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Volume 24 No. 157

Marketing and Sponsorship

Research in Motion, which makes BlackBerry, on Friday announced it has bought its debut Super Bowl ad as “part of a massive global campaign to revitalize its brand,” according to Susan Krashinsky of the GLOBE & MAIL. The 30-second ad, which will run in both the U.S. and Canada, will feature “the new BlackBerry 10 operating system that RIM is preparing to launch officially” this week. RIM also will be “running digital events around the Super Bowl on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter,” as it will be “buying ad time before and after the game to appear in sponsored posts on those sites” (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/26). Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Alexander Coolidge reported P&G's Tide brand will have a Super Bowl spot, its "first in five years." The 30-second ad will air in the third quarter and will include both the Ravens and 49ers. P&G is “building buzz and excitement for the spot with a two-minute web-based teaser ad.” It depicts an “infomercial personality hawking a bogus Tide ‘stain saver’ product that promises to preserve stains shaped like the Eiffel Tower or your dentist.” The ad was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, N.Y., and “caps a year-long Tide sponsorship with the NFL and all 32 football teams” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 1/26).

PLEASE TRY AGAIN: Alex Bogusky, who is directing the Super Bowl ad for SodaStream, on Friday “tweeted that CBS had rejected the ... spot he was working on.” AD AGE’s Brian Steinberg noted it is “a common occurrence for the network to ask event sponsors to tweak or edit the content for a variety of reasons.” But SodaStream said that this “wasn't a PR gambit.” The content of its planned commercial to run in the fourth quarter of the game “seemed to have concerned CBS because it was a direct hit at two other Super Bowl sponsors and heavy network TV advertisers: Coke and Pepsi.” SodaStream CMO Ilan Nacasch said that the company had “hoped to up the ante with a spot depicting truck drivers clad in clothing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi marks on them.” Nacasch said SodaStream "really tried to comply with the standards" set by CBS. He added, "We were taking it to a new level, and that's the level where they apparently judged to be going too far." Still, Bogusky on Friday tweeted, “SodaStream is still in the game with an older spot we tweaked" (, 1/25).

THIS WAY TO HAPPY: USA TODAY’s Bruce Horovitz in a front-page cover story writes Volkswagen is "taking an enormous strategic gamble" with its latest Super Bowl ad. This year’s commercial is “about a guy whose happiness is infectious.” Horovitz: “Never mind that he’s a tall, white Midwesterner who speaks in a thick Jamaican accent.” Whenever he sees others in stress he “reassures them with positive words that sound much like a reggae song, ‘No problem, maaaan. Everyting weeell be allll-right.’” By the commercial’s end it is “clear the source of his happiness is his VW.” VW still was “considering several rival ads to air in the game instead, even as this ad was being filmed and edited.” One alternate, which was “finished in December, is about a guy who loves his VW convertible so much that he drives it around in a snowstorm with the top down.” That ad “ultimately got the thumbs down and will air at another date.” The other contender “didn’t surface until late last week,” and it features YouTube stars “famous for their online rants gathered together by VW onto a hillside of happiness” (USA TODAY, 1/28).

HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLES: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reported Mondelez Int'l “began sharing additional information on Friday about a commercial for Oreo cookies that it plans to run during the first half of the game.” The 30-second ad will “focus on the longtime argument among Oreo devotees over which part they prefer, the cookie or the cream filling.” Brand fans will be “directed to Instagram to continue the dispute.” The spot is being created by Wieden & Kennedy (, 1/25).

DO YOU REALIZE?’s Andrew Hampp reported the Flaming Lips will star in “one of Hyundai's four spots during the big game, a 60-second commercial that will feature the band on-camera performing a brand-new, custom-written song" titled "Sun Blows Up Today." The commercial “showcases Hyundai's Santa Fe, a crossover SUV, and was created by in-house ad agency Innocean.” Hyundai as part of the partnership will “give away 100,000 free downloads of the Lips track at, as well as sponsor a lyric video of the song and 30-second radio ads to drive tune-in to the spot and awareness for the Lips' upcoming album” (, 1/27). Hyundai VP/Marketing Steve Shannon said of the automakers' advertising in this year’s game, “If you’re going to bring spots to the Super Bowl, they’ve got to be good, they’ve got to be funny, they have to be impactful” (“CNBC Sports Biz: Game On!,” NBC Sports Network, 1/25).

CAR & DRIVER: In Detroit, Brent Snavely wrote Chrysler is “conspicuously absent from the pre-game hype.” The automaker is “planning a long commercial that it hopes will be impactful, but the company hasn't said how long the ad will be or what car or truck it will highlight.” Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois “hinted" that the automaker may "decide to run a 30-second ad for Fiat like it did last year in addition to a longer commercial for the company or another Chrysler brand” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/27). Meanwhile, GM, which is not advertising during the game, plans to “air commercials during the ... pregame programming.” Chevrolet VP/Marketing Chris Perry said that the brand will “have four spots during that time” (DETROIT NEWS, 1/26).

