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Volume 21 No. 2
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Soup’s on as Matthews joins Campbell’s Chunky campaign

Terry Lefton
In the NFL, linebackers substitute for wide receivers about as often as the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl — which is to say never.

Nonetheless, that’s the case in the latest version of the Campbell’s Chunky soup “Mama’s Boys” campaign from Young & Rubicam, in which Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews replaces New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz as spokesman. Y&R, along with Campbell’s, an NFL corporate sponsor since 1998, was filming the latest round of “Mama’s Boys” creative last week in Chicago. No word on creative specifics, but we hear several of Matthews’ Packers teammates will also appear in the campaign.

Clay Matthews replaces Victor Cruz as spokesman for Campbell’s Chunky brand.
Last season’s Chunky soup ads with Cruz marked the revival of “Mama’s Boys,” which was introduced in 1998 and has employed various NFL players, including Reggie White, John Elway, Terrell Davis, Michael Strahan, Donovan McNabb and Brian Urlacher, along with their moms. Campbell’s dropped the campaign prior to the ’08 season amid slumping soup sales.

For Matthews, the Chunky effort marks another relationship with an NFL sponsor, as he is also aligned with league partners Verizon, Gillette, Nike, and licensee Fathead. He has non-league deals with Muscle Milk and Boucher Automotive Group in Milwaukee and a local memorabilia deal with Legends of the Field. Verizon, Gillette and Nike are expected to use Matthews in national ads during the NFL season. So the question we are asking is whether Matthews is replacing Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu as the most marketable NFL player on the defensive side of the ball.

Having signed a five-year contract extension with the Packers during the offseason, Matthews can afford to be picky, and apparently he has been when it comes to marketing gambits. Athletes First represents him, and Ryan Williams, director of athlete marketing, said Matthews this year has turned down four national deals.
“That new [on-field] contract makes it easier to say no, but we’re still looking at offers,’’ Williams said.

> POWER OF INCUMBENCY: Reliable licensing industry sources tell us that more than 15 firms were in the chase for the rights to sell Super Bowl merchandise at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey during next year’s Super Bowl. Most were surprised by the revelation that Delaware North won those rights, since the concessionaire is far more renowned as a facilities concessionaire rather than a company that services special events. However, the fact that Delaware North is the concessionaire on every other football game day at MetLife Stadium no doubt helps, as does the union relationships and on-site facilities that it has at the facility. Nonetheless, we did hear some grumblings among every competitor of note in the chase for the rights. “In their RFP, we were asked for originality and creativity, but I just don’t think that factored into this decision,’’ said one longtime licensed merchandise executive. As part of the same RFP, MainGate won the rights to sell Super Bowl product in New York-area hotels.

> ALL-STAR AFFAIR: Equinox, Herrick Law, AP Photo and Casa de Campo golf resort are in as sponsors for The Legacy Agency’s Breakfast of Champions at the Gramercy Hotel in New York City on July 15, the day before the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. The event, owned and created by Legacy, is a meet-and-greet with MLB players that is targeted at the city’s business community. ESPN will broadcast on-site with Michael Kay emceeing. A title sponsor is being sought for the event, which is not sanctioned by MLB. If the formula is successful, Legacy Agency hopes to mirror similar formats to piggyback on other jewel sporting events.

Terry Lefton can be reached at