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Volume 24 No. 115

Marketing and Sponsorship

Citi today formally announced it will renew its sponsorship of the USOC, making it the official bank partner of Team USA through the ‘16 Rio de Janeiro Games. The deal, which sources valued at more than $15M over four years, means the USOC will retain both of the banking partners it signed prior to the '12 London Olympics. TD Ameritrade last month announced it planned to return as the official brokerage of Team USA for the ‘14 Sochi and ‘16 Rio Games. Citi’s renewal was far from guaranteed. The company last year ousted CEO Vikram Pandit, who attended the London Games, and replaced him with Michael Corbat, who announced plans to eliminate 11,000 jobs and $1.1B in costs from Citi’s business. Cost cutting usually hits marketing budgets and could have pressured the USOC deal, but Citi Exec VP/Global Public Affairs Edward Skyler said that the bank saw more than enough value in its USOC sponsorship to justify a renewal. Skyler: "Internally, the partnership with the USOC and the Olympic team resonated incredibly strongly. We have employees in every state in the country and we engaged them aggressively and they responded. To some extent, we were feeling the enthusiasm our colleagues had for the sponsorship.” He added that the company felt the USOC’s values and ideals reflected Citi’s values. Skyler said, "We took a close look at the impact of the association with the Olympic and Paralympic teams and it resonated externally as we told people about it. In looking at bank preference, the numbers were very strong."

DEAL DOES NOT INCLUDE NBC INVENTORY: Citi’s original deal with the USOC was a packaged agreement that included a Team USA sponsorship deal and advertising inventory on NBC during the London Games. The deal was valued at more than $25M. It was the first time the USOC and NBC had sold a package like that. But Skyler said that Citi opted not to sign on for another joint USOC-NBC deal. Skyler said, “In this situation, being that we're talking about one Games a year and a half away and another four years away, there wasn't a need to package the media time and sponsorship together. And from a financial planning point of view, it gives us flexibility in terms of not making commitments to a media spend four years away." He added that Citi is in conversations with NBC about advertising during Sochi. It also is in talks with Olympic hopefuls who could become members of a Team Citi program. Sources familiar with Citi’s plans said that it will bring back the “Every Step of the Way” marketing program it developed for the London Games. Skyler declined to comment on specific plans. The “Every Step of the Way” program allowed Americans to use Facebook and Twitter to direct $500,000 to nonprofit sport organizations selected by 13 athletes with Citi endorsement deals. The initiative was recognized by PR Week as the Cause-Related Campaign of the Year.

The NASCAR marketing team for Axalta Coating Systems -- which purchased and rebranded DuPont's car paint business last August -- “remains essentially the same" following the company's transition, but trying to get fans “to identify with the new entity may take a bit of work,” according to Jeff Pappone of the GLOBE & MAIL. Axalta North American Marketing Manager Michael Bennett and Axalta Racing Manager Larry Deas are “the point men for the company’s rebranding of the sponsor relationship between four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and the former DuPont operation that goes back more than two decades.” Bennett said, “While we as a company have a challenge of re-branding, we see this as an opportunity -- having an established racer like Jeff with our new name and logo on the vehicle is a tremendous asset.” Axalta's plan is to "focus more on the existing products that customers and fans recognize, and then ease them into getting acquainted with the new moniker.” So far this year, it has been “using the No. 24 to show off its Cromax Pro product, which was the primary sponsor on the car a week ago in Texas.” Still, there are “challenges after being linked to the same driver for an extended period.” Before Axalta gets to a point where it sees fans “starting to identify with the new name, it will have to go to work on Gordon first.” Gordon said about the switch, “My biggest thing right now is trying not to say DuPont” (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/23).

