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Volume 26 No. 207

Marketing and Sponsorship

Tennis player Nick Kyrgios staged a protest before his second-round match against Antoine Hoang in the U.S. Open after being "taken to task" for wearing a Nike shirt that "displayed the following words in bold underneath the collar: 'Just do you,'" according to Scott Spits of the Melbourne AGE. In what was "seemingly a dress-code breach" on Thursday, a tournament official "instructed Kyrgios to change after the warm-up." But Kyrgios was "initially having none of it, demanding to see the rule book." He said, "I’m not going to play until you show me the rule." It was "later determined to be a simple misunderstanding." Kyrgios said, "They must have read it wrong. I think they thought it said ‘Just Do It’, like the [Nike] slogan. It was actually ‘Just Do You’. I think it was a mix-up. It’s all cleared up now. I can wear that. I can wear the collar up" (Melbourne AGE, 8/30).

BAD BOY ATTITUDE: THE AUSTRALIAN's Courtney Walsh notes Kyrgios is now the subject of two separate ATP investigations "into poor behaviour." The first is a "probe into the tantrum he threw" at the Cincinnati Masters, while the second is "considering the defamatory accusation" he made against the ATP. The ATP has appointed Gayle Bradshaw to investigate whether Kyrgios "deserves a 'major offence' sanction for describing the ruling body as 'pretty corrupt' in a press conference" after his first-round match at the U.S. Open. Soon after the ATP announced the investigation, Kyrgios issued a statement "conceding he had chosen the wrong word to describe his frustration with the tour." But he "maintained a stance that double standards are applied to him compared with peers." It is "possible either investigation would be enough to lead to a ban given his disciplinary record." An adverse finding in both "would allow the tour to institute a clause dealing with repeated misconduct" (AUSTRALIAN, 8/30).

MUST-SEE TV: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey wrote no player outside of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer "generates as much buzz" as Kyrgios. It could be argued that "no man, not even one of the Big Three, generates as much interest from the younger fans tennis desperately needs to reach if it is to remain a part of everyone’s screen time." Kyrgios "regularly attacks the game at which he intermittently excels." Tennis "needs contrasts in personalities." But Kyrgios is also a "serial rule breaker, and his on-court behavior often disrespects not just players, officials and his own courtside entourage, but also the sport itself" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/29). The GLOBE & MAIL's Cathal Kelly writes Kyrgios has been "edging his way into forced retirement for some time now." It "makes for wonderful viewing." Clearly, he "enjoys the push-pull of breaking the rules and then being punished for it." There is a "wide streak of sadomasochism in him" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/30).

Ralph Lauren this weekend is debuting a new U.S. Open-related campaign on TikTok, marking the "first time a luxury brand has rolled out a campaign on the platform and one that's specifically tied to a sporting event," according to Ann-Marie Alcantara of ADWEEK. The clothing company is "using both the sponsored hashtag challenge offered on TikTok and the platform's later offering, which lets consumers buy products within the app." There are several aspects to the effort -- three videos starring actress Diana Silvers, a "call to action with a hashtag challenge dubbed #WinningRL asking users to participate and show off a time they won a real-life challenge" and the ability for consumers to "shop U.S. Open-branded Ralph Lauren products." The campaign begins Saturday and runs through the end of the tournament Sept. 8. Ralph Lauren plans to use the effort as a "brand awareness play and as a full-funnel campaign, looking to measure engagement rates, video views, likes, comments, who's adding to a cart and who completes a purchase on TikTok" (ADWEEK.com, 8/29). 

Photo: nissan
Photo: nissan
Photo: nissan

Nissan is now an "official sponsor of NCAA men’s basketball, including the Final Four, giving it the rights to use trademarked phrases like March Madness," according to E.J. Schultz of AD AGE. Nissan has had a deal with the NCAA since '11, but the automaker has been "using its Infiniti brand" for the men's hoops sponsorship category. Nissan will now "take over as the deal enters its final two years." Nissan, which has "poured major money into college football since inking a sponsorship of the Heisman Trophy 14 years ago, is leaning into college sports even more with the NCAA deal." The company is also "plotting on-the-ground marketing" at the '20 Final Four in Atlanta. But Nissan "won’t have automotive exclusivity." General Motors-owned Buick is "also a sponsor." Nissan's deal includes continuing its “Heisman House” college football campaign. This season’s campaign "includes five ads, jointly created" by ESPN and TBWA, N.Y. New to the roster this year is Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman last year, and Paul Hornung, who took home the trophy way back in 1956 when at Notre Dame (ADAGE.com, 8/29).

