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Volume 24 No. 112

Marketing and Sponsorship

Samsung yesterday released the latest online video in its "Winner Takes Earth" Galaxy 11 campaign featuring La Liga club FC Barcelona F Lionel Messi and other soccer players, and the four-minute video is the "longest thus far," according to Andrew Adam Newman of the N.Y. TIMES. The video shows clips of TV anchors announcing an alien invasion, and of a team of soccer players "being gathered from all over the globe." It ends with the team "suited up in black astronaut uniforms in a hangar before a title card, 'Football will save the planet,' and the address of a microsite for Galaxy 11." Creative duties for the campaign "were shared" by R/GA, S.F., part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, and Seoul-based Cheil Worldwide. The videos are "shot in a moody, otherworldly style reminiscent of 'The Matrix.'" They are not considered commercials, "but rather what is known in marketing parlance as branded content, with the soccer players and actors prominently using Galaxy devices." Among others on what Samsung is "calling its dream team" are MLS Galaxy F Landon Donovan and Real Madrid F Cristiano Ronaldo. The players, who "according to Samsung have nearly 200 million followers on Facebook and Twitter, are contractually obligated to post comments about the Galaxy 11 videos, which has lent to several going viral" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/19).

Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin "consciously uses" moments like an online back-and-forth with a frustrated fan to "build his personal brand," according to Jayson Jenks of the SEATTLE TIMES. Baldwin last season after a meeting with a sports marketing company "outlined his desired brand." He wants to "share his opinions, even when the Seahawks prefer he didn't," in part because he "wants to be an analyst some day." Baldwin meets with an agency each week to "go over his social media metrics." In a way it is like "analyzing stats after a game: What generated the most responses? What didn't people like? How many followers did he gain? Did posts with pictures get better reactions?" The process started when Baldwin "first met with the agency late last season and established his goals." The Seahawks media relations staff has "talked to Baldwin about not engaging in arguments, and the sports-marketing company he works with has tried to make him less emotional on Twitter." But Baldwin said, "I'm not going to just hush because the Seahawks tell me to. I don't respond to a lot of stuff, but there's stuff where I say, 'OK, I can use this to build my brand positively.'" Meanwhile, Jenks noted Seahawks S Earl Thomas had "done little to market himself outside of the game" until he decided that if he wanted to market himself or "have a voice in the Seattle community, he couldn't just be the hyper-focused football player." Then over the summer he "became the rare defensive back to sign with Nike's Jordan Brand." He also is "launching a foundation, the Earl Thomas Guardian Angel Foundation, next year to help the less fortunate" (SEATTLE TIMES, 12/18).

Bell Canada yesterday announced a multiyear extension of its Premier Founding-level partnership with the MLS Whitecaps, which includes kit sponsorship. As part of the deal, all Whitecaps league games will be broadcast live on TSN, which becomes the team's official TV partner beginning in '14. Select games also will be available in French on RDS and RDS 2. TSN commentators Luke Wileman, Jason deVos and Kristain Jack will cover the games (Bell Canada).

NAME GAME: In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser noted the Heat will not debut their nickname jerseys until their Jan. 21 home game against the Celtics, but director Spike Lee "provided a preview of what they will look like." Lee on Tuesday posted a photo on his Twitter and Instagram accounts of Heat G Ray Allen's jersey, "which will say J. Shuttlesworth," referencing Allen's role as Jesus Shuttlesworth in Lee's '98 film "He Got Game." Players for the Heat, Celtics and Nets will wear the jerseys in select games this season, "but have been secretive about the nicknames they chose" (, 12/18).

WINTER WARMERS: In DC, Barry Svrluga notes the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation last night held its "lone fundraiser" for the Sochi Games at the Fairmont Hotel on the edge of Georgetown. Federation CEO Darrin Steele said, "I won't say it's easy to generate money during Olympic Games. But it's a lot tougher afterwards. Now, people are jazzed. They want to meet the athletes. The reality is: A lot of our sponsorships end after the Games, and we don't want to start over." Attorney Ted Offit, who helped organize the event, said that it "raised more than $250,000" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/19).