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Volume 26 No. 51

Marketing and Sponsorship

Puma has sponsored Smith (l) for more than 50 years, while Meek Mill serves as a brand ambassador
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Puma is launching a campaign to "mark the 50th anniversary" of U.S. Gold Medal-winning sprinter Tommie Smith’s "black-gloved salute" at the '68 Mexico City Games, according to Emma Thomasson of REUTERS. Puma’s #REFORM campaign will see brand ambassadors such as rapper Meek Mill "call for people to post images of themselves online with a raised fist to commemorate Smith’s silent salute" alongside teammate John Carlos on Oct. 16, 1968. The brand is working with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation on "live and social media events to fight racism and sexism, and will match donations to charities such as the American Civil Liberties Union, up to $100,000 in total." Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden said that it was a "coincidence the anniversary comes soon" after Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad. Gulden: "We are not trying to make commercial advertising out of this but we think it is good for the brand because it is part of our values." Puma has sponsored Smith for "more than 50 years." He took a "pair of their shoes onto the platform when he did his salute." Puma is launching a "collection of shoes called 'Power Through Peace' on Oct. 16, with the proceeds going to charity" (REUTERS, 10/11).

AGS already has a roulette machine that displays the Golden Knights’ helmet logo
Photo: AGS

A Las Vegas-based slot machine manufacturer is "talking with the NHL about the idea of using the Golden Knights’ logo and mark on actual slot machines for use in casinos," according to Alan Snel of LVSPORTSBIZ.com. American Gaming Systems "displayed a slot machine with the Golden Knights’ secondary logo" at this week’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, but that was "strictly for promotional and marketing purposes." AGS Exec VP/Investor Relations & CMO Julia Boguslawski said that the company is "analyzing whether that particular slot machine would make financial sense." AGS "does use an electronic animated version of the VGK helmet on its roulette signage." The three-year sponsorship deal between the Golden Knights and AGS "came after the gaming equipment supplier wanted to create a T-shirt with the Golden Knights" for last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs. Five AGS execs are Golden Knights season-ticket holders, and a company "had to be a corporate partner with the Golden Knights to have a rally towel or T-shirt during the postseason" (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 10/11).

AD AGE's E.J. Schultz noted Gatorade and marketing agency VML are "splitting up" after the WPP shop "handled digital" for the sports drink brand since '10. A Gatorade spokesperson "declined to elaborate on the new model" Gatorade would be using for marketing or if the brand "would be looking for a shop to replace VML." VML's work for Gatorade "included a VR experience" on dehydration shown to kids attending summer camp. Last year, it also oversaw Gatorade Amplify, which "generates personalized workout music playlists" (ADAGE.com, 10/11).

ICY SPIRITS: Several former NHLers went to distiller JP Wiser’s factory in Windsor, Ontario, to "create their own concoctions and be part of the process" in creating a new NHL Alumni Whisky. The first three spirits are to be "launched this month, from Wendel Clark, Lanny McDonald and Larry Robinson" (SPORTSNET.ca, 10/10). Meanwhile, High Bank Distillery’s cocktails will be "featured at Nationwide Arena thanks to a new partnership announced by the Blue Jackets." The distillery is "putting its name and aesthetic on a pair of bars in the arena, one on the main concourse" and another on the club level (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 10/9).

PLAYING POSSUM: In Cleveland, Joey Morona noted the pro shop at the Browns' FirstEnergy Stadium is "already selling" Rally Possum plush toys for $25. The legend of the Rally Possum began on "TNF" during team's comeback against the Jets last month "when an opossum was found scurrying in the stands" (CLEVELAND.com, 10/11).

BANK SHOT: Fifth Third Bank has "extended its contract to serve as the official bank" for the Predators. A spokesperson "declined to share how long the extended deal will last" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/11).