A-B InBev is trying to capitalize on last year’s Browns Bud Light "victory fridge" by putting new versions of the appliance "up for sale at 'B.L. & Brown’s Appliance Superstore' in Cleveland" next Tuesday and Wednesday, according to E.J. Schultz of AD AGE. The refrigerators go for $200 for a small size or $600 for a larger one, with proceeds going to the “Browns Give Back” charity. To promoted the effort, Bud Light "will run an ad on Cleveland TV starring WWE personality, The Miz" (ADAGE.com, 8/28). In Cleveland, Marc Bona notes the B.L. & Brown's Appliance Superstore actually "doesn't exist," as it is just a "vacant store front." The refrigerators will be the "only product sold in the store." An A-B InBev spokesperson said that fans can either "buy a fridge and have it delivered later, or take one home." Anyone 21 or older who "visits the store will receive a redemption code to stock it with Bud Light" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/29).

IT'S AWESOME! The Miz, a noted Browns fan, was given an original "victory fridge" last year that opened when the team scored its first win of the season. He said of this year's promo, "When the Cleveland Browns and Bud Light came to me and said, 'Hey, we've got this idea where we want you to be a sales person. But you're not selling, like, used cars or some crappy appliances. All you're selling is Cleveland Browns victory fridges out of B.L. & Browns Appliance Superstore.' And I said, 'Sign me up.' ... It's going to be great, and I can't wait to break the chains and let people in" (UPROXX.com, 8/29).

Tom Brady has opened the "second TB12 location" in Boston, and for this week, the fitness center is "mostly a physical version of the TB12 online store," according to Hanna Krueger of the BOSTON GLOBE. A "luminous display of merchandise included shaker bottles, T-shirts, pliability rollers, hats, and vitamins." Customers can "select from a small array of TB12-approved snacks -- think rosemary garlic nuts -- and beverages near the register." Meanwhile, a "hulking screen flashed images and videos of Brady and other toned athletes running, jumping, and stretching in head-to-toe TB12 gear." Employees said that a "rear staircase leads downstairs to a 'performance area' that features a 'turf area,' a room for group classes, and nine individual training rooms." The facility's lower level "hosts the heart of TB12's offerings: individual pliability and recovery treatments with body coaches." The facility is "not yet open for classes or sessions" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/30). Brady came in as the NFL's most marketable player in THE DAILY's recent survey (THE DAILY). 

Barstool Sports has bought two primary paint schemes with NASCAR team Leavine Family Racing to sponsor driver Matt DiBenedetto, getting the media outlet involved with this side of the sport for the first time. Barstool will sponsor LFR’s No. 95 Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas and Talladega this season; the Talladega paint scheme was revealed yesterday as being the company’s colors and logo, while DiBenedetto told THE DAILY on Friday that the Vegas paint scheme will essentially be a pizza to promote Barstool’s One Bite app. Barstool has been getting more ingrained with NASCAR this season in part because the sanctioning body is advertising with Barstool, but now Barstool is putting money back into the sport by sponsoring a team. Barstool Founder Dave Portnoy was at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago when DiBenedetto nearly won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race just days after being informed that he will lose his seat next season, and after Portnoy interviewed DiBenedetto following the race -- and DiBenedetto received a roaring ovation from the crowd that went viral on social media -- the two kept in touch and Barstool decided to sponsor him.

GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING: Barstool did try to run a paint scheme earlier this year with Go Fas Racing for a mid five-figure price point, but it was rejected because it included a depiction of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Barstool is also working on releasing merchandise around the paint schemes with LFR. DiBenedetto said of the deal, “It’s cool for us as a team and for me personally -- for me as a fan, their reach is incredible, so it’s a cool partnership to start and develop. But for us as a sport in the bigger picture is where it could be really big -- they can make a huge impact with gaining interest from a younger generation.”

Adobe has signed a deal to become a founding partner of the Warriors' new Chase Center. Adobe's partner designations include presenting the Chase Center Art Collection, sponsoring the team's "Peaceful Warriors" anti-bullying community program and collaborating with the Warriors' Studio group. The Art Collection includes 87 original pieces, 250 pieces of photography and nine museum-quality graphics (Warriors).

CODE ORANGE: In Syracuse, Ben Burrows notes Syracuse football fans will have to "wait a little longer to purchase a jersey featuring the team’s signature orange as the primary color." Syracuse AD John Wildhack said that the "orange and white jerseys have been delayed until later this year because of a production error with Nike." Wildhack: "There was a production issue with the orange and the white in terms of what was delivered. They got the font wrong on the numbers." He added, "We will have the orange and the white for sale, probably -- they should be in sometime in October" (Syracuse POST-STANDARD, 8/30).

TAKE A SEAT: Gaming chair manufacturer Raynor Gaming signed an "official partnership" with the Bucks Gaming NBA 2K League team. As part of the agreement, gaming chairs "bearing the Bucks Gaming logo and colors will be supplied to the Bucks Gaming Performance Center." In addition, fans will be "able to purchase identical chairs for themselves" (ESPORTS OBSERVER, 8/29).