SUBLIMINAL MESSAGING: The FREE PRESS’ Snavely noted Michigan-based pizza chain Hungry Howie's for the fourth year in a row has “purchased time during a regional slot" that will air in "all of Michigan's major markets.” Hungry Howie's VP/Marketing Jeff Rinke said that “even though the commercial isn't a national ad, it is still costly.” Rinke declined to give an exact amount but said, "It's the most money we will spend on marketing throughout the year on a single day." Snavely noted the ad is a “humorous look at how subliminal messages can cause somebody to want to eat pizza.” Rinke said that it has “obvious subliminal messages during the commercial as well as another message that must be replayed slowly for the human eye to see it” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/27).

RELIVING THE LAUGHS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Dennis Tang reviewed the Super Ads app, which lets users “relive ad highlights from seasons past.” The app, which sells for $2, lets fans “watch every Super bowl commercial since 2006, sortable by year or by brand" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/26).

Tennis player Sloane Stephens after advancing to the Australian Open semifinals last week rose from No. 25 to No. 17 in the WTA World Rankings, which will "generate global exposure to Under Armour, her clothing and shoe sponsor," according to Richard Pagliaro of The partnership is an "intriguing pairing of athlete and apparel as Stephens ... is the face of Under Armour tennis -- yet the Baltimore-based brand does not currently manufacture a tennis-specific collection." Pagliaro asked, "How deeply is the brand itself committed to the sport?" Some retailers said that Stephens' run has "piqued interest in the brand." The "versatility of Under Armour's apparel is an asset: A player can use it from the tennis court to the track, and just about any athletic endeavor in between, without multiple changes." But UA faces the challenge of whether it can "leverage one of the most marketable and talented teenagers in the game, engage hardcore recreational players, and sell more clothes without a true tennis-specific collection." Stephens is the "now face" of tennis for UA. However, fans "can’t quite walk in her footsteps -- that’s because the customized purple 'UA MicroG' tennis shoes she wore in Melbourne are not available for retail sale." Stephens is one of four UA athletes "under the age of 22 who will star in nationwide ad campaigns scheduled to start next month." Images for the ads were "shot in December before Stephens' surge Down Under, showing the confidence the brand had in her" (, 1/25).'s L. Jon Wertheim wrote Stephens was the "breakout star" of the Australian Open. Part of the "excitement and optimism comes from the results: staring down Serena Williams in a Grand Slam quarterfinal is noteworthy." Part of it also comes from "her cork-popping personality," and from "how far she is from maximizing her potential" (, 1/27).

Chrysler’s Dodge brand left NASCAR this year, but the company signed a sponsorship with Las Vegas Motor Speedway that will make Dodge the track’s official vehicle in '13. Financial terms of the deal were not available. Dodge has been sponsoring the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup race at LVMS since '01. In addition to Dodge’s sponsorship of the Sprint Cup weekend, Chrysler’s Mopar Parts brand will sponsor the speedway’s drag strip, its Ram or Jeep brand will sponsor the dirt track, and its Fiat brand will be featured on a billboard near the highway outside the track. Chrysler Motorsports Marketing & Operations Dir Beth Paretta said that the ability to align so many brands with different areas of the track was key to the deal. Chrysler will have a display at the Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 400 on March 10. Paretta said, “We can put our cars on display and our car will still be in front of that very important (NASCAR) crowd.” Paretta said that Chrysler continues to evaluate NASCAR. She added, “If we do get back (in the sport), we’ll make sure it’s the right thing for the company.” Dodge is the second brand to leave NASCAR that LVMS has signed to an official sponsorship. It also signed Red Bull as its official energy drink.

In N.Y., Leonard Greene reports Knicks fan Mike Sorisi “coined the term ‘Knicklyn’ to represent fans whose loyalty may be divided” between the Knicks and Nets. Sorisi designed a "clever logo to go with the moniker and started selling hats and stickers.” Sorisi said that “days later, the NBA unleashed a full-court press ordering him to cease and desist, claiming trademark infringement.” The NBA said that Sorisi’s use of the word “Knick” is a “trademark infringement, as is his logo which features a basketball that is similar to the Nets’ design” (N.Y. POST, 1/28).

GROUNDS KREW: In Jacksonville, Garry Smits noted Bridgestone Golf and The Players Championship are “sponsoring an online contest" for fans to become part of "Kuch’s Krew," a fan club for reigning TPC winner Matt Kuchar. Fans have until Feb. 28 to "enter a video that describes why they want to be part of Kuchar’s gallery.” A panel will “judge the videos based on creativity and originality and narrow it down to three entries.” The winners will be awarded with a travel package that "includes airfare, hotel, rental car, food expenses and tickets to the tournament," and will have the chance to "meet Kuchar and attend VIP events" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/27).

BANK SHOT: In Hartford, Kenneth Gosselin noted UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie, in following predecessor Jim Calhoun, “agreed to become a high-profile spokesman" for New England-based Webster Bank for three years. The details of “how and where Ollie will represent the bank -- for instance, whether his image will appear on billboards -- are still being worked out.” But Webster said that the contract “calls for personal appearances and media endorsements” (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/25).