Fox NFL analyst Tony Siragusa is “pitching Depend Guards and Shields in the ‘Guard Your Manhood’ campaign, with TV ads breaking on such networks as ESPN, A&E, USA, Fox News and MSNBC on May 1, along with digital ads on such sites as,” according to Jack Neff of AD AGE. It is the “first time the Kimberly-Clark Corp. brand has used media advertising to highlight light bladder leakage for men.” Siragusa in the 30-second ad from Ogilvy & Mather, N.Y., “isn't saying he has the problem himself, but is using humor and machismo to lighten the subject.” Depend Brand Dir Liz Metz said that Siragusa was chosen “because of his masculine image and ability to project ‘the masculinity and normalcy of the condition and making men know they're not alone in this journey.’" She added, "He's also known as kind of a straight shooter" (, 4/22).

adidas yesterday said that its Boston tribute T-shirts have "raised more than" $1M for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, according to Roxanna Scott of USA TODAY. The shirts, with the "words 'Boston stands as one,' cost $26.60 and went on sale Thursday." The company will "donate all proceeds to The One Fund Boston." The shirts were "out of stock within a day" of going on sale. But adidas in a statement said, "due to overwhelming demand, we decided to further extend our support. Our goal is to raise as much money for those in need as possible" (USA TODAY, 4/23). In Portland, Allan Brettman noted adidas is "scrambling to produce more" T-shirts. adidas Corporate Communications Dir Katja Schreiber said that many T-shirts "have been shipped to consumers while there may be delays for others because of demand" (, 4/22).

SWEPT OFF THE SHELVES: AD AGE's Michael McCarthy noted Nike has "pulled T-shirts reading 'Boston Massacre' and designed to look blood-splattered from store shelves and online retails in the wake of" the Boston Marathon bombings. The T-shirts, designed for Yankees fans, "reference the Bronx Bombers sweeping the rival Red Sox during a key regular season series in 1978." Nike North America Senior Communications Manager Brian Strong yesterday said, "The shirts being referenced are older baseball shirts that were predominantly being sold through our factory stores outlets." VP/Communications & Corporate Branding Meier Raivich also "confirmed the T-shirts were no longer for sale on the site" (, 4/22).

STANDING TALL: In Boston, Christopher Gasper notes the response from the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots after the bombings showed Boston is a city "championed by its sports teams and its athletes." After years of the city "rallying around its teams, those teams rallied around the city." Some of Boston's "biggest professional athletes were its biggest cheerleaders as the tragedy and agony of the Marathon bombings unfurled." All of the Boston teams have "donated more than $100,000 to Marathon victims." That is a "score that really counts" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/23).

In Oklahoma City, Anthony Slater noted Thunder F Kevin Durant has "become an advertisement regular during his meteoric rise in the league, with the latest instance, released this week, a BBVA Bank spot, where Durant seems to make some random dude’s dream come true." Durant is "shooting off T-Shirt guns, partying in his jersey for some reason and genuinely enjoying the company of some random guy he met minutes earlier" (, 4/22).

LOVIN' IT: McDonald's has signed a three-year extension of its sponsorship of Univ. of Pittsburgh athletics. The agreement between Pitt IMG Sports Marketing and local McDonald's restaurants includes signage, radio, gameday and social media advertising, logo usage and promotional opportunities. The QSR will have the ability to integrate its national and regional media campaigns while developing specific activation campaigns directed to students and its fan base (Pitt).

RUN ON THE BANK: REUTERS' Keith Weir reported Virgin Money, the title sponsor of the London Marathon since '10, has "extended its sponsorship" of the race until at least '17 (REUTERS, 4/22). Financial terms of the extension were not disclosed, but race organizers said that Virgin's previous five-year deal was worth $26M (BLOOMBERG, 4/22).

BALANCING ACT: YAHOO SPORTS' Shane Bacon reported Nike recently brought in golfers Rory McIlroy, Nick Watney, Paul Casey, Kyle Stanley and Suzann Pettersen to "relive" a previous Tiger Woods trick shot ad, but "with a little more camera editing" (, 4/22).