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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

England Rugby airline partner British Airways brought its first activation of this year's Six Nations to Twickenham, according to Daniel Farey-Jones of CAMPAIGN LIVE. Fans were "given the chance to test their rugby skills" and win BA flights, match tickets and signed memorabilia. The activation was designed, produced and managed by CSM Live and will return for England's next two home games, against Italy on March 9 and Scotland on March 16 (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 2/11). BA’s fanzone features two branded lounges, the Avios Lounge, which is open to all fans, and the BA Lounge, which offers an exclusive area for British Airways Gold and Silver members to enjoy a complimentary drink and view of the West Fan Village. CSM Live previously delivered branding for the Rugby World Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games, FIFA World Cup, Ryder Cup and Formula E among other global sporting events (CSM Live).

Philip Morris insists "Mission Winnow" complies with Aussie advertising laws.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

American tobacco company Philip Morris insists its "Mission Winnow" sponsorship program with Ferrari Formula 1 complies with advertising laws "despite Australia's concerns over the matter," according to Phillip van Osten of F1i.com. The "Mission Winnow" name and logo appeared on the Scuderia's cars at last year's Japanese Grand Prix. Philip Morris is using the concept to usher in a new era for the tobacco company, which hopes to develop and market "smoke-free alternatives" to cigarettes. However, just over a month before F1 gathers in Melbourne for the season's opening event, Australia’s Department of Health and Victoria’s Department of Health & Human Services launched an investigation into PM's practices, concerned they "contravene the country's ban on tobacco advertising" (F1i.com, 2/9). MOTORSPORT's Testi & Noble reported the Australian Communications & Media Authority also launched a separate investigation, after local TV stations broadcast the 2018 Japanese GP with Mission Minnow on Ferrari's cars. Philip Morris Int'l Dir of Global Communication Tommaso di Giovanni said that he is "confident his company fully complies with tobacco advertising laws," and said that it is "discussing the matter" with Australian GP execs. Di Giovanni said, "The initiative and the symbols and logos used on the livery of the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and the website comply with the laws that apply to our activities in Australia and the State of Victoria." Melbourne surgeon and anti-smoking campaigner John Cunningham, who complained about the new branding to authorities, said that he was "clear about what was behind the situation." Cunningham said, "This website actually makes it much clearer what they are trying to achieve, and what sort of business they are in. It has nothing to do with F1 cars, that's for sure" (MOTORSPORT, 2/9). In Melbourne, Bianca Hall reported the new branding featuring a white chevron on a red background is "said by some to be reminiscent of the Marlboro logo." Philip Morris' website suggests Mission Winnow is "predominantly a brand revamp" for the tobacco company, featuring "gushing" prose about innovation, excellence and "innovative solutions to long-standing problems." It does not specifically mention tobacco products, but it does promote Philip Morris' efforts to transform "not only our company but an entire industry for the 1.1 billion people who smoke and those around them" (THE AGE, 2/8).

British American Tobacco, which had its own Formula 1 team before selling to Honda in '06, is "returning to the sport" under a multiyear global partnership with McLaren, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Both sides said in a statement announcing the deal on Monday that the partnership will focus solely on BAT’s "potentially reduced risk products," with an "emphasis on technology and innovation." The statement said, "McLaren Applied Technologies will work with BAT on areas including battery technology and advanced materials." BAT, the world’s second-biggest int'l tobacco company by revenue, bought Tyrrell in '97 and competed as British American Racing from '99 until the end of '05, when Honda took over (REUTERS, 2/11).

WILLIAMS-ROKIT: In London, Joe Krishnan reported Williams F1 announced a partnership with telecom ROKiT. ROKiT will become a title sponsor and be featured on the livery, replacing Martini, which opted not to extend its deal. Williams will be known as ROKiT Williams Racing for the upcoming season. ROKiT's logo will appear on the side of the Williams car (EVENING STANDARD, 2/11).

F1 SIGNS CYBER1, LIQUI MOLY: F1 announced a five-year deal with Cyber Security 1. Cyber1 will provide F1 with solutions to secure the sport's infrastructure from potential cyber threats (CYBER1). F1 partnered with German motor oil brand Liqui Moly, which will have trackside advertisements at 11 races. Liqui Moly CEO Ernst Prost: "We hope that out of the more than 1 billion viewers who follow this spectacle on television all over the world every year, it may occur to some of them to take a closer look at Liqui Moly and purchase our product." Liqui Moly will be showcased for the first time at the Bahrain GP on March 31 (Liqui Moly).

The NHL signed a partnership with Oak View Group Int’l to support the league’s sponsorship sales in Europe. OVG Int’l President Sam Piccione will lead the company’s efforts to build the NHL’s roster of partners and sell the NHL’s different assets, which will include the Global Series games in Europe. The NHL will again return to the continent this coming season, with tentative plans to have preseason events in Switzerland and Germany, a season-opening game in Prague and two other regular-season games in Stockholm.

Paris St. Germain unveiled the second clothing line as part of its partnership with Jordan Brand. The black and white jackets were worn by PSG players on their way to Manchester ahead of the Champions League match against ManU. The new line is a white version of the first line that was launched in September. A third line will be launched at the start of next season (L’ÉQUIPE, 2/11).

Ligue 1 side Monaco's esports arm AS Monaco eSports named Esport-Management its principal partner. Esport-Management will benefit from marketing rights including tournament visibility and digital exposure (Monaco). 

German int'l footballer Marco Reus is the latest athlete to join HyperX as a brand ambassador. Reus plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 2/8).
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