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Volume 24 No. 117

Marketing and Sponsorship

Pepsi has unveiled a “video it shot at Troutman Motors and Philip Morris” in Concord, N.C. in February that promotes Pepsi Max and “features NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon in disguise taking a test drive of a new Camaro,” according to Mark Plemmons of the HICKORY RECORD. The video was “produced by Gifted You, a division of Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die company,” and about “75 people were employed during the shooting of the video” (HICKORY RECORD, 3/13). The video will be “used in a Pepsi commercial” (, 3/12). AD AGE's Michael Learmonth noted Pepsi Max previously set Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving "loose on a public basketball court disguised as an older 'Uncle Drew.'" Learmonth: "Real or contrived, expect the Nascar faithful to pass this one far and wide" (, 3/12). MARKETING DAILY's Tanya Irwin writes, "The hilarious video could as easily be a boost for Chevrolet, which gets to show off the Camaro -- albeit an '09 model -- in all its glory" (, 3/13). At presstime, the video on YouTube had 1.9 million views (THE DAILY).

TWITTER REAX: NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski wrote, "Awesome @JeffGordonWeb went 4 a test drive. Car salesman may never be the same. U gotta watch." Sporting News' Bob Pockrass: "Debate in office if @JeffGordonWeb 'test drive' video staged w/salesman knowing. I side more on not staged." Deep Alliance Marketing Founder David Paro tweeted, "Confident this isn't legit, but still great viral work."

Heat G Dwyane Wade is “busy building an impressive business empire of his own design, whether it’s inking a sneaker deal in China; endorsing products for various U.S. partners in the beverage, snack, jewelry, or apparel industries; promoting his book ... or just generally weighing the myriad other opportunities that continue to [propel] his brand to a whole new level,” according to Ron Stodghill of EBONY. The NBA, or “any professional sports league for that matter, doesn’t have a history of spawning winning Black business figures.” The roster of “lose-it-all jocks” includes boxing HOFers Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, former NFLers Terrell Owens and Lawrence Taylor, and former NBAer Allen Iverson. But Wade is “working overtime to keep his name off that list.” Wade said, “Those are the guys we learn from. It’s scary. You know I played with Antoine Walker but didn’t see any signs of (anything wrong). Then two or three years later, (he) winds up bankrupt.” Wade’s business profile is “rolling its own kind of dice -- as evidenced by its namesake’s [gutsy] move recently to break from vaunted Nike -- and yes, Brand Jordan, to sign with Chinese footwear making Li-Ning.” Wade reportedly will earn $10M per year during the 10-year contract and "receive significant equity in the company.” Although Li-Ning “boasts huge popularity in China, you’d be hard pressed to find an American who ever heard of the brand.” Still, Wade’s bet is “that he can earn Li-Ning street cred on the urban U.S. blacktop while amassing some brant cachet in China.” Li-Ning Vice GM for Basketball & Brand Initiatives Dir Brian Cupps said, “For the NBA to go global, they have to win China, and for Li-Ning to go global, we have to win the United States. D. Wade has the celebrity and superstar power to help us do that” (, 3/12).

SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Tripp Mickle reports Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas “has left her agent Sheryl Shade and signed with CAA Sports” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/11 issue). REUTERS’ Chris Michaud reported Douglas, who is “not yet 18, will publish her second memoir next month.” Publisher Zondervan yesterday announced that "Raising the Bar," a follow-up to her '12 best-selling memoir "Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith," will be released on April 30 (REUTERS, 3/12).

BEWARE OF DOG: In Connecticut, Loumarie Rodriguez reported UConn “will be unveiling a new Husky logo that will replace the recognizable, tongue-lolling face of the current Jonathan logo.” UConn Athletic Communications Associate Dir Mike Enright said that the change is “expected to be made later this spring in April or May.” The new logo reportedly “will appear to look less friendly and more intimidating” (THE DAILY CAMPUS, 3/11). Enright said that the school is “working with Nike on the project and the re-design won’t cost anything” (, 3/12).

CASH CALL: The AP reported Penske Racing has “reached a multi-year sponsorship deal with Quicken Loans.” The company also will be the “presenting sponsor for a doubleheader race weekend at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.” The mortgage lender "will be featured on the cockpit" of both the No. 3 Chevrolet driven by Helio Castroneves and Will Power's No. 12 Chevrolet (AP, 3/12).

MAP MY RUN: In L.A., Adam Tschorn reported Asics has “released a limited-edition running shoe” to mark its inaugural sponsorship of the L.A. Marathon and "acknowledge the fact that it's taking place on St. Patrick's Day.” Both versions of the brand’s GEL-Lyte33 2 have “what from afar looks like a confetti-covered midsole but upon closer examination is actually a colorful map-like graphic peppered with the names of neighborhoods along the marathon's route” (, 3/12).