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Volume 24 No. 112

Marketing and Sponsorship

Degree Men and Degree Women are "being placed under the same creative umbrella, with a single campaign and a shared strategy and tag line," according to Andrew Adam Newman of the N.Y. TIMES. The brand’s new commercials feature Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, Thunder F Kevin Durant, U.S. women's national soccer team F Alex Morgan and Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones "training in a sport other than their primary one, for both endurance and relaxation." Jones is shown "riding a bobsled" followed by a voice over promising, "Degree -- it won’t let you down," and the tag line for the campaign, "Do:More." In another spot, Morgan is shown "carrying a surfboard and oar to the beach for stand-up paddleboarding," while Anthony in a spot boxes and Durant cycles. While the "creative approach in all four ads is similar, the spots end by featuring a men’s or women’s product in alignment with the athlete’s gender." Another "Do:More" commercial that "does not feature celebrities shows both men and women working up a sweat." Degree declined to reveal "how much it intended to spend on the campaign," which comes via Davie Brown Entertainment, part of the Omnicom Group. Unilever North America Senior Marketing Dir for Deodorants Gaston Vaneri said that because Degree "was promoting the motion-activated formula in all of its products, it chose an overarching campaign that featured male and female athletes being active beyond their primary sports." He added that such an approach will "resonate with consumers who are increasingly cross-training, as evidenced by the popularity of triathlons and Tough Mudder, an extreme obstacle course competition" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/11).

Giants C Buster Posey, who has won an MVP Award and two World Series titles in his three MLB seasons, is "getting endorsements and becoming an important face" of the league, according to Ann Killion of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Posey's No. 28 jersey is the "top seller" at one online retailer of officially-licensed MLB merchandise. Giants President & CEO Larry Baer said Posey's jersey is the top seller in Giants outlets "by a big factor." Killion notes Posey also has "done ads for Toyota and DirecTV, as well as PlayStation, has posed for a GQ photo shoot, and can be seen in supermarket checkout aisles on the cover of the current issue of Men's Health." He also "has an iPhone game called 'Buster Bash.'" Posey is "active on social media, and he spent Friday morning doing [an] online Reddit chat with fans." No one is "too concerned about Posey getting overexposed." For one thing, "he likes to be efficient in his time management: He noted that it took about four hours to shoot the 30-second PlayStation spot." Posey said, "I can pull the plug on any of it if I want to. I'm the one that's in control of it. I'm not being forced to do any of it." Killion writes the Giants "have never been shy about marketing their players," but they are "happy they don't have to worry about Posey becoming overexposed." Baer said, "We don't have to worry about him getting trapped in a bad endorsement deal or being spread too thin. And he's the last one you have to worry about with off-the-field issues" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/11).

Angels LF Mike Trout's "marketing moment has arrived," as companies -- "both blue-chip big and start-up small -- are wanting Trout to turn a double play as baseball's most exciting young player and Madison Avenue's desirable rookie pitchman," according to Marcia Smith of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. BodyArmor, Nike, Subway, J&J Snack Foods and Eastbay, among others, "already make up Trout's nascent endorsement portfolio, which is worth an estimated" $1.5-3M in '13. As part of Trout's multiyear deal with Nike, he will wear for the first time "a Nike (not Rawlings) glove and Nike (not Oakley) sunglasses." He also wears the company's running shoes during warm-ups, and he sometimes "sports red Nike armbands stitched with '27' in white thread." Trout appears in ads for New Jersey-based J&J Snack Foods, which "makes the popular frozen SuperPretzel he ate growing up," and he has been "in Internet videos and on the direct-mail catalog Eastbay." Trout in September signed a multiyear partnership with BodyArmor that paid him an "undisclosed amount and an equity stake in the company." BodyArmor uses Trout's images "on its point-of-sale materials, on a van and on its Web and social media sites." Meanwhile, Trout has swung an Old Hickory bat "since he turned pro, but is not compensated by the company." Should Trout "continue his historic ways, a bidding war for everything Trout touches could break out." The Marketing Arm Sports Marketing Dir Darin David and PR consultant Joe Favorito "believe Trout could be the next Derek Jeter, baseball's top pitchman." But having Jeter's "mainstream endorsement muscle will take Trout more than one historic season" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/9).

Former MLB manager Bobby Valentine is featured in a new ad for's Fantasy Baseball Commissioner game in which he pokes fun at his inability to keep a job for too long. Valentine is shown sitting in a chair in front of a fireplace talking to the camera and saying, “You know, I’ve had a long managerial career.” Clips show of Valentine getting fired by the Rangers, whose "owner" sounded like George W. Bush, two separate Japanese teams and the Mets. Valentine wears the infamous sunglasses and fake mustache he wore in the dugout after once being ejected during a game as Mets manager, with the “owner” saying, “Tell Bobby he’s fired." While in the Red Sox owner's office, Valentine while holding a bottle of beer said, “I know, I’m fired.” Back in his chair, Valentine said, “But now, I manage at Baseball. It’s the best place to play and no one can fire me.” His phone then rings with the caller shown as Valentine: "I'm not getting that" (THE DAILY).

HAVING SOME FUN: CBS Sports Network's Allie LaForce said, "CBS was smart enough to do this genius commercial playing on the fact that he can’t keep a job.”'s Bruce Feldman said, “This is a great idea. Have fun with your persona. I think it makes it harder for people to take shots at you if you take the front end of it.” LaForce added, “Anytime you see an athlete, a manager, head coach or public figure, make fun of themselves you have more respect for them and you like them that much more” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 3/8).'s Jen Slothower wrote Valentine "gets points for being able to poke fun at himself." Part of the "gag is that people watching can apparently go online and vote whether Bobby should be hired or fired again -- presumably from his job of being a pitch man this time" (, 3/8). Blogger Steve DelVecchio wrote, "Talk about having no shame in your game. Valentine may say stupid things that inhibit his ability to land new jobs, but he still has his marketability" (, 3/8).

In London, David Robertson cites sources as saying that Nike and EPL club Manchester United execs “will begin detailed talks" on their "merchandising and sponsorship contract ‘imminently.’” The club signed a 13-year deal with Nike in ’02 worth US$451M, and although that contract “does not end until” ’15, the two sides “have just entered a six-month exclusive renegotiating period.” Sources said that Nike was “likely to try to complete a deal during the exclusivity period” and that ManU was “pressing for the new contract to begin a year early,” in ’14 (LONDON TIMES, 3/11).

HUSKER DO: The agenda for Friday’s Nebraska Board of Regents meeting includes “a vote by the regents on a five-year extension” of the Univ. of Nebraska’s contract with adidas. The potential agreement “has been reviewed and recommended by the Business Affairs Committee.” The agenda shows that adidas “would pay Nebraska the aggregate sum" of $15.53M for exclusive sponsorship over the five years -- with $8.03M in cash and $7.5M in "athletic apparel and equipment products” (, 3/8).

OFF THE WALL:'s Ben Golliver noted Wizards G John Wall last week "debuted Adidas’s new patriotic red, white and blue" CrazyQuick basketball shoes. The shoes' aesthetics are "slick and well-coordinated; there’s a lot going on visually, but the shoe doesn’t produce an overwhelming or off-putting effect." They will be "available on May 1 and retail for $140" (, 3/8).