ESPN and Univision "are in a favorable advertising place" for the FIFA World Cup ahead of their contracts expiring after this tournament, according to Mike Reynolds of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. ESPN President of Global Customer Marketing & Sales Ed Erhardt said that the net "was in a very strong position with the event as 'interest in soccer and the World Cup is significantly higher than it was four years ago for ESPN.'" Univision President of Advertising Sales & Marketing Keith Turner: "It has been the most successful tournament to date for our company." Both ESPN and Univision "still have some units in reserve to capitalize on opportunities tied to the fortunes" of the U.S. and Mexico. Erhardt said that the lack of timeouts in soccer "limits commercials to pre-, post-game and half-time segments." He added that because of this, official FIFA partners, World Cup sponsors and other advertisers "have secured positions in linear shoulder programming," as well as WatchESPN, ESPNFC.com and ESPNFC. FIFA sponsors adidas (presenting sponsor), Kia (pre-match presenter), Hyundai (halftime presenter), as well as Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola and McDonald's "have secured significant positions in ESPN's World Cup coverage." Other key partners include Bacardi, Microsoft, Volkswagen, P&G, T-Mobile, Unilever, Pepsi, Nike, Apple, Gatorade, Subway and AT&T, "which is sponsoring ESPN's multilingual World Cup bracket predictor." Univision's lineup also "represents a cross-section of official tournament backers and other advertisers, spanning the gamut of categories" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 6/12).
IT'S AN AMBUSH! AD AGE's Michael McCarthy noted with the World Cup starting, Volkswagen rolled out its "ambush marketing plan for Golf GTI." VW's ad agency, Deutsch, L.A., will "dance around Hyundai's exclusive sponsorship of TV halftime shows on ESPN and Univision by inserting so-called 'Gooooooooolf Celebration Videos' on ESPN.com and Univision.com." When goals are scored, these digital banners "will pop up." Viewers "will see different-colored GTI's (matching the national colors of the country that scored) racing across the pitch." Instead of the "familiar fan cry of 'Gooooooooooooal' they'll hear 'Goooooooooolf.'" The company also is "planning a homepage takeover of both" ESPNFC.com on June 24 and ESPN.com on July 4 (ADAGE.com, 6/12). Meanwhile, AD AGE's Tim Peterson noted YouTube "will air ads during every World Cup match," and started doing so with Thursday's Croatia-Brazil opener. The ads "will kick off the campaign's second wave and promote channels for Vice News and Maker Studios' Epic Rap Battles of History." The spots "touting Epic Rap Battles will hit first and air to audiences" in N.Y., Chicago and S.F. A YouTube spokesperson said that the ads promoting Vice News "will follow in the coming weeks" (ADAGE.com, 6/12).
Golfer Rickie Fowler during the opening round of the U.S. Open Thursday paid tribute to the late Payne Stewart by wearing a "teal set of the plus-fours" and "teal and white argyle socks to complement the knickers," according to Brian Biggane of the PALM BEACH POST. Fowler said that he "got the idea a few months ago" and then "consulted with his sponsors at Puma/Cobra." Aside from the "plus-fours and argyle socks, the outfit featured a white, flat-bill Cobra hat, a white belt with an oversized Cobra buckle and white-and-blue golf shoes with orange laces." Fowler noted that he "didn’t consider wearing the tam-o’-shanter hat that Stewart favored." He said, "I was sticking to flat bill the whole time. I’m not sure how I would look and how we would work that out with Puma or Cobra. ... But I think the outfit did all right" (PALM BEACH POST, 6/13). ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor noted this "wasn't some marketing gimmick designed to make the telegenic Fowler even more appealing to the masses." This was a "moving show of kindness and perspective." Fowler "liked the whole idea of this as far back as a few months ago, when he asked Puma to come up with the appropriate threads." Fowler "didn't tell anyone outside his family and close friends what he was planning for Round 1 at Pinehurst" (ESPN.com, 6/12). He said, "Probably 10 people actually knew I was going to wear this today. I tried to keep it as quiet as possible." In Boston, Michael Whitmer notes Fowler's "sartorial homage to Stewart was for the first round only." He will be "wearing regular pants" during Friday's second round (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/13). See the full endorsement portfolio for Rickie Fowler at Resource Guide LIVE.
TOUCHING TRIBUTE: CBS Sports Network's Doug Gottlieb said Fowler's tribute to Stewart was the "coolest moment of the U.S. Open." CBSSN's Tony Luftman: "This is so cool. I can't begin to explain how emotional I was when I saw this. (Stewart was) one of golf's great guys, a true gentleman, gone too soon. The idea of doing this on the 15-year anniversary at Pinehurst is so thoughtful." Gottlieb noted Fowler "just did it the right way" ("Lead Off," CBS Sports Network, 6/12).
ESPN Deportes on-air host Jorge Ramos is working on an extension of his endorsement deal with NAPA Auto Parts, according to his marketing agent, Shine Entertainment Founder & CEO Dario Brignole. Ramos’ original deal with NAPA was signed for '13-14, and the company is looking at an extension in the same range. Financial terms were not disclosed. The company chose to enter extension talks with Ramos early. He has been a figurehead of the company’s recent Hispanic marketing efforts, which were complemented by a sponsorship of the Mexican national soccer team. Ramos will film a new English- and Spanish-language TV ad that serves as a sequel to the first one he made for the company, in which he is seen commentating on the mic in a NAPA store. He also will do radio ads and participate in some mini-film TV ads, which have been a recent staple of soccer advertisers. Ramos is one of the elder statesmen at ESPN Deportes, and made some waves on Thursday night when he reported FIFA has asked the USSF to be on standby to host the ’22 World Cup.
In Toronto, Jane Gerster noted more than a dozen players at the FIFA World Cup will be sporting Puma's new mismatched cleats, which feature "bright pink on their right foot and bright blue on their left." Personal Power Image consultant Christie Ressel said, "It's a fun trend ... for a bolder personality." Puma Team Head of Int'l PR Tim Stedman said the reception to the cleats thus far has been "very positive." He added sales of the shoes, which went on the market June 1, "have been very high" (TORONTO STAR, 6/11).
BRAZIL-THEMED BURGERS: THE STREET's Chris Katje noted Arcos Dorados, which is the world's "largest franchisee of McDonald's," has "launched a new World Cup promotion featuring sandwiches themed after a participating team for every day of the week." Only seven of the 32 participating teams "are featured in the promotion, but they are among the world's most beloved and followed teams." At more than 800 McDonald's locations in Brazil, fans "can get a McArgentina, McUSA, McBrazil, McSpain, McGermany, McFrance or McItaly." Only one sandwich "is available each day, with Argentina (Friday), USA (Saturday) and Brazil (Sunday) featured on the weekends." The promotion runs through June 25 (THESTREET.com, 6/12).
SURFACE INFUSION: VARIETY's Brian Steinberg noted Microsoft "has plans to promote its Surface tablet device to World Cup aficionados," as it "has struck a deal with news-and-culture outlet Fusion that will place the Surface on set and in the hands of the hosts during 'The Soccer Gods.'" Hosts Simon Carr and Nando Vila during the hour-long program "will use the Microsoft Surface to showcase the sights and parties happening across Brazil during the massive soccer tournament" (VARIETY.com, 6/12).