Cheerios "has never been part" of the Super Bowl’s ad lineup, but that will change in '14, when the cereal brand "gets its star turn, marking General Mills’ first appearance in 18 years on the advertising industry’s biggest stage," according to Mike Hughlett of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said that the Cheerios spot "could give the brand and maybe even the whole cereal category a boost." Honey Nut Cheerios is "the bestselling U.S. cereal, though classic 'yellow-box' Cheerios will get the spotlight" in the ad. Details for the spot, which will be produced by Saatchi & Saatchi, N.Y., "are under wraps." The ad will be General Mills’ first during the Super Bowl since '96, when Wheaties "basked in the fame" of Basketball HOFer Michael Jordan and Pro Football HOFers Deion Sanders and Steve Young (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/5). General Mills wrote on its company blog, "While Cheerios isn't ready to reveal just yet what the storyline of the commercial will be, who will be in it or precisely when you will see it during the game (in the first 'unscheduled time-out'), we can tell you that Cheerios is quite proud of its message" (GENERALMILLS.com, 12/4).
THEY LOVE N.Y.: USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz writes in "a still-wobbly economy," the early sellout of Super Bowl ads by Fox "signals that advertisers not only like the New York market, but are more than willing to invest big-time in an event that guarantees a mass audience -- particularly an event that is so multimedia friendly." Auto brands "will air long-form commercials, including a pair of two-minute ads." Fox Sports Media Group Exec VP/Sales Neil Mulcahy "declined to state who would air the two-minute spots, but Chrysler is expected to air at least one of them." Mulcahy said that there will be "fewer major motion picture advertisers." Mulcahy: "That's the only category where there's anything less." Horovitz notes Fox "may have faced some ad competition" from NBC's Sochi Games coverage, which will "begin just days after the Super Bowl" (USA TODAY, 12/5). In N.Y., Stuart Elliott writes demand among potential Super Bowl sponsors "did not seem to be affected much by the rates Fox is charging." Early estimates were that the price tag was around $4M for a 30-second spot, "but there are indications that some advertisers are paying in a range" between $4-4.5M. Mulcahy and Fox Sports Digital Senior VP/Sales Marla Newman said that they "believed that the fact the Super Bowl will be played for the first time in the metropolitan New York area may be encouraging ad sales" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/5).
SPACE AVAILABLE? The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica writes the "degree to which the game is truly sold out is debatable." Advertisers can "pull out before the game, giving the network a chance to sell the spot at what is usually a higher price than what was charged earlier." Many of the spots were "sold during the 'upfront' ad market in the spring before the game" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/5). Newman said that "a few content sponsorship packages are still available." She added that Fox will be "creating original studio content about the Super Bowl that will be housed in the Super Bowl section of FoxSports.com." Newman also said that Fox will be "engaging in social media around the game as well, and sponsors will be included in some of its social conversations" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 12/4).
Volkswagen recently "declined to exercise an option" to remain as MLS DC United's jersey sponsor after the "iconic VW logo featured prominently on United’s shirts and across various levels of team branding" since '08, according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. Volkswagen VP/Brand Communications Scott Vazin on Tuesday said, "Volkswagen has realigned its strategic sports marketing objectives and moved out of team level sponsorships. Volkswagen continues to work closely with D.C. United to explore alternative levels of involvement with the team." Goff noted the sides extended their deal for '13 under undisclosed terms, with VW "holding an option for '14." DC United's five-year deal with Volkswagen for $14M "was the second-most lucrative in MLS" behind the Galaxy’s pact with Herbalife. A source said that the club "set a higher price for long-term jersey sponsorship." DC United officials said that the sides "will likely maintain a business relationship on a smaller scale next season, with Volkswagen continuing to serve as the club’s automobile sponsor." Meanwhile, DC United VP/Business Development & Partnerships Mike Schoenbrun said the club is "getting closer" to reaching a deal with a new kit sponsor. He said that the club is "engaged in talks with six companies, all based in the United States but with global operations." He declined to name the candidates, but said the club is "on a good path" toward having a logo on the team's jersey next season (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/4).
The USOC today announced that it has partnered with nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop to be an official affiliate of Team USA through the '14 Sochi Games as well as the Paralympic Games. The joint venture will include online content featuring characters from "Sesame Street" and Team USA athletes, a "Sesame Street" family pavilion at all USOC Road to Sochi tour stops and "Sesame Street" Winter Games-themed children's apparel available at retail stores and online. A portion of all sales proceeds will support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls (USOC). FORBES.com's Darren Heitner notes the 13-stop USOC Road to Sochi tour "will feature a co-branded interactive family tent, and a costumed character Elmo will make special appearances at select stops." This is "certainly a non-traditional partnership for both entities." The USOC "typically partners with worldwide brands that traverse demographics," while Sesame Workshop "has a flurry of partnerships, but nothing related to sport." While Sesame Workshop's partnership is with Team USA, figure skater Evan Lysacek will appear in a "Sesame Street" episode that will air in February. Blending in a partnership "with a non-traditional entity like Sesame Workshop may be a challenge for the USOC." However, the committee has "already conducted necessary due diligence to make sure that the new relationship does not interfere with existing bonds." USOC Managing Dir of Consumer Products & Licensing Peter Zeytoonjian: "We’ve shared this idea with our current partners, and the response has been universally positive. ... We believe our brands will absolutely complement one another" (FORBES.com, 12/5).
