, 1/15).
Marketing and Sponsorship
After several years out of the ad business, Crispin Porter + Bogusky Founder Alex Bogusky is "back in a big way," returning to the "world's biggest marketing stage, the Super Bowl, to chastise the very world of advertisers that made him rich and famous," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. Bogusky has created an ad for SodaStream that will "ridicule cola giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi for all the plastic bottles he says they spew into the environment." Neither SodaStream nor Bogusky will reveal details about the 30-second spot, but Bogusky said that it likely will "feature soda delivery drivers similar to those who have appeared" in past Super Bowl spots for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but with an "environmental twist." Bogusky: "It's a head fake" (USA TODAY, 1/16). Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow noted the ad will be SodaStream's "Super Bowl debut." While SodaStream is advertising on American TV's "biggest stage, it doesn't mean the company and its shareholders should expect a significant return on investment." According to a recent survey by the Retail Advertising Marketing Association, only 8% of consumers say that Super Bowl commercials "affect their buying habits." Horrow: "Four million dollars to change the behavior of 8 percent of your buyers, it's just not enough just to advertise during the game. Companies need an activation plan to capitalize on the large audience. If SodaStream's primary goal is awareness, this could end up being a bad buy for shareholders" (“Nightly Business Report,” PBS, 1/15).
WALKING THE LINE: AD AGE's Brian Steinberg reported at least one actor from AMC's "Walking Dead" will appear in a "short commercial" for Time Warner Cable during Super Bowl XLVII ad time allocated to local stations transmitting the CBS network feed. The move marks the "latest in a series evoking hit cable programs" such as Showtime's "Homeland" to promote TWC. The cable distributor "intends for its ad to run in 44 local markets." TWC Exec VP & CMO/Regional Services Jeffrey Hirsch said that while the company "will use a top hit from cable to make its point on Super Bowl Sunday, Time Warner Cable has not received any pushback from any of the broadcast stations that it has approached." Hirsch added that the ads will "have no tune-in information about the program and will focus on the benefits of subscribing to Time Warner Cable" (ADAGE.com, 1/16).
SCRANTONICITY: AD WEEK's Rebecca Cullers reported Dunder Mifflin, the paper brand from NBC's "The Office," which was "defictionalized in 2011 when NBC teamed up with Quill (part of Staples) to market real Dunder Mifflin paper, is getting its first Super Bowl ad." The ad will "air during the Super Bowl in Scranton, Pa. (where the fictional company is located)" (ADWEEK.com, 1/15).
MOTOWN NO MORE? In Detroit, Eric Lacy reported Chrysler's "popular 'Imported from Detroit' commercials during the past two Super Bowls might not return to the airwaves" for this year's game. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on Tuesday said that the company is "currently weighing its marketing options." Marchionne: "I don’t know if we’ll be in the Super Bowl, at least not the way we have been in the past. For Chrysler to keep repeating commercials that ultimately have that level of significance, you're already pushing your luck" (MLIVE.com, 1/16).
SOCIAL DISTORTION: AD AGE's Steinberg in a front-page piece noted "beginning as early as this week, many advertisers in the Big Game will tease and reveal details of their Super Bowl creative as a means to generate response through digital and social media." Using social media for added exposure "isn't just an afterthought," as it helps "amortize the cost of the commercial by generating millions of dollars in free publicity." Super Bowl ads for decades "hinged on 'the reveal' or the delivery of something surprising." But this "new era of ads is ... removing a lot of the shock and wonder that were once a big part of the experience." Audi of America GM/Brand Marketing Loren Angelo said, "The value is certainly in the anticipation of the Super Bowl. There's only so much that people are going to talk about at the water cooler on Monday morning." Mercedes-Benz USA President & CEO Steve Cannon said that the company has "held many debates about whether to unveil its advertising ahead of time or keep everything secret." Cannon: "I sort of skew toward that camp that says maximize impact." He said that making the ads available online "tends to attract a smaller audience of diehards." But Cannon added the majority of game-day viewers are "seeing it for the first time and it's a total surprise" (AD AGE, 1/14 issue).
The Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., will not have a title sponsor this year, but instead five major sponsors, including two new ones -- EMC and Alex and Ani, a jewelry maker. Returning sponsors, but at a higher level, are Rolex, Chubb, and Corona. The official announcement will be made this afternoon at the Int'l Tennis HOF. Campbell's had titled sponsored the event -- the only ATP grass court competition in the U.S. -- from '04-12. This year’s event is scheduled for July 8-14 and will award $445,775 in prize money, though events of its level frequently pay out guarantees to attract players, making the total financial outlay more than just prize money (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).
THE PINK PANTHER? In London, Liv Lee notes Roger Federer in his second-round Australian Open match against Nikolay Davydenko today "took to the court ... in an outfit that showed something of a departure from his usual attire," as he wore "bubblegum pink shoelaces." He wore them with "jet black Nike trainers and socks for maximum impact." His shirt and headband "tied the colour theme together, with the zipper and Nike tick lit up in baby pink against the backdrop of a silky looking blue-grey shirt" (DAILYMAIL.co.uk, 1/17). ESPN's Brad Gilbert was asked his thoughts about Federer's attire and said, "Thumbs up, because no yellow. I’m just disheveled with all the guys and girls wearing so much yellow. There’s no yellow in his attire, therefore he gets an A+. Are those pink laces? Would you wear those kicks?” ESPN's Chris Fowler responded, “If it were part of a contract maybe” (“Australian Open,” ESPN2, 1/17).
In N.Y., Christian Red noted Nike co-Founder & Chair Phil Knight on Tuesday “hinted at a possible reunion" between the company and Lance Armstrong despite the company severing ties with the cyclist in the wake of a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report. Knight said, "Never say never." Knight, when asked if he was waiting for an apology from Armstrong, said, "No, we don't have any plans. I don't know what he's going to say. ... The whole thing is sort of an unpleasant surprise" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 1/16).
BEST FEET FORWARD: MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds reports the English FA is “undertaking an overhaul of its brand and is pushing the brand itself to the fore, in a move which coincides" with its 150th anniversary. The FA “wants to communicate and emphasize its brand values of ‘pride, passion and fans first’ and is thought to be undergoing a series of initiatives this year to promote the brand.” The NGB is “working with design agency Uniform on the project” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 1/17).
TROPHY APPAREL: CBS' Nick Faldo has established his own brand called “Claret & Green,” and sold the first license to Bernette Textile for the design of a new line of clothing. Bernette’s line will incorporate a “Claret & Green” crest. Faldo and Bernette President Jeffrey Siskind will launch the brand at next week's PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. The move comes as Faldo is launching the Faldo Series Academy, a full-time residential school for youth golfers in Arizona; and a line of custom clubs with clubmaker David Edel (Wade Media Management).
TRASH TALK: Clear Channel Outdoor has “put up billboards on I-93 north on the Medford/Stoneham line and on I-495 in Lawrence that are surely going to get some attention in Baltimore.” The billboards promote this Sunday's Ravens-Patriots AFC Championship game as Ravens LB Ray Lewis' "retirement party" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/17).
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