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Volume 24 No. 112

Marketing and Sponsorship

McDonald's has created a new ad for its Mighty Wings that features Ravens QB Joe Flacco and 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick "battling for a box of Mighty Wings chicken," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. The ad is similar to one from '93 which "pitted basketball legends Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in an improbable shoot-off for a Big Mac." McDonald's USA Chief Creative Officer Marlena Peleo-Lazar said, "It's a fresh take on an idea our customers have loved, but in a sport they haven't seen us do it with." McDonald's USA VP/Marketing Peter Sterling said that the QSR was "so intent ... on re-creating the magic, it brought back" ad director Joe Pytka, who directed the '93 creative. The agency this time is Chicago-based Burrell Communications. McDonald's is "going all-out to crow about its wings." This is "a two-part campaign -- with the first 30-second spot launching" tonight. The ad pits the two QBs "in a throwing competition for a box of Mighty Wings." Instead of Bird and Jordan "making impossible shots, this time it's Flacco and Kaepernick tossing impossible passes." First, they "each hit a goalpost from halfway across the field." Next, they "appear to bounce passes off the scoreboard and through the goalposts." But, in a "nod to more recent pop culture, the stadium lights suddenly go out -- just as they did" during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Then, the QBs "listen -- in the dark -- as it sounds as if someone is running off with the box of Mighty Wings" (, 9/14).

BEST DRESSED: In Sacramento, Matt Barrows cited data from online retailer as showing that from April 1 until now, Kaepernick's No. 7 jersey "has been the NFL's hottest seller." In fact, Kaepernick has "led all merchandise sales." Seahawks QB Russell Wilson's No. 3 jersey "has been the fourth-best seller in that span." But over NFL opening weekend, Wilson was "the third-highest seller, leapfrogging" Redskins QB Robert Griffin III. Broncos QB Peyton Manning "was No. 2 and Kaepernick was No. 1 last weekend" (, 9/14).

The Nets are set to announce "a new five-year, multimillion deal with security firm SecureWatch 24 to become the team’s first 'presenting sponsor,'" according to Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. The corporate sponsorship allows SW24 "to piggyback on all Nets-controlled marketing, including ads, billboards and in-arena signage." Most visible will be the company’s logo "on courtside and baseline signage during home games" at Barclays Center. The Nets declined to comment on the financial terms but "similar NBA presentation contracts run around" $1M a year. The Nets are "rolling out an aggressive new marketing campaign, with the tagline 'Are You Ready?,' to tout their high-priced roster." Those ads will "feature the SW24 logo when they debut" today. SW24 "stepped in after a Nets marketing deal with rival security giant firm ADT ended" (N.Y. POST, 9/16). ADWEEK's Christopher Heine notes the "Are You Ready?" campaign will be in English, Spanish and Russian and will "entail billboard, print, television, kiosks, digital and social media advertisements focused on the brand's tri-state area." SW24 CMO Jay Stuck said that the sponsorship was "a perfect fit because his firm employs many former NYPD officers who once drove and walked the Brooklyn beat." He expects his N.Y.-based operation "to see significant returns on being associated with what's becoming more than a local brand" (, 9/16).

76ers C Nerlens Noel has "tentatively agreed to an endorsement deal with Reebok," according to sources cited by The news comes after Noel "was spotted at a photo shoot for the Reebok Q96 and Pumspective" in L.A. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Noel "confirmed that he has aligned himself with Reebok." Noel said, "I don't think I'm just a prototypical big man. I think I'll be able to sell shoes." Reebok's NBA roster currently includes Nets G Jason Terry, Kings G Isaiah Thomas and Magic G Jameer Nelson. The brand's signing of Noel is "apparently just the beginning of a Reebok Basketball reboot." A source said that the company is "expected to announce an expanded roster of NBA talent in the coming weeks." It also is "expected to roll out a revamped line of sneakers" (, 9/13).

NASCAR by "retroactively adding" Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon to its 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup "gave both drivers a shot at winning the championship, gave their teams the valuable news media exposure boost that comes with qualifying for the Chase -- and a potential swing of several million dollars in incentives and bonus money," according to Chris Jenkins of USA TODAY. Team Owner Rick Hendrick said, "You don't want a sponsor to feel like they got robbed, and NASCAR's in a tough spot." Making the Chase for some teams is "thought to trigger seven-figure bonuses from sponsors -- and give some drivers a chance to reach performance bonuses in their contracts with teams." It is a "sign of how important making the Chase has become to team sponsors." On the "other end of the spectrum is Michael Waltrip Racing." Driver Martin Truex' primary sponsor NAPA is "reviewing its relationship with the team," while Clint Bowyer's primary sponsor 5-Hour Energy on Twitter wrote that it was "addressing its situation internally." The "potential loss of one, or even two, major sponsors would be a significant blow to a team that recently committed to give" driver Brian Vickers a full-time ride in the No. 55 Toyota next season. NASCAR officials "didn't announce their decision to include Gordon in the Chase until Friday, depriving Gordon and the No. 24 team of a week's worth of news media exposure and Chase-related merchandise sales" (USA TODAY, 9/16).

Roger Federer's "ability to monetize his career has been light-years ahead of that of any tennis player who ever lived," according to R. James Breiding of the N.Y. TIMES. Forbes ranks Federer’s wealth at $400M and he has earned a record $77M in career winnings since he turned pro in '98, but the "bulk of his wealth has arisen from a flurry of sponsorships from companies" like Rolex, Nike, Gillette, Moet & Chandon and Crédit Suisse. While Federer’s competition on the court has "stiffened, his competition off the court is fading." David Beckham and former F1 driver Michael Schumacher have retired, and Lakers G Kobe Bryant is "nearing the end of his career." Lance Armstrong has "fallen from grace," and Tiger Woods has "alienated a good number of fans." The "Swiss element is a factor" in Federer's popularity. People "associate Switzerland with reliability, precision, modesty and perfection, and Federer embodies all those qualities." Federer also is "associated with style and class, so he is favored by price-insensitive luxury goods like Rolex and Moet & Chandon." Sponsors "love Federer’s evasive armor because it improves predictability and duration." He is "surrounded (and protected) by a finely tuned machine, among the most discreet and professional in tennis." Federer's endorsement contracts are "long term and thought to continue even if he loses his top standing." He has "consistently made it clear that he hopes to play for several more years, and he has proved experts wrong in the past." Financial incentives "may tempt Federer to lumber on." His "combination of dominance and decency has made him special in the hearts of his fans -- and his sponsors" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/15).