Lakers G Kobe Bryant yesterday "launched his ninth signature shoe with Nike," while Heat G Dwyane Wade's shoe from Chinese brand Li-Ning was "introduced in North America for the first time," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. The Kobe Elite 9 is "a higher-cut shoe that might be confused with a pair that a wrestler wears." The feature that "sticks out the most might be in the back, where nine short red lines are spread out along the heel to mimic the sutures from his recent Achilles surgery." Bryant said, "I wanted something I could draw inspiration from. Everyone doubts I can't come back and do it again and here I am." Sneaker fans on social media "seemed to love or hate the shoe." Bryant said of the reaction, "You want them to have an emotional reaction as soon as they see it. You want it to create conversation and debate and challenge how people think." His new shoe hits stores on Feb. 8 at a cost of $225. Meanwhile, Wade's shoe yesterday "quietly dropped on a specially created website." The Way of Wade 2.0 Overtown is "the first fruits of a partnership" between Wade and Li-Ning "since Wade left Nike's Jordan brand before last season." Wade said, "We knew we'd be loved in China, but we wanted to test out the U.S. and slowly bring the shoes to the States." Wade said that one of the reasons he left Nike was because he "didn't truly get to design his own shoes." His new shoe "retails for $150 and is exclusively sold online" (ESPN.com, 12/4).
PUTTING HIS BEST FOOT FORWARD: CNBC's Jane Wells notes the Kobe Elite 9 marks the "first time Nike is using its new Flyknit ... in a basketball shoe." The shoe, which was "on the drawing board long before" Bryant tore his Achilles in April, was "inspired by the boxing shoes Manny Pacquiao wears." Bryant said, ""That was also a big part of the challenge because Flyknit is a great running shoe but you're also moving in one plane. In basketball, you've got to change directions, jump and I'm big so you've got to factor in the weight and so forth, the stability issue. So that was a big challenge for us, but I felt like our team did a pretty good job" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 12/5).
The White Sox are taking Bekins Van Lines to court for "allegedly failing to pay for its multiyear sponsorship agreement over the past two seasons," according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. The team's lawsuit states that Bekins, which "had been the 'official mover' of the team since 2011, paid less than a third of the $32,500 it owed the team in 2012 and none of the $35,000 for 2013." Bekins "signed a five-year marketing deal with the team in 2011 after five years of transporting the team's equipment." A source said that Bekins' new management "had been trying to renegotiate the contract with the team, but that the two sides couldn't reach a deal." Bekins' sponsorship has "mainly involved its use of White Sox's promotional material, but its logo was also featured on the left-field matrix board before and during games, on the team's marquee sign along the Dan Ryan Expressway and during the team's 'Who's on the Move' American League standings video board feature" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 12/2).
WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY's Jean Palmieri reports the NHL has partnered with Dick's Sporting Goods to "open NHL Super Shops" in three test markets, and the concept is "expected to be rolled out further for next year" if the shops are successful. Super Shops opened last week "in time for Black Friday" in Lombard, Ill.; Cranberry, Pa.; and West Nyack, New York -- suburbs of Chicago, Pittsburgh and N.Y., respectively. Brands such as adidas and Under Armour "also have multisensory shops" within Dick's Sporting Goods stores. But NHL Dir of Retail Sales & Marketing Dan Near said this is "the first for a major sports league" (WWD.com. 12/5).
LEAVE IT ON THE FLOOR: In Richmond, Tim Pearrell notes VCU yesterday announced a partnership with Lumber Liquidators "that could be worth" up to $1M for the school's proposed basketball practice facility. VCU AD Ed McLaughlin said that the five-year deal "includes cash and hardwood flooring for the privately funded facility." Pearrell notes the value of the deal "will depend on how much hardwood flooring is needed in the two-story, 50-60,000 square-foot building" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 12/5).
WALK THE PLANK: Burton Snowboards yesterday formally unveiled the U.S. Snowboarding team's uniforms for the Sochi Games. This will mark the third consecutive Winter Olympics in which Burton has partnered with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association to provide snowboarding gear. The company is supplying outerwear jackets, pants, hats, gloves, base layers and fleece. The design includes elements of American heritage such as patchwork quilts and the U.S. flag (Burton). The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay said, "It’s growing on me. When I first saw it I thought this is something that Willie Nelson wears to breakfast. But over time, looking at it, it is an amazing sort of piece of Americana" ("Crowd Goes Wild," FS1, 12/4).
Knowledge is Power: Become a Better Sports Marketer
SportsBusiness Journal/Daily’s Resource Guide LIVE, an invaluable industry database and business
development resource, is a must-have for every sports marketer. With exclusive corporate sponsorship data,
valuable insights on naming rights and athlete endorsements, Resource Guide LIVE is trusted by hundreds of
teams, agencies, brands and other sports properties around the world.