Marketing and Sponsorship
Monster Energy has had several high-level meetings with NASCAR execs in recent weeks regarding the future of its Cup series title sponsorship, according to sources, but no decision has been reached yet about the future beyond ’18. Monster Chair & CEO Rodney Sacks discussed the topic Thursday at the company’s investor meeting, saying management is “evaluating where we are going forward in 2019 and thereafter.” He said, “We’re busy in discussions with NASCAR and deciding what will be the best way forward for us. But certainly this year we’re fully vested and excited about the opportunity for the brand and continuing to establish our presence in NASCAR and with the NASCAR consumer.” He admitted the first year of Monster’s two-year, $20M annual deal “was an interesting change for us.” He did admit the deal “afforded us extensive exposure to many more consumers who would not ordinarily follow the sports we traditionally have been in.” At least one financial analyst expects Monster to renew the deal. Stifel Financial, which covers the beverage industry, released a note this week that included a section with the header, “NASCAR Sponsorship Renewal Likely Despite Extension.” Monster’s window to make a decision about the ’19-20 seasons recently was extended until early this year. The analysts also indicated that the new tax reform bill passed into law this year by the U.S. government could benefit NASCAR’s chances of a renewal since it will mean that added “cash flow from a lower rate could make an extension more palatable to management.” Several people close to the deal have recently shown an increasing, but not unanimous, sense of optimism around NASCAR’s chances of a renewal.
GoDaddy will be "sitting out" the Super Bowl for the second time in three years, according to Erik Oster of ADWEEK. The company returned to the Super Bowl last year after sitting out the '15 game with an ad that "kickstarted a yearlong campaign built around a character designed as the personification of the internet." GoDaddy had been a Super Bowl "staple for years," but it "routinely faced backlash for its controversial Super Bowl strategy, which were often risque ads" featuring NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and supermodel Bar Rafaeli. GoDaddy this year is "reuniting with its former ad star," as the brand will be "providing primary sponsorship for Patrick’s final two races: the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 and Indianapolis 500 on May 27" (ADWEEK.com, 1/18). GoDaddy CMO Barb Rechterman said that the decision to skip the Super Bowl comes as the company "looks to create more long-lasting marketing opportunities." Rechterman: "The Super Bowl is a great platform, and who knows, we may be back there at some point." GoDaddy moving forward will "underpin the online presence for Patrick's business endeavors like her Warrior clothing line and her California vineyard." Patrick also will "star in new TV commercials for GoDaddy" (ADAGE.com, 1/18).
GETTING SOME HADER-ADE: AD AGE's Jessica Wohl noted actor Bill Hader will appear in Pringles' first Super Bowl ad, which will "highlight the idea of stacking various flavors of the potato crisps to concoct unique flavor combinations." Kellogg said that the 30-second ad from Grey Group, N.Y., is set to "air during the second quarter of the game" (ADAGE.com, 1/18).
Labatt and Budweiser during Super Bowl LII will debut a "new advertising campaign in Canada" that puts an Olmypic spin on its popular Bud-branded hockey-goal lights, according to Susan Robertson of the GLOBE & MAIL. Wayne Gretzky is working with the brewer on the new "gold-plated lights," which retail at C$400 and include Gretzky's replica signature and No. 99. The company also is "selling glasses with a gold light in the base instead of a red one." While rival Molson Coors is the official beer sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Labatt says that its gold-themed campaign, called "Bring It Home," is "intended to celebrate Canada's 'biggest goals.'" Gretzky "stars in the online version alongside former hockey Olympians Tessa Bonhomme and Geraldine Heaney and former NHLers Dale Hawerchuck and Paul Henderson." A-B InBev is also "mulling a Super Bowl promotion" in the U.S., although the company "would not provide details" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/19).
LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson has "signed a multi-year endorsement deal to play Bridgestone golf balls," according to Jason Lusk of GOLFWEEK. Thompson has "used Bridgestone balls in the past ... in a non-endorsement capacity." Bridgestone last year "signed Tiger Woods to a golf ball deal, and the Thompson contract gives the company two of the most popular players among men and women professionals" (GOLFWEEK.com, 1/18). FORBES' Eric Matuszewski noted Thompson will be "featured prominently in marketing and promotional initiatives that highlight Bridgestone's push for golfers of all skill levels to play golf balls that suit their individual needs." Bridgestone last year "set company records for total sales, advertising reach and the number of golf ball units it's shipped in a calendar year." The brand's "notable sales increases at major off-course retailers followed an aggressive marketing campaign that largely revolved around Woods." Bridgestone also counts Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples and Bryson DeChambeau among its endorsers (FORBES.com, 1/18).