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Volume 21 No. 2

Marketing and Sponsorship

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

A soon-to-be-announced sponsorship agreement between the NHL and Pfizer to promote the Advil brand was inspired in part by a courageous shift by Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell during last season’s playoffs.

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, Campbell slid across the ice to block a shot. Despite being in immense pain — he was diagnosed after the game with a broken leg — Campbell stayed on the ice to help his team kill a Pittsburgh Penguins power play.

Pfizer’s CMO watched the Bruins’ Gregory Campbell keep skating after breaking a leg during a playoff game in June.
Watching from a suite at TD Garden was Brian Groves, chief marketing officer in the U.S. for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. As Campbell skated to the Bruins’ bench on one leg, Groves turned to Keith Wachtel, the NHL’s executive vice president of global partnerships, and said, “That was an Advil moment.”

“The sequence really had an impact,” Groves said last week. “Campbell stayed on the ice in excruciating pain so he could help his team. It resonated with us. We started thinking that pain relief, fast recovery and being there for others made the NHL a great fit for the Advil brand.”

After four months of negotiations, Groves and Wachtel recently put the finishing touches on a one-year agreement that is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. With the deal, the Advil brand becomes an official partner of the league and the official pain reliever of the NHL in North America.

Advil will have exposure at the 2014 Bridgestone Winter Classic, the four games that make up the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series and the 2014 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic. That includes dasherboard ads and activation space at the fan festivals for these tent-pole events.

“Advil was especially interested in being part of our big events and the opportunity to activate in the local markets,” Wachtel said.

Advil also gains a presence on league-controlled properties like, NHL Network and NHL Social entities, as well as on NBC and NBC Sports Network telecasts of NHL games.

Although arrangements were yet to be finalized, Groves said Advil will use players in hockey-specific campaigns. “We’re signing up players — guys who are using Advil each and every day — and will do some fun and creative promotion with them,” he said.

Financial details of the sponsorship were not available. Negotiations were conducted directly between Pfizer executives and Wachtel’s sponsorship group at the NHL.

The deal is Advil’s first direct affiliation with a sports league in many years. Advil was the sponsor of the PGA Tour’s Western Open for three years, from 2000 to 2002, and MLB hall of famer Nolan Ryan was an Advil spokesman during the 1990s. Pfizer also dipped its toe in for a relationship with the NHL for Advil with a media buy with NBC for last season’s playoffs.

The Professional Bull Riders has signed Tyson Foods as an official partner of its Built Ford Tough Series and first title sponsor of the PBR Fan Zone space at the year-end World Finals.

The deal makes Tyson the official poultry, beef and processed foods provider of the PBR. Barry McMullin, senior vice president of partnership sales for PBR, said the one-year deal is valued in the mid- to high six figures, adding that the deal has second- and third-year options that would increase its value to the seven-figure range.

Rendering shows the PBR Fan Zone at the site of the World Finals in Las Vegas.
Rendering: PBR
PBR has between five and six partners that pay in the seven figures annually and 10 or so others that pay high-end six figures, McMullin said.

The Tyson deal aims to speak to PBR’s female audience, which McMullin said accounts for just under half of PBR’s fan base. Building from past business relationships PBR Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth has with Tyson — Haworth was chief operating officer at Wal-Mart — PBR approached Tyson with the idea that it could become that company to connect with female fans.

PBR sponsors such as Ford, Caterpillar and Jack Daniel’s speak more to the Western, rough-and-rugged lifestyle associated with bull riding. PBR officials envision an association with Tyson similar to the relationship between Campbell’s and the NFL, or Procter & Gamble and the Olympics.

The new partnership will be notably on display at the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Oct. 23-27. Between 50,000 and 60,000 fans, primarily families, are expected to attend over the course of the five-day event.

Fan Zone locations will be set up at both the Thomas & Mack Center and at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, with Tyson signage at each. On-site activation elements will include daily cooking shows featuring Tyson products as well as a cook-off for PBR riders and their families. Tyson also will sponsor a “PBR 101” tutorial to help fans better understand the sport of bull riding.

Throughout PBR’s 2014 season, Tyson will have in-arena camera-visible signage, a presence on the concourse of the arenas hosting PBR events and pass-through rights to select grocery stores in those event markets.

Additionally, PBR has a “Wives of the PBR” weekly blog on its website that McMullin said will provide a means for Tyson to reach consumers. There also will be an online sweepstakes created in which fans can post their favorite recipes that use Tyson products to be entered into a drawing for a free trip to the 2014 World Finals.

Tyson’s sports sponsorship roster is relatively limited, with few national-level deals. Michele Bond, vice president of marketing at Tyson, said that the company is selective with its deals but that PBR provides a fit.

“Mom and her family are the focal point of our Tyson-branding advertising, messaging and product innovation,” Bond said, “and PBR aligns with those consumer interests and lifestyle.”

Coca-Cola’s longtime global sports and entertainment executive Scott McCune is leaving the company after the Sochi Olympics.

Scott McCune oversees Coke’s global marketing around the Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
McCune, whose current title is vice president, global partnerships and experiential marketing, spent the last 16 years overseeing Coca-Cola’s global marketing around the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. He managed the marketing strategy prior to the Beijing Games that helped the company move from the No. 3 brand to No. 1 in China and led a push to increase the number of markets that used 2012 Olympics promotions from 60 to 110. He also helped the company secure the rights to the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in 2006, a new platform that Coke uses to promote its soccer sponsorship worldwide.

“Among his many accomplishments, Scott and his teams were responsible for transforming how the Company leverages Strategic Partnerships like the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup into Global Platforms that drive our business around the world,” wrote Wendy Clark, Coke’s senior vice president, integrated marketing and communications, in an internal memo distributed to staff last week.

Emmanuel Seuge, Coca-Cola’s vice president global alliances and ventures, will succeed McCune in overseeing the company’s Olympic and FIFA World Cup marketing efforts.

McCune, 56, plans to start his own consulting business that will advise properties and brands on expanding their businesses, serving clients and engaging consumers worldwide. He will continue to serve on the boards of Gannett Co., the College Football Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He plans to remain in Atlanta.

“I think of this as my fourth chapter,” said McCune, who began his career in sports as a high school basketball coach, joined a startup media venture co-owned by Anheuser-Busch and worked in marketing at Anheuser-Busch before joining Coca-Cola in 1993. “I want to take the coaching, the startup experience and the experience with big brands and follow my passions in the sports and entertainment world in more of an entrepreneurial way.”

At Coke, McCune earned a reputation as an advocate for the company’s marketing interests and a champion of creating new ways for sponsors to promote their connection with a property. Prior to the London Games, he pushed the International Olympic Committee to allow sponsors to film digital content from the athletes’ village and post it to company websites, a right that had been reserved for Olympic rights holders. It’s something he would still like to see the IOC allow.

“Scott’s been a leader in providing feedback to all of us about things that would make the sponsorship more valuable for Coca-Cola, and he’s done it in a respectful way that everyone in the Olympic movement respects him for,” said U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun. “You look at what he’s done, and he managed the partnership between two iconic and powerful brands [Coke and the Olympics] well and managed to grow both those brands.”

Seuge, who will succeed McCune, joined Coke’s global sports marketing group in 2006 and oversaw soccer marketing. He was promoted to head of global sports and entertainment marketing in 2009 and spent the last few years concentrating on improving Coke’s music-related marketing. The 38-year-old has made the Forty Under 40 lists for both SportsBusiness Journal/Daily and Billboard.

Peter Franklin, group director, worldwide sports and event management; Ann Boone, global marketing director of the Olympics; and Arnab Roy, global football marketing director, will report to Seuge, who sat beside Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent at the opening ceremony of the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in early September.

Coca-Cola plans to tap different executives to assume McCune’s oversight of Coke’s licensing business and its World of Coca-Cola theme park.