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Volume 25 No. 177

Marketing and Sponsorship

CBS said it has commitments for more than 90% of its available commercial inventory for its Feb 3 Super Bowl telecast, and CBS President & Chief Advertising Revenue Officer Jo Ann Ross said that the net has seen "good demand from automakers, movie studios, beer and soda marketers and technology companies," according to Brian Steinberg of VARIETY. CBS Exec VP/Sports Sales & Marketing John Bogusz added that ads in the third quarter have "sold out, with scattered availability in the first half of the game and some openings in the fourth quarter." Ross noted that CBS has also "secured a title sponsor for each pre-game and post-game hour of programming." Sources said that CBS has been seeking between $5.1-5.3M for a "package of inventory that often includes a 30-second TV ad and some digital inventory" (VARIETY.com, 1/10). Ross and Bogusz each said some of the new advertisers and categories will surprise, but they were not at liberty to disclose them because of a high number of non-disclosure agreements signed with the brands (Daniel Kaplan, THE DAILY).

FREEZING POINT: ADWEEK's Kristina Monllos reported Kraft-Heinz' frozen food brand Devour will "make its Super Bowl debut this year with a 30-second spot in the third quarter," with David, Miami, "handling creative." Springboard Brands Marketing & Sales Lead and Kraft-Heinz Associate Dir Katy Marshall "declined to comment on other Kraft-Heinz plans" for the Super Bowl (ADWEEK.com, 1/10). AD AGE's Jessica Wohl noted it "appears that Devour will be the first frozen meal brand to have a Super Bowl commercial." Devour's spot "comes a year after Kraft Heinz promoted the Kraft brand with a crowdsourced 'Family Greatly' spot." Heinz also ran Super Bowl spots in '14 and '16 (ADAGE.com, 1/10).

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: AD AGE's Jeanine Poggi reported Persil ProClean will "return to the Super Bowl with its fourth consecutive spot." The Henkel laundry detergent brand "will bring back 'The Professional' character" played by actor Peter Hermann. Meanwhile, Colgate "unveiled more details about its Super Bowl ad, which will spotlight its Total oral-care brand." The ad stars actor Luke Wilson and was "shot in a hyper-realistic style with film-quality detail" (ADAGE.com, 1/10).

OPEN-DOOR POLICY: Ross said that while CBS' in-game avails are "selling like the proverbial flapjacks, her team 'never says the game is sold out.'" AD AGE's Anthony Crupi noted much of that has to do with the "time-honored practice of holding back one or two final units in order to accommodate a last-minute buy." Movie studios have a "tendency to bluster into the Super Bowl at the zero hour." Keeping the door open on a game-day sale is "particularly profitable when a studio is making the investment." Moviemakers are "notorious spendthrifts, an inevitable byproduct of a business in which more money is invested in promotional activity than in the actual production." Studio marketing execs also "tend to make late buys by virtue of necessity; in many cases, the final creative is only made available to the host network as the stadium is filling up with fans" (ADAGE.com, 1/10).

George's newest shoes are inspired by the NASA research facility in his hometown of Palmdale, Calif.
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Thunder F Paul George's latest signature Nike shoe was unveiled Thursday night, as he wore the "new PG3 shoe in a NASA-inspired colorway" in a loss to the Spurs, according to Erik Horne of the OKLAHOMAN. The shoes' accents are "inspired by the NASA research center in George's hometown of Palmdale, Calif." Inside the "circular traction pattern on the bottom of the shoes are George's birthday, the different numbers he's worn throughout his career and his number of tattoos" (OKLAHOMAN, 1/11). It will be interesting to see if other players wear the George shoe, as ESPN’s Rachel Nichols noted there are “politics of sneakers in the NBA.” For example, no one on the LeBron James-led Cavaliers was "allowed to wear Steph Curry's sneakers." Nichols noted Warriors F Draymond Green has stated that his teammates "can’t wear the shoe of a rival during a game against that rival.” ESPN’s Paul Pierce said that was a "team rule" during his playing career. Pierce: “If you’re rocking the LeBrons and you’re going up against him, he already knows he got you.” ESPN’s Amin Elhassan said, "If the players want to have that rule, that’s cool. But personally, I don’t care” (“The Jump,” ESPN, 1/10).

SWITCHING COURTS: COMPLEX.com's Tim Newcomb reported Celtics G Kyrie Irving and tennis player Nick Kyrgios are "collaborating on a new on-court tennis sneaker" for Nick Kyrgios and a "matching player-edition colorway that Irving will wear as part of his Kyrie 5 line." Irving was set to debut the shoe during the Celtics' win over the Nets on Jan. 7. Kyrgios is lined up to wear the Nike Vapor X Kyrie 5 "throughout the first tennis Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open." The tennis version of the shoe "includes a sockliner with a graphic of a basketball sitting on a tennis racket string bed" (COMPLEX.com, 1/7).

The NFL in recent years has partnered with Old Navy, Levi's, Forever 21 and Victoria's Secret
Photo: FANATICS

Female NFL fans have "mostly moved on from the league's 'pink it and shrink it' mentality," but there are still "better ways for the NFL to connect with women" from a fashion standpoint, according to Chelsea Brasted of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. All Saints NFC South champion shirt options at the NFL's online store after the team clinched the division last month were "covered in unnecessary logos and block letters" spelling out the "Reppin' the South" tag line. The "disconnect" on those shirts is the "same as the one that's led the NFL to continue producing gear that's ... uncool for women." A lot of what is "available in women's clothing is kind of ridiculous," including "curlicue fonts, excessive lace-ups, too many logos or just boring designs." The league in recent years has partnered with brands like Old Navy, Levi's, Forever 21 and Victoria's Secret "to help bring some design diversity to its roster," but it is "still not nailing it." Brasted writes, "I just don't get why the NFL Shop itself is so devoid of hipness. You'd think the league could make some serious cash off fans if it had a little more ingenuity when it came to creating clever shirts and gear" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/11).

In Calgary, Sammy Hudes reports the Flames earlier this week added the phrase "I (heart) Oil & Gas" on the Scotiabank Saddledome ice surface in "two of the rink's four corners ... in a show of support for the energy industry." The corners at each end of the ice are "normally reserved for on-ice advertisements." Grassroots activist group Canada Action Founder Cody Battershill said that the Flames "reached out 'a couple weeks ago,' offering to donate the on-ice advertising spaces to the group" (CALGARY HERALD, 1/11).

GAMERS, THEY'RE JUST LIKE YOU: Esports equipment maker HyperX on Wednesday at CES "showed off new promotional artwork" at the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas that features Celtics F Gordon Hayward, 76ers C Joel Embiid and Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Using stars from tradition stick-and-ball sports "who enjoy gaming is part of the 'We're All Gamers' marketing theme that HyperX is stressing." The company on Tuesday will make an "official marketing campaign announcement" with the release of promo videos (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 1/10).

SWET EQUITY: Athleisure brand Swet Tailor has been "blowing up" this NFL season in part because it has "found a measure of sartorial flavor" with Eagles players. Eagles QBs Nick Foles, Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld, as well as other NFLers, have been "asking for pieces" of clothing from the company (PHILLY.com, 1/11).