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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

McDonald’s has signed a two-year deal with Giants WR Victor Cruz that includes the NFLer appearing in both Spanish and English commercials for its Mighty Wings product. The Spanish version of the commercial was scheduled to debut last night and will air on Univision, Telemundo, Azteca, UniMas, Mundo Fox, MTV3 and Discovery Galavision. McDonald's USA VP/Marketing Peter Sterling said, “Victor celebrates his Hispanic heritage and we think that is a great way for us to talk to our Hispanic customers." Cruz, who is known for performing a salsa dance in the end zone after touchdowns, performs a different kind of dance in the spot for Mighty Wings. Sterling negotiated the deal for McDonald’s. IMG VP Carlos Fleming, Cruz’ marketing agent, represented the WR in negotiations. McDonald’s also will air a commercial for Mighty Wings featuring Ravens QB Joe Flacco and 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. Sterling said Flacco’s and Kaepernick’s deals run though the season with options to extend, but Cruz’ deal was a multiyear agreement. Sterling: “Our intent is to use Victor in other ways, including public appearances and some other PR activities. Victor is a great representative of the brand. He’s a great representative of the NFL, so we feel it’s good to have this relationship with him.” McDonald’s announced a multiyear agreement with the NFL last fall, when it became the league's Official Restaurant. Sterling noted Cruz, Flacco and Kaepernick are the first NFLers to sign national endorsement deals with McDonald’s under its new NFL deal. Sterling added all three will appear on theme packaging at McDonald’s nationwide starting next week. Sterling: “We are really excited about working with the NFL and being an official sponsor of the NFL. We are excited about these three athletes. I think they really demonstrate the fun and the passion of the NFL and what customers look forward to every weekend when the NFL takes over everyone’s conversation and dialogue."

Colts QB Andrew Luck has agreed to a multiyear deal with BodyArmor SuperDrink in which he will gain an equity stake in the company and will "appear in national and regional advertising," according to Erik Matuszewski of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Luck said, "There’s always a risk in any equity, but I feel like there’s a great market for a sports drink." Luck joins Ravens RB Ray Rice, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, Eagles RB LeSean McCoy, Angels CF Mike Trout and MLB Giants C Buster Posey as sponsors for BodyArmor. Luck last year was "part of a group of NFL rookies who promoted" Gatorade. But Luck said that he "wouldn’t term the partnership an endorsement." Matuszewski notes Luck "sought to become a shareholder in BodyArmor, a path also taken by athletes" including Patriots QB Tom Brady with Under Armour, Tiger Woods with Fuse Science and Mets 3B David Wright with Vitaminwater. Luck and Body Armor "didn’t disclose the size of his equity stake" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 9/17).

The Collegiate Licensing Co. has "signed on three new established clothing brands as partners: Dockers, Carhartt and G-III Starter," according to Kristi Dosh of Dockers will "venture into the collegiate space for the first time with its 'Game Day Program' line, which will feature its khakis in two different fits: classic and alpha." The pants in this line "each have an internal stamp of the school slogan and an embroidered school logo on the exterior." Beginning this month, Dockers is "offering the new line for Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, LSU, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon State, Texas A&M and Washington State." Dockers VP & CMO Adrienne Lofton Shaw said, "Know that very quickly -- within the next couple of months -- we're going to be expanding beyond these 10 schools." She added, "What we're seeing literally in Week 2 is a product that is totally blowing out immediately." Meanwhile, Carhartt's new line will "include school colors and team logos on outerwear such as jackets, knit hats and overalls." Fourteen schools "will be part of Carhartt's initial rollout." G-III Apparel Group next month, using the Starter label, will "re-launch its line of outerwear pieces for 14 schools" (, 9/16).

Event retail and merch company MainGate is seeing "booming" business for the NFL teams it represents, according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. MainGate President & CEO Dave Moroknek said that sales for the six NFL teams are "trending higher than other teams" in the league and that the company's NFL division is "seeing strong double-digit percentage sales increases over last year." Moroknek: "Overall, through training camp and the first week of the season, we're up about 27 percent." Schoettle notes the success has led MainGate, which recently won a contract to sell merch at Super Bowl XLVIII, "to enter talks with other NFL teams about handling their merchandise." Moroknek said, "I think this year we could add at least one more stadium deal." While he declined to rank the teams the company represents in terms of sales increases, Moroknek said that the Redskins are "the leader." He said they are "seeing a nearly 100-percent increase in sales." Moroknek "credited much of the increase to the team's training camp move from its corporate headquarters to a new sports complex in Redskins-crazy Richmond." He added that the company's other NFL clients have "seen year-over-year sales increases ranging" from 15-25%. Moroknek said that popularity in apparel and other items made specifically for women is "spurring growth." Schoettle noted the sale of women's items is "so strong" that MainGate, for the first time at any venue, is "opening a season-long specialty store for women" at FedExField (INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/16 issue).

PEACE, LOVE, & FOOTBALL: In Dallas, Candace Carlisle reports the Cowboys have partnered with Miami-based luxury lifestyle brand Peace Love World "to create a collection of female-friendly apparel for the hard-core Cowboys fan." An 1,800-square-foot pop-up store, "known as Peace Love World Style Lounge, opened at AT&T Stadium." Cowboys Exec VP/Brand Management Charlotte Jones Anderson, when asked if the female fan is a growing business segment for the team, said, "Forty-four percent of our fans are women, and we wanted to create a design for them, especially with the success of the newly opened Victoria Secret Pink store last year. ... It used to be ‘shrink it and pink it,’ but now there’s a lot more effort and design being put into the market." She added of the investment the team is putting into the Peace Love World collection, "The actual pop-up store is temporary space that we hope to make permanent. ... It remains to be seen what our investment will be in the partnership. For right now, the 1,800-square-foot space right above our pro shop is the investment. It’s a chance we’re taking with this space within the stadium." Anderson: "We really want to hone in and further develop the women’s space. It’s a key focus for us, and we’re looking for unique partnerships with recognizable brands outside of the Cowboys franchise" (DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/13 issue).

Dollar Shave Club (DSC) has signed deals with four NFL centers to promote the company's new flushable wet toilet paper product "in radio spots created in-house," according to Michael McCarthy of AD AGE. DSC CEO & co-Founder Mike Dubin said that the company's new One Wipe Charlies brand has tabbed the Cowboys' Travis Frederick, Vikings' John Sullivan, Bills' Eric Wood and Chargers' Nick Hardwick to "appear in the male-targeted brand's 'Clean Snap' ad campaign." Every time the company "sees a tweet reading #cleansnap, it will donate $1 to the charity of the four centers' choice." Dubin "declined to comment on how much he's paying the players." By working with "only four centers, One Wipe Charlies didn't have to pursue an official deal with the NFL." Dubin said that a league deal "would have been too expensive" (, 9/16). In N.Y., Claire Atkinson notes the moistened toilet paper sector is just 3% of the $8.7B toilet paper category and "usually aimed at infants and toddlers but the four burly centers are hoping to change that." Dubin: "Most of the centers we approached were game to try this. They are guys not a lot of people are reaching out